Past Event

Teaching and Curating Art During a Time of Pandemic

June 23, 2020
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
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Tuesday, June 23, 2020
6:30 - 7:30 pm (GMT+3) | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm (EDT)



Zainab Bahrani, Edith Porada Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology, Columbia University

Sarah Graff, Associate Curator at the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Salwa Mikdadi, Associate Professor of Practice in Art History, New York University Abu Dhabi

Moderated by Tina Sherwell, Head of the Contemporary Visual Art Program, Birzeit University

Introduction by Safwan Masri, Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development, Columbia University


Museums and universities are among the institutions vastly affected by COVID-19. With the spread of the pandemic, most art institutions and academic departments have closed for the indefinite future. Online exhibitions, virtual art courses, and curating for an increasingly digital world have altered the traditional physical experience of art and museums. Likewise, virtual classrooms and online projects have replaced the traditional art education in universities and art departments. Moving forward, museums and universities are considering various platforms and mechanisms to continue to reach their audiences and students. 

To gain insight on what the future of museums and art institutions and departments may look like as the world continues to deal with this crisis, Columbia Global Centers | Amman invites you to a webinar with prominent curators and art historians to shed light on their experience of working during the pandemic, challenges faced and lessons learned, and how this situation may change the future of art museums and classrooms. 




Zainab Bahrani

Zainab Bahrani is Edith Porada Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology at Columbia University. She is the author and editor of several articles and books, including Women of Babylon (2001) and The Graven Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria (2003). Her book The Infinite Image: Art, Time and the Aesthetic Dimension in Antiquity (2014), based on her 2010-2011 Slade Lecture in the Fine Arts at Oxford, won the Lionel Trilling Book prize. The recipient of many awards and grants for her research, Zainab has been recently elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.



Sarah Graff

Sarah Graff is an Associate Curator at the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She joined the Department in 2007, after spending 2006–7 as a Hagop Kevorkian Curatorial Fellow. Sarah earned her PhD from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts in 2012, with a dissertation on the Mesopotamian demon Humbaba (or Huwawa). She has published articles and given talks on monsters, demons, and magic, and on the magical and mythical qualities of clay. Sarah's recent projects include the development of a series of short gallery talks, called "Met Perspectives," that address pressing current issues, such as migration and multiculturalism, through the lens of The Met's collections.



Salwa Mikdadi

Salwa Mikdadi is an Associate Professor of Practice in Art History at New York University in Abu Dhabi. She specializes in the history of modern and contemporary art of the Arab world. Salwa is the author and co-editor of various publications on the arts of West Asia and Africa. She conducted research on the governance and management of museums and art institutions in Jordan, the West Bank, UAE, and Syria. Salwa has curated several exhibitions, including the first Palestinian collateral exhibition at the Venice Biennial in 2009, and is a founding board member of the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab world, Iran and Turkey.



Tina Sherwell is the Head of the Contemporary Visual Art Program at Birzeit University, where she was also Executive Director of their Virtual Gallery. Previously, she served as Director of The International Academy of Art in Palestine, Program Leader of Fine Art at Winchester School of Art, and Managing Editor of Jerusalem Quarterly. Tina has worked with the Tate Online on their digital archives and has undertaken consultancies for UNESCO, Riwaq Conservation Center, among others. She won the Alexandria Biennele prize in 2001 for her map series of Palestine, and is the author of various texts on Palestinian art and visual cultures. Tina received her PhD in Image Studies from the University of Kent.