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Contemporary Art in the ‘Middle East’


This module focuses primarily on the work of contemporary artists who make work in or about the so-called Middle East. It includes recent works by artists from nations as diverse as Algeria, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Turkey and the UAE. One of the main objectives of the module is to look at art practices that attempt to deepen our understanding of the varied cultures, ethnicities and societies that are found in this part of the world. Against media stereotypes of the region, the artists studied in this module have made work that function as a critical platform for rethinking traditional identity formations and extending the space of cultural encounter across borders (territorial, political, linguistic). In many cases these artists may not be living and working in their country of birth but their ethnicity, religion or citizenship continues to inform both their own sense of identity and the terms of their art practice.


By the end of the module students should have acquired the following:

  • A nuanced understanding of the aesthetic, social and political forces that have shaped recent artistic practices in Middle East.
  • A set of theoretical tools that would allow them to critically analyse contemporary art forms across a range of media including film, video, performance, photography and installation. 
  • Knowledge of the key critical debates, exhibitions, and institutions framing cultural production in the region.  
  • A historical framework for understanding the emergence of contemporary art within the Middle East.

Module information

  • Module title
    Contemporary Art in the ‘Middle East’
  • Module number
  • Convenor
    Chad Elias

For postgraduates