A conference planned for Thursday 14th September will explore Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain. It is jointly organised by the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN) and the Department of Theology & Religion at University of Birmingham.
The conference will create space for critical dialogue and community exchange by bringing aspiring and established Muslim artists and cultural producers together with eminent scholars, researchers, policymakers, and arts funders to discuss, inform and engage through a program of lectures, presentations and panel discussions.
Mobeen Butt, of the Muslims in Britain Research Network, said: “Art and culture provide a means of communication, an alternative platform to share stories, celebrate contributions to society and challenge misconceptions and stereotypes. A rising generation British Muslims is using artistic forms such as music, film, literature, photography, poetry and comedy to express themselves. As well as celebrating the diversity of British Muslim identity, these artists and cultural producers explore difficult issues and help bridge divides between communities.
“This new world creates exciting opportunities but also uneasy tensions as to where these practices can fit in the traditional canons of ‘Western’ visual and performing arts, the heritage and museum sectors, in literature and even popular culture in Britain. British Muslim artists are finding it difficult to present their work in mainstream arts and cultural establishments such as theatres, galleries and museums. We hope the conference can go some way towards exploring these challenges.”
Jorgen Nielsen, Professor of Contemporary European Islam at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering the MBRN on this conference. MBRN has been a driving force in bringing together those studying and researching Muslims and Islam in Britain for over 20 years.”
Abid Hussain, Director of Diversity for Arts Council England, who will be speaking at the conference, said: “The MBRN conference provides a timely opportunity to amplify both the voice and presence of British Muslims across the arts and cultural sector. It is vital that artists from all backgrounds have access to opportunities to present and share their stories and for arts audiences to see themselves reflected in the work presented on our stages and in our galleries and museums.”
Over forty speakers have been confirmed and the conference will explore themes including: how are Muslims in Britain exploring identity and belonging through art, culture and heritage; what does contemporary ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islamic’ art mean; and what strategies are needed to grow, fund, and sustain Muslim cultural production in Britain without compromising on beliefs and creativity.
The conference is open to the public and will take place on Thursday 14 September 2017 at the University of Birmingham. More information and how to register can be found via: www.muslimartconference2017.eventbrite.co.uk