Basrah: its History, Culture and Heritage. A workshop and conference to celebrate the opening of Basrah Museum, Iraq

Hello ITPers!

Paul Collins, Jaleh Hearn Curator of Ancient Near East at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, has asked us to pass on this exciting opportunity to you.

Basrah: its history, culture and heritage
Workshop and conference to celebrate the opening of Basrah Museum,
Basrah, Iraq, 28–29 September 2016


The front of the new Basrah Museum

The new Basrah Museum will be a major cultural resource for the city of Basrah but also for Southern Iraq and the wider region. With galleries focussing on the area’s archaeology and history from prehistory to the present, the Museum will set a standard for the whole country, with facilities for school parties and contents tied to the Iraqi national curriculum.

On 27 September 2016 the Museum will open the first of its galleries, on the history of Basrah from the Hellenistic period to the present day. To celebrate this important occasion, the museum is hosting a two-day workshop and conference on 28-29 September, co-organised with The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI).

This event will provide an unprecedented opportunity for area specialists and museum professionals to explore some of the key stories of Basrah and its place in the wider region. These presentations will serve as a resource for the Museum to draw upon when developing future displays and exhibitions, helping to identify and respond to the interests of its audiences now and in the future. To complement the academic papers there will be workshops to support the development of label content, local history initiatives and audience development.

Paul would be especially interested in any ITP colleagues who would like to give a paper or run a workshop on museology topics (e.g. audience development, community engagement and label writing) in a setting like Basrah (a smallish, new museum with a largely, at least initially, local audience, many of whom may not have been to a museum for many years – this particularly applies to the younger generation).

Please see the link below for some background about the museum that you may find useful:

As part of the ITP’s on-going commitment to further engagement, we are delighted to offer any ITP participant chosen to present, a return flight and accommodation for the workshop days plus any support needed in preparing for the event.


If you would like to present a paper or deliver a session at the workshop, your formal proposals, in English, should include:

• Your name, academic affiliation and email address.
• Your ITP year.
• Title and 200-word abstract of your proposed talk or workshop.
• Clear acknowledgement in writing that BISI accepts no legal responsibility for your health and safety while in Iraq.

Please address all queries and submissions to Paul at

The deadline for submission of proposals is 31 July 2016 but earlier submissions will be reviewed by the organising committee on a rolling basis and participants notified promptly so that they can make practical arrangements in good time.


If you are based in the UK, BISI will help to arrange your visa to Iraq, although you yourself will need to visit the Iraqi Embassy in London for the visa to be issued in your passport.

If you are not based in the UK, Basrah Museum will issue you a letter of invitation for you to take with your visa application to the Iraqi Embassy in your home country.

In both cases, BISI will give participants further instructions on what to do.

If you decide to submit a paper, do let us know, and good luck!