Reinterpreting History and Memory: Contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Key information

9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Brunei Gallery, SOAS
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre (BGLT)
Event type

About this event

This British Academy international conference will explore how history and memory is reflected through contemporary art in the MENA region, and art’s association with broader social and intellectual practices. 

It will examine the possibility of challenging the present through the reinterpretation of history, exploring the enduring and collective impact of recent traumatic memories. The focus will be on art closely linked with activism, both within the region and among the global diaspora, examining the strategies used by artists to critically reimagine both the distant and recent past; a past that no longer exists but continues to haunt the present. 

The conference also explores how these artworks challenge and address current affairs in the context of historical narratives. By bringing together academics and professionals from diverse disciplines, the conference will provide an interdisciplinary framework for studying contemporary art, shedding light on the connection between art discourse, politics, and culture in the MENA region today.

Image: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige - From the Wonder Beirut The Story of a Pyromaniac Photographer series, 1997-2006 | Courtesy of the artists.

About the speakers

Dr Charlotte BankUniversity of Kassel
Dr Isabelle de le CourtIndependent scholar
Professor Hamid DabashiColumbia University
Dr Iftikhar DadiCornell University
Dr Pamela KarimiUniversity of Massachusetts
Vasif KortunResearch & Curatorial Advisor, Mathaf, Doha
Driss KsikesHEM Research Center, LCI Education, Rabat
Dr Siobhan M ShiltonUniversity of Bristol
Dr Ismail NashefDoha Institute for Graduate Studies
Dr Silvia NaefUniversity of Geneva
Dr Sarah RogersIndependent scholar
Dr Kirsten ScheidAmerican University of Beirut
Professor Nada ShaboutUniversity of North Texas
Dr Wendy ShawIndependent scholar
Professor Sarah WilsonThe Courtauld Institute of Art



  • General Admission: £25
  • Concessions: £10

Tickets will be available to purchase soon.