School of Arts

Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa

Key information

27 January – 17 March 2023
Attendance mode
Online learning

Course overview

What does it mean to speak of modern and contemporary art from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)? This course introduces you to the development of 20th century artistic modernisms across the Arab world and Iran, and to contested connections with heritage and tradition in the present-day. MENA artists represent and respond to the past, present, and future, prompted by the diverse demands of critics, scholars, and publics. Join us to learn more about the creative, innovative and at times radical practices and concepts explored in the Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa.

Each of the lectures in this online course approaches an introductory case study from a different region within the MENA. Beginning by asking “how can we approach this young, underexplored but vital branch of art history?”, the course brings together leading experts from the worlds of academia, curation, and the art market. We are also excited to be spotlighting the voices of contemporary artists themselves. Curator-led discussions of themes such as artist books and calligraphic abstraction will be framed by the collections of modern and contemporary material within both the British Museum and the Tate Modern. You will gain diverse and nuanced understandings of both eminent and up-and-coming artists, key works, and regional art movements.

This course is convened by Dr Natasha Morris, co-convenor of the Islamic Art module of the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS and associate lecturer in the arts of Iran and Islam at the Courtauld Institute.


The course features eight online lectures delivered via Zoom, every Friday. Each lecture is followed by an extended Q&A session. All lectures will also be recorded and made available for registrants to view in their own time for a limited period.

See the full schedule of lectures (PDF). Please note that a few details are still to be announced.

For more information, please email:


Fees and funding



Please refer to our registration terms and conditions before registering.

Book your place today!