​​​​​​Museums in arabia

Museums in Arabia / British Council Bursary Programme 2019


Background Museums in Arabia


Museums in Arabia is a non-profit voluntary organisation, which provides a dedicated international platform for museum and heritage practitioners, academics and emerging scholars to engage in discussions and debates about the role of museums and heritage in the Arabian Peninsula. It aims to facilitate dialogue between academic disciplines, and between academics and museum and heritage practitioners, and in doing so to develop multi-disciplinary understandings of museum and heritage practice in the Gulf States. Established in 2012, the conference series has developed successful events at host institutions including the British Museum in 2012 in partnership with the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia; the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha in 2014 in partnership with UCL Qatar in 2014 and the Bahrain National Museum, Kingdom of Bahrain in 2017 in partnership with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities. The 2019 iteration of the conference is hosted and supported by King’s College London. 


Museums in Arabia 2019


Museums in Arabia 2019 will take place at Bush House, King’s College London, 26-28th of June. The conference seeks to explore how different cultural, political, social and economic actors shape cultural practices within museums, arts and cultural heritage institutions within the rapidly developing and complex landscape of the Arabian Peninsula. It aims to shift the focus of academic debate towards grounded arts and cultural practices and their unique operations. The papers presented at Museums in Arabia 2019 aim to address the distinctive characteristics and operations of Gulf museums and cultural institutions. Presentations shed light on the regional and international actors and agents and the distinctive practices and policies actively involved in producing and challenging cultural formations and systems of knowledge production in, and on, the Gulf. How are cultural practices being shaped within museums, arts and cultural heritage institutions? To what extent is a distinctive museum, cultural heritage, art ecosystem being formed? How are international and regional actors collaborating in the development of museum, cultural heritage and art practices? In which ways are academic disciplines and professional practices being transformed by regional developments? These and other questions will be addressed by presenters and during the keynote speeches delivered by two world-class scholars/curators:Dr. Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and the Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas and Dr Venetia Porter, Senior Curator: Islamic and Contemporary Middle East Art, The British Museum.


MIA / British Council Bursary Partnership


​​​By partnering with the British Council and hosting this event at King’s College London, museum professionals and scholars, particularly early career researchers, with an interest in museums, galleries, heritage organisations and art practices located in or engaging with the Arabic peninsula. In so doing, we wish to expand and diversify the variety of professionals and academic stakeholders contributing to debates around Gulf arts, museology and cultural heritage and further expand the landscape of Gulf museology. The partnership will therefore allow individuals from the Gulf region and the UK (priority will be given to applicants from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), without access to institutional support, to attend the conference and engage in cultural conversations and activities (through planned museum visits).  Depending on successful applicants’ attendance costs, we may be able to offer up to a maximum of 24 bursaries. 

Through this partnership, we offer two type of bursaries: 

Gulf Bursaries for Arab Gulf nationals residing in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (Maximum 12). 

UK Bursaries to support attendance from individuals residing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Priority will be given to Scottish, Welsh and Irish applicants; however, others may apply (Maximum 12). 

If you fit in one of these categories, you can apply for a bursary to support with travel, accommodation, conference fees and additional* childcare costs. Agreed expenses will be reimbursed once they have been incurred by the grantees and actual receipts are provided, in line with King’s College London’s policies. Please note that it will be the grantee’s responsibility to provide evidence within the timeframe and in the forms indicated when an award is made.In order to enable a maximum number of sponsored paid places we are only able to offer standard economy travel and accommodation in a 3-star hotel, up to an agreed amount at the time of the bursary offer and based on the budget (and associated evidence) submitted by the awardee at the moment of application. We wish to stress that grantees will be only able to claim the amount detailed in their award letter, which might be lower than that indicated in their budget and associated evidence. Any additional costs must be covered by the grantees. You must be responsible for the purchase of your own travel insurance and acquiring a visa, if required.


Eligibility Criteria


Evidence of nationality of one of the Gulf countries indicated above or of residence in the UK.
Ability to attend the conference for all days 26 – 28 June 2019
Good working knowledge of English language (the conference will be delivered in English) 
Evidence of working in the museums sector or an aspiration to do so e.g. museum professionals, EarlyCareer Researchers, independent researchers and students. Priority will be given to postgraduates who can demonstrate how their attendance will directly help towards their studies and/or future careers.   
If you are a student, you need to provide permission from your University or College Professor to confirm that he/she is aware of your application 
If you are requesting additional* childcare costs, please provide evidence of these costs.      

* additional means costs not usually incurred, such as evening or overnight babysitting. It will not cover daytime childcare unless these are for a day that you do not usually work and incur these costs.



Application Process


Please include the following:

Name, address, contact information and nationality (if you are Gulf national, evidence of nationality (specifically a copy of your passport. If you are resident in the UK, a proof of address (e.g. utility bills, UK driving licence).
A short biography detailing your professional and educational achievements (Maximum 500 words)
A brief statement addressing the following questions (Maximum 700 words): 

Why you want to attend the conference? 
How will it help you develop your career?
What support you need? (Please include a budget detailing all eligible costs so we know how much you will require and provide supporting evidence e.g. a screenshot of flight details and costs or travel agent quote). 

Please also let us know of any additional support needs that you might have to allow you to fully participate in the conference e.g. BSL interpretation, accessible accommodation

By applying for a bursary you must be able to demonstrate that you are eligible to apply for any necessary visas in time for your travel to the conference. All bursary applicants are responsible for obtaining their own visas, travel and health insurance.

Deadline for applications: 10 June 2019

Decisions made: 14 June 2019

Bursary Acceptance Deadline: 16 June


Criteria for selection


Expertise of applicant – track record in the museum, heritage, art field or evidence of interest in working towards a career in the field. 
Equal distribution of grants geographically and by gender.

Please email your application to Dr Sarina Wakefield and Dr Serena Iervolino at conference@museumsinarabia.com by 5pm BST, please add MIA – BC Bursary in the subject line.