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Islamic Art Symposium

The Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art is the leading international conference on Islamic art and architecture. The symposium is co-sponsored by VCUarts, VCUarts Qatar, and Qatar Foundation, and has been held every two years since 2004.

The facilitators for the workshops and their areas of focus were:

  • Attracted over 2,800 attendees from every continent
  • Hosted over 110 speakers, including the leading scholars, curators, and practitioners of Islamic art
  • Enabled over 75 scholars of Islamic art and culture to come to the Symposium as an HBK Fellow, all travel expenses paid
  • Generated the publication of eight books, published by Yale University Press, which gather the talks presented at each Symposium since 2007
  • Downloaded in the form of free podcasts from our website over 10,000 times since 2010

Past Symposia include:

  • Expanded Frontiers, Richmond, Virginia (2004)
  • Rivers of Paradise: Water in Islamic Art and Culture, Doha, Qatar (2007)
  • And Diverse Are Their Hues: Color in Islamic Art and Culture, Cordoba, Spain (2009)
  • God Is Beautiful and Loves Beauty: The Object in Islamic Art and Culture, Doha, Qatar (2011)
  • God Is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth: Light in Islamic Art and Culture, Palermo, Italy (2013)
  • By the Pen and What They Write: Writing in Islamic Art and Culture, The Environment and Ecology in Islamic Art and Culture (2015)
  • Islamic Art: Past, Present, and Future, Richmond, Virginia (2017)
  • The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art and Culture (Doha, Qatar, 2019)
  • The Environment and Ecology in Islamic Art and Culture (Doha, Qatar, 2021)

Sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia, VCUarts Qatar, and Qatar Foundation, the Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art seeks to explore broad issues in the visual arts of the Islamic world. The symposia were organized by Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, shared holders of the Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair in Islamic Art at VCU, from 2004 to 2017, and are now organized by a committee of art historians at VCUarts Qatar, including Radha Dalal, Director of Art History and Associate Professor of Islamic Art, VCUarts Qatar; Jochen Sokoly, Associate Professor of Islamic Art, VCUarts Qatar; and Sean Roberts, Lecturer in Early Modern Art at the University of Tennessee and Affiliated Associate Professor at VCUarts Qatar. The Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium Project Manager has been Marisa Angell Brown since 2008.

Symposium Co-chairs

Radha Dalal, Director of Art History and Associate Professor of Islamic Art (VCUarts Qatar); Jochen Sokoly, Associate Professor of Islamic Art (VCUarts Qatar); Sean Roberts, Lecturer in Early Modern Art (University of Tennessee), Affiliated Associate Professor (VCUarts Qatar).