The Islamic Art and Material Culture SSN UK


About us

The Islamic Art and Material Culture Subject Specialist Network (IAMCSSN) was founded in the summer of 2013 following a successful funding bid to the Subject Specialist Network Programme of Arts Council England (ACE). The proposal was developed by a group of specialist curators following a workshop held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2012 in response to the need for a national organisation that would be able to address the varied demands of people working this field, especially those in regional institutions and those with limited access to resources and specialist knowledge.

The initial support received by ACE allowed the network to develop and refine its goals, which have resulted in the preliminary mapping of UK collections, a series of study days on specific themes, and the creation of two interrelated websites, respectively dedicated to historic and contemporary practices. A recent generous grant from ACE's Resilience Fund has extended the network's pursuits for three more years, until 2018.

As a result, between 2015 and 2018 IAMCSSN plans to launch a Specialist Support Scheme, which will provide UK regional museums with a toolkit to help unlock the potential of their collections of Islamic art and material culture. In order to fulfil the IAMCSSN's key-aim to broaden knowledge, expertise and best practice in this field, the network will also coordinate two study days per year and offer financial support for UK museum and heritage professionals to attend these events through a bursary scheme.

IAMCSSN is based at Birmingham Museums and is managed by a committee composed of members of institutions across the UK, including representatives from national and regional museums. 



This is rotating committee consisting of an executive team and representatives from the different regions of the UK and Ireland.

Chair: Dr Rebecca Bridgman, Curator of Islamic and South Asian Art, Birmingham Museums (; West Midlands representative).

Secretary: Dr Mariam Rosser-Owen, Curator of the Arab World, Victoria and Albert Museum (

Website editor: Neil Stevenson and Dr Francesca Leoni, Curator of Islamic Art, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (

Contemporary art: Dr Tara Desjardins, Curator, Middle East Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum, London ( and Hajreet Kaur, Liverpool.

Social media: Stephen Welsh, Curator of Living Cultures, The Manchester Museum (; North West representative).

Project Manager: Neil Stevenson.


Regional Representatives:

Dr Craig Barclay, Curator, Oriental Museum, University of Durham (; North East representative);

Dr Noorah al-Gailani, Curator of Islamic Civilisations, Glasgow Museums (; Scotland Representative);

Dr Catherine Harvey, Museum Education Officer & Keeper of World Art, Hastings Museum & Art Gallery (; South East representative);

Harriet Hughes, Curator of World Art, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery (; South representative);

Dr Malika Kraamer, Curator of World Cultures, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery (; East Midlands representative);

Dr Antonia Lovelace, Curator of World Cultures, Leeds Museums & Galleries (; Yorkshire and Humberside representative);

Kate Newnham, Senior Curator, Visual Arts at Bristol Museums (http://bristolmuseums/; South West representative);

Dr Andrew Renton, Head of Applied Art, National Museum Wales (; Wales representative);

Dr Francesca Vanke, Keeper of Art & Curator of Decorative Art, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery (; East representative);

Dr Elaine Wright, Curator of the Islamic Collections, The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (; Ireland representative).



  • STUDY DAY: East Meets West: Objects in Renaissance Paintings

    Wednesday 16 January 2019, 11:00 am - 15:30 pm The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN This collaborative Study Day will explore the exhibition Lorenzo Lotto's Portraits and the National Gallery's wider Renaissance collection through the theme of 'East meets West.' A detailed...