SOAS-Alphawood Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art

Museums and curation

Key information

28 - 31 May 2024
SOAS, Russell Square

Course overview

Roughly a century has passed since the formative period, between the late 19th century and World War II, during which the first systematic museum displays and exhibitions on the cultures of Asia and the Islamic world were created.

The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo (1903), the Palace Museum in Beijing (1925), the National Museum of Iran in Tehran (1937), and others coincided with dedicated museums, departments, and galleries in Europe and America, for example the Musée Guimet (1889) and the Louvre (1893 for Islamic art), the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin (1904), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1915 for Far Eastern Art, 1932 for Near Eastern Art), the British Museum (1933 for Oriental Antiquities).

In recent years, the curation of these historic displays has changed, adjusting to a shifting world scene, new social realities, and novel theoretical questions. The September 11 attacks, the rise of East Asian and Middle Eastern economies, the opening-up of China and lately Saudi Arabia, the rise of nationalist and isolationist narratives, and several other political, economic, and social events have informed the outlook of museum and exhibition professionals just as much as claims for social and historical justice, decolonisation, and object restitution.

In this course, developments in the study and display of the arts of Asia and Islam will be explored, challenges faced by curators will be addressed, and select study cases will be used to inspire dialogue on the varied roles of museums big and small, national and regional, traditional and alternative.

This course is convened by Dr George Manginis, Academic Director of the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece (and previously co-convenor of the Arts of the Islamic World module of the SOAS-Alphawood Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art, which runs 22 April to the 10 July 2024).


The course runs Tuesday to Friday, starting at 10:00am and finishing before 5:00pm. Lectures will take place in SOAS’ Russell Square, London campus.

The course features a private tour of Leighton House as well as visits to the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum.

Full schedule of lectures

Museums and Curation - Course Schedule

PDF document, 192.18KB

For more information, please contact us:

Fees and funding

Fee: £625

Capacity for this course is strictly limited and places are confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis. Please refer to our registration terms and conditions before booking your space.