Senior Fellows Showcase – Islamic Art & Material Culture Collaborative

Islamic Art and Material Culture Collaborative (IAMCC) showcases project of Senior Fellows: Samantha Summers and Rebecca Tunney

IAMCC Senior Fellows Showcase: Metalworks, Medieval Mosul, Minecraft, and Museums

As part of its mandate to foster innovative and interdisciplinary research on Islamic art and material culture, the IAMCC’s Fellowship Program provides collaborative learning opportunities for student researcher under the guidance of Toronto’s world-class cultural and academic institutions.

In this session, the two 2020-2021 Senior Fellows will showcase their research projects.

The conversation will be hosted by the respective supervisors of the Fellows:

  • Dr. Ruba Kana’an (Assistant Professor, Islamic Art and Architecture, University of Toronto Mississauga)
  • Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis (Interim Director and CEO, Aga Khan Museum)

Cataloguing the Metalworks of Medieval Mosul

Samantha Summers

This research position supported Dr. Ruba Kana’an in her project on metalwork from medieval Mosul, with particular interest in both the artefacts with Christian imagery and the communities of artists that created them. Samantha compiled lists of artefacts relevant to Dr. Kana’an’s project, analyzed the artefacts and their imagery, sourced comparative images from Syriac contexts, and compiled relevant bibliographies on the subject. Through her study, Samantha has created a unique database with details about the objects including their current locations, artists’ names, provenance, and imagery. This research has been completed in preparation for a Digital Humanities grant application.

Inlaid Brasses with Christian Iconograpy (Keir Collection K.1.2014.82, MMA 1971.39a, b, and Nasser D. Khalili Collection MTW 850)
Samantha Summers is a Master of Information and Master of Museum Studies student at the University of Toronto. Prior to this she received her MA in History at Queen’s University, where she researched constructions of gender and power in the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Crusades under the supervision of Dr. Adnan Husain. She also has an HBA in Celtic Studies from the University of Toronto and has done work concerning gender in medieval Irish mythology and critical philanthropy studies.

Building Global Connections Using Minecraft

Rebecca Tunney

During the COVID-19 pandemic, museums have sought new ways of engaging audiences who cannot physically visit gallery spaces. As a cultural institution with a global mandate, the Aga Khan Museum wishes to reach audiences not only beyond its walls, but beyond the borders of Canada. Specifically, the Museum hopes to encourage youth from around the world to make connections with its collections and each other. Through Rebecca’s research, “AKM Craft” was borne as an educational program that uses the popular video game Minecraft to bring high school students together in an online environment. This concept has the potential to promote interconnectedness and global citizenship in a world that is, for many reasons, highly divided.

Replica of Aga Khan Museum within Minecraft game environment, by Rebecca Tunney.
Rebecca Tunney (she/her; BSc 2019, MMSt 2021) grew up playing games, solving puzzles, and telling stories. She loves learning and working with people, and uses these interests to make educational experiences that are fun and engaging. Her graduate studies have focused on exhibitions, education, and evaluation.

About the IAMCC Fellows Program

The Fellows Program is a unique opportunity for graduate students to work under the supervision of museum curators, collections managers and/or other museum staff to gain experience in collections and exhibition development and interpretation at two of Toronto’s world class cultural institutions — The Aga Khan Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum. The Program additionally provides opportunities for more research-based experience for graduate students to work under the supervision of university faculty to support advanced research at one of Canada’s premier institutions of learning — the University of Toronto. The internship program provides graduate students a unique experience in the city of Toronto, integrating museum curation and development with research and innovation in an increasingly global conversation on art and Aesthetics.