Meet Roberta Marin: Our Islamic Art and Architecture Course Tutor!

22 March '16

The Arab British Centre is excited to announce a new course in Islamic Art and Architecture!

We speak to the course leader Roberta Marin, to find out more about her interest in Islamic art and what students can expect from the course.

collage Islamic Art and Architecture

  1. Roberta, could you tell us how you became interested in Islamic Art and Architecture and how your career developed from there?

After my BA, I had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Middle East and I became fascinated by the rich culture of the countries I visited. I enjoyed losing myself in the souks, wandering inside the major mosques and madrasas in Cairo, Istanbul, Marrakesh and absorbing a new vocabulary of patterns and motifs. I was inspired to do an MA in Art and Archaeology with a focus on Islamic Art and Architecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). It was an exciting year! I met excellent lecturers who were a source of inspiration and thanks to a scholarship by Ralph Pinder-Wilson, I had the financial support to do fieldwork for my MA thesis in Cairo. Following my MA, have worked the Asian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, collaborated with the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, and I  taught at various public institutions, such as the Birkbeck College, the London College of Communication, SOAS, Asia House and the University of York. The interest I developed in Islamic art and architecture during my travels and the year as MA student at SOAS have changed my life and I have to admit that they have been the best things could have ever happened to me!

  1. What people would learn if they joined the Introduction of Islamic Art and architecture course? What materials will you be using in class? (Methodology)

The course in Islamic Art and Architecture, which has been designed for The Arab British Centre , will is accessible for novices and those with some knowledge of Islamic Art and Architecture. The aim of the course is to develop a genuine interest in the art and architecture of the Islamic world and to support the students’ skills of critical and visual analysis. At the end of the course, students will be able to locate artwork and artefacts in their historical, religious and cultural context. Teaching in the classroom will be supported by richly illustrated PowerPoint presentations and a visit to the Islamic gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum will allow the students to appreciate the artworks in person.

  1. What is your favourite piece of Islamic Art or Architecture and why?

Providing an exhaustive answer to this question is not an easy task! I do not have a favourite piece or building. However, I can say that I feel more close to the art and architecture of Egypt, because it is the place I spent most time and I know it better. I am particularly interested in the architecture of the Fatimids (909-1171), who had been the founders of Cairo, Al-Qahira, ‘The Victorious’ and I am fascinated by the artworks produced by the powerful Mamluks (1250-1517). They were great patrons of the art and they commissioned imposing religious and secular complexes in Cairo and in the provinces which were beautifully decorated by the highest skilled craftsmen and artists.

Find out more about our course ‘Intorduction to Islamic Art and Architecture’ and sign up HERE