Call for Senior Fellows: Islamic Art & Material Culture – 2021-2022

April 29, 2021

The Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) at the University of Toronto invites applications for an innovative Fellows Program in Islamic Art and Material Culture.  The Fellows Program is a joint project of the IIS, Aga Khan Museum (AKM), and Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and is run collaboratively through the Islamic Art and Material Culture Collaborative (IAMCC).   

The definition of Islamic art and material culture here encompasses the art and material cultural produced within the multi-cultural, multi-confessional and multi-ethnic regions from across West Africa to Southeast Asia and China from the seventh century to the present day by artists, architects, craftspeople and for patrons and consumers from a range of ethnic and religious backgrounds.  

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.  

The Senior Fellows Program is open to graduate students in MA and PhD programs at the University of Toronto in the fields of art history, museum studies, curatorial studies and Islamic studies.  Senior Fellows will be awarded a $4500 fellowship and work closely with curators and researchers for approximately 200 hours, to be allocated in a manner subject to discussions between the director, the Senior Fellow, curators and researchers.  

Duties of Fellows: Senior Fellows will be required to work under the supervision of curators, collection managers and/or faculty in accordance with the priorities set by their supervisors. All Fellows are required to attend the Islamic Art and Material Culture Collaborative workshop series, and submit written reflections on the lecture to the supervising team. Moreover, all Fellows will be required to present their research project at one workshop, to be scheduled during the course of the academic year. 

Priority Areas for 2021-2022. While any eligible student is welcome to apply, the IAMCC internship program complements the IAMCC’s commitment to the following: 

  • Advanced research in the field of Islamic art history/archaeology (medieval, late medieval, early modern), across various languages relevant to the field, with a special interest in thematic design of workshops in an interdisciplinary fashion. 
  • The digital research, presentation, and communication of Islamic art 
  • Collections care, research, interpretation, and exhibition/permanent gallery research, development and design of the AKM’s and ROM’s holdings of Islamic art and material culture; 
  • Exhibition and permanent gallery research, development and design using both private and public collections of Islamic art and material culture that reflects the Greater Toronto Area’s multicultural demography.

Candidates with interest or experience in any of the above areas are preferred. 

How to Apply: 

All applicants to the Senior Fellows Program are required to provide the following: 

  • Resume or CV  
  • University undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts 
  • Statement of Interest (750 words max). Please identify research language ability (e.g. Arabic, Farsi, Sanskrit, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, etc.) 
  • A list of three references (2 academic, 1 employment) with relevant contact information 


Please email your application by June 10, 2021 to islamicstudies[at]utoronto[dot]ca.  

All applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of museum staff from the ROM and AKM, and faculty from the UofT. Any questions can be directed to IIS director Anver M. Emon at director[dot]islamicstudies[at]utoronto[dot]ca 

NB: Due to COVID19, all work during the course of the Senior Fellows program will be remote, until relevant Public Health Units indicate otherwise.