Artists and Academics

Nour Hage

Nour Hage is an award-wining Lebanese designer of menswear, womenswear and accessories. She graduated in 2010 from Parsons Paris School of Art and Design (Paris College of Art) with a BFA in Fashion Design. After stints at Elie Saab and Oscar de la Renta, she joined the design team at Damir Doma in Paris. In 2012, she moved to Beirut, where she decided, aged 24, to start her own line. In 2014 she was awarded the prestigious Boghossian Foundation Prize. She regularly collaborates with design schools, other designers in various fields and even start-ups. She is based in London.

Hannah Khalil

Hannah Khalil a writer of Palestinian-Irish heritage,  has staged plays including the upcoming A Museum in Baghdad, which opens at the RSC in October 2019, in addition to: Interference for the National Theatre of Scotland (March 2019); Scenes from 68* Years – shortlisted for the James Tait Black award 2017, which “confirms Khalil as a dramatist of compelling potential” (Arcola Theatre, London, 2016); The Scar Test, said to be “Political theatre at its best” (Soho theatre, London); The Worst Cook in the West Bank (Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival); Bitterenders (ReOrient Festival, San Francisco, 2015); and Plan D (Tristan Bates Theatre, Meyer Whitworth Award shortlisted). She is currently also under commission to Shakespeare’s Globe, London.

Lena Naassana

Lena Naassana is a documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work brings together her interests in comparative literature, ethnography and the visual arts. Lena was born in New York to a multi-cultural and multi-lingual family of mixed Czech/Syrian descent. She was educated in Cairo, leaving to read English literature and Czech at Oxford University. After graduating, she returned to Cairo and began working as a documentary filmmaker and photographer with local and international NGOs. These included humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF and Samusocial, as well as various non profits working on environmental, educational and agricultural challenges in Egypt. In 2017, she moved to Prague where she immersed herself in medium-large format film photography and darkroom techniques, under the mentorship of experienced Czech photographers. At present, she is completing an MA in Arabic literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She continues to pursue interdisciplinary projects grappling with themes of exile, alienation and nostalgia.

Saeida Rouass

Saeida Rouass is a British novelist of Moroccan heritage. Her novella Eighteen Days of Spring in Winter (2015) is set in Cairo during the Arab Spring, and her first novel, Assembly of the Dead (2017), is a fictional account of the true story of the Moorish ‘Jack the Ripper’ set in Marrakesh in 1906, in the build up to the French Protectorate. She is currently working on the sequel, set in Fes during 1912. She has written for Newsweek, The Independent, Writers of Colour, Skin Deep and other cultural magazines. She is a 2019 Churchill Fellow, researching how women are impacted by hate groups and violent extremism and what that means for UK practice and policy.


Professor Jerry Brotton

Lead Academic Advisor

Professor Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London and author of This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World,  a Radio 4 Book of the Week and a Waterstone’s Non-Fiction Book of the Year.

Dr Matthew Birchwood

Academic Advisor

Dr Matthew Birchwood is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Kingston, specialising in the literature and culture of the early modern period. His research interests lie in the field of early modern English understanding of Islam and the East, particularly in the drama and political discourse of the period.

Professor Ros Ballaster

Academic Advisor

Professor Ros Ballaster is Professor of 18th Century Studies, Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow at Mansfield College, University of Oxford.