The Palestinian Museum Fourth Annual Conference
Launch of Research Projects
Spanning Palestinian Cultural History: New Perspectives

Tuesday to Wednesday, November 8th - 9th from 10:00-16:00
Location: Birzeit University, Said Khoury Building for Development Studies, Conference Hall 104.

In fulfilment of its 2019-2023 programme strategy, the Palestinian Museum (PM) launched its first research programme. It includes a public programme of book launches, literary events, symposia, panel discussions, podcasts, workshops, tours, film screenings, an annual exhibition-related conference, and original publications documenting the PM’s discursive and scholarly outputs. 

The research programme aims at driving civic and intellectual engagement, producing and disseminating knowledge about Palestine, and filling knowledge gaps about Palestinian history and culture.

The Palestinian Museum is honoured to invite you to attend its Fourth Annual Conference, to be held from Tuesday to Wednesday, November 8th -9th from 10:00-16:00 in Birzeit University, Said Khoury Building for Development Studies, Conference Hall 104.

The conference will launch the research grants projects produced within the Museum’s research open call generously funded by Ghalia and Omar Qattan. The research encompassed four themes aiming to bridge knowledge gaps in Palestinian culture and deepen the themes of the Museum’s annual exhibitions. They are:

- History of Art in Palestine and its Discourses from the Nineteenth Century until the 1990s

This strategic project involves the search for new methodologies and perspectives on the history of Palestinian art. The project reflects a widespread connection to the historiography of art in the context of Palestine and the Diaspora.

- The Palestinian Coast: From the End of the Ottoman Period to the Present

This project deepens and strengthens qualitative research on the history of the Palestinian coast, focusing on its material, socioeconomic, political, and settler-colonial contexts. This research accompanies the current exhibition A People by the Sea: Narratives of the Palestinian Coast, 29 September 2021 – 31 May 2023.

- The History of Printing in Jerusalem

Accompanying the 2020-2021 exhibition: Printed in Jerusalem, Mustamloun, this project focused on the material, socioeconomic, and political contexts of this history.

- New Perspectives on Contemporary Palestinian Culture

This project aims to deepen and strengthen critical qualitative research on contemporary Palestinian culture through a focus on its futurity and contemporary culture.

Rania Jawad; Kirsten Scheid; Ahmad Amara; Abbad Yahya; Nadi Abusaada; Jamal Nabulsi; Leila Abdelrazaq; Adey Almohsen; Ahmad Asaad, Clarissa Fonseca; Khai’laa’ Jumaa; Saleem Zoughbi; Faten Mitwasi; Laura Tibi; Sary Zananiri; and Olga Nefadova.

Day 1 Programme of the Palestinian Museum Fourth Annual Conference
November 8th, 2022
Day 1 Moderator: Rania Jawad, PhD
Time Language (Translation available) Intervention Title Speaker
9:00-9:30 Tour of the exhibition ‘A People by the Sea: Narratives from the Palestinian Coast’
With Assistant Curator: Malak Abdel Wahab
9:30-10:00  Registration
10:00-10:15 Arabic Opening Speech- The Palestinian Museum Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, PhD
10:15-10:25 Arabic Birzeit University Speech Beshara Doumani, PhD
10:25-10:45 English Keynote Lecture: Print and Imprints Rania Jawad, PhD
First Session The Palestinian Coast: From the late Ottoman Period until the Present Commentator: Mahmoud Yazbak, PhD
10:45-11:05 Arabic From Wayside to Destination: Yaffa’s Contribution to Ramallah’s Urban Transformation Abbad Yahya
11:05-11:25 English Beyond the Mountains and the Sea:
Overlapping Geographies of Modern Palestine
Nadi Abusaada, PhD
11:25-11:45 Arabic The Coast and the Cultivation of Barley in Southern Palestine Ahmad Amara, PhD
11:45-12:15 Discussion
12:15-12:25 Coffee Break
Second Session History of Printing in Jerusalem Commentator: Abdel-Rahman Shabane
12:25-12:45 English Little Magazines and Literary Criticism in Jordanian Jerusalem Adey Almohsen, PhD-Zoom
12:45-1:05 Arabic Printing and Resistance Ahmad Asad
13:05-13:30 Discussion
13:30-14:00 Lunch Break
Third Session New Perspectives on Contemporary Palestinian Culture Commentator: Hafez Omar
14:00-14:20 English Affective Sovereignty: Towards a Palestinian decolonial politics of emotion Jamal Nabulsi- Zoom
14:20-14:40 English Rifts in Palestinian Spacetime:
Palestinian futurism and imagining liberation beyond the nation-state
Leila Abdelrazaq-Zoom
14:40-15:30 Discussion and Closing

Day 2 Programme of the Palestinian Museum Fourth Annual Conference
November 9th, 2022
Day 2 Moderator: Kirsten Scheid, PhD
Time Language (Translation Available) Intervention Title Speaker
First Session Artistic Agency: Subverters, Syndicates, and Semiotics Commentator: May Sayrafi, PhD
10:00-10:20 English Keynote Lecture: Palestinian, Philistine, Philistinian? Kirsten Scheid, PhD
10:20-10:40 English The Art of Subversion: Palestinian Political Prisoner Artists in Askalan Clarissa Fonseca Azuara, PhD-Zoom
10:40-11:00 Arabic The Semiotics of Weapons in Contemporary Palestinian Art Khaila Juma
11:00-11:20 Arabic An Improbable Evolution: The Art Scene in Jordan from the Rise of The Arab Artists' Group to the Fall of a Complex Syndicate (1970–1980) Yassmeen Tukan-Zoom
11:20-12:00 Discussion
12:00-12:10 Coffee Break
Second Session Artistic Encounters: Imperialist Education Systems Commentator:
12:10-12:30 English Art Practices in Palestine under the British Mandate Faten Nastas Mitwasi
12:30-12:50 English Intricate Contexts: Palestinian Art and Palestinian Students in the USSR )1969-1991( Olga Nefedova-Zoom
12:50-13:20 Discussion
13:20-14:00 Lunch Break
Third Session Foundational Concepts for a Truly Local Art History Commentator: Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, PhD
14:00-14:20 English Orthodox Aesthetics:
Christianity, Solidarity, and the Secularisation of Palestinian Religious Art
Sary Zananiri
14:20-14:40 Arabic Bethlehem Seashell Carving Art’s Role in the Development of International Relations with Europe and the World (1860-1980) Saleem Zoughbi
14:40-15:30 English Karimeh Abbud and the Palestinian Archival Imaginary Laura Tibi
15:20-16:20 Discussion and Closing

- Khaila Juma
A Palestinian visual artist and researcher, Khaila Juma also teaches Arabic to foreign students. Juma is undertaking a Master’s degree in Modern Visual Arts from Altenbaş University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic Language and Literature with a minor in Journalism from Bethlehem University. Since then, she has worked in the fields of education, literature, and the arts, and comparatively studies the relationships between visual arts, languages, and history.

- Yassmeen Tukan
Yassmeen Tukan is a curator and an independent researcher. In 2020, Tukan obtained her Master's degree in History of Art and Curating from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Her Master’s thesis consists of a research paper and exhibition and is titled Jam’iyyat al-Fann (The Arab artists’ group): a critical cartography of the art scene in Jordan through the archive (1970-1980)­.  It provides a historical survey and critical cartography of the emergence of art institutions in Jordan and focuses on the role of the group and its impact on or relation to the art scene through the notion of the ‘archive’.

- Saleem Zoughbi
Saleem Zoughbi is one of the leading UN experts globally in the field of the digital transformation of governments. Zoughbi is also a senior advisor for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a senior associate expert at the United Nations University in Portugal, and is active in the international community of governance and the fields of strategies and policies of smart governance, mobile government, smart cities and smart sectors, and ICT for development.

He is also active in the cultural field as a musicologist; in 1996 he founded the Bethlehem Academy of Music. Zoughbi is also a composer who has written over 45 compositions including symphonies and concertos, among other types of music.

- Clarissa Fonseca Azuara
Clarissa Fonseca Azuara is an academic specialising in Arab art and gender, Arab art, art and nationalism, and women in revolutionary movements. Fonseca Azura has a PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) where she graduated Cum Laude with her PhD dissertation about the representation of the Palestinian nation as a woman in Palestinian Visual arts, a Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Contemporary Studies from the same university, and was a doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Letters at the Saint Joseph University of Beirut in Lebanon. Azuara holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Affairs from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Recent publications include Palestinian Patriotic Femininity: Fedayeen women and heroines (2020) and the book chapter Palestinian Motherland: Imagined nation, feminized nation and art (2019).

- Faten Nastas Mitwasi
Faten Nastas Mitwasi is a scholar of Palestinian art who was born in 1975 in Bethlehem. Her inspiration has always been her father, Fawzy Nastas, a well-renowned and prolific Palestinian sculptor. She received an MFA from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem in 2011.
Nastas Mitwasi started working at Dar Annadwa Cultural Center in 1998 as the art coordinator, responsible for curating exhibitions and organising courses. She was a key person in developing and establishing Dar al-Kalima University, where she is presently the Dean of the College of Fine Arts. She is also a scholar in Palestinian art and the author of three books: Sliman Mansour (Michael Imhof Verlag, Germany, 2008); Reflections on Palestinian Art: Art of Resistance or Aesthetics (Diyar, 2015); and Palestine: Contemporary Art from within and beyond the border (Fabrica Italy, 2016).

- Laura Tibi
Laura Tibi is a PhD student at Columbia University studying Palestine's visual and literary histories. In particular, Tibi’s research explores Palestinian film and photography's social and political currents, especially in the years leading up to 1948 and the subsequent material destruction and historical erasure. Tibi relies on a methodology based on literary and oral approaches to imagination and memory to evoke and recall the history of Palestine outside of colonial parameters.

- Sary Zananiri
Sary Zananiri is an artist and cultural historian and a research fellow at the Australian Archaeological Institute in Athens.  His research interests include how nationalism, religious narratives, and colonialism impact Palestinian visual culture.

- Olga Nefedova
Olga Nefedova is an art historian and the former director of the Orientalist Museum in Doha, Qatar. Nefadova has worked with private and government collections in the Far East, Middle East, and Gulf countries (Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) for many years. She was recently appointed as an expert consultant for the Art and Culture Development Foundation of the Republic of Uzbekistan. She is also the author of numerous books and articles on the subject of orientalism and is an associate professor of art history at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow. Her current research interest lies in the area of modern and contemporary Arab art, focusing on the stories of Arab artists that studied in the USSR.

- Ahmad Amara
Ahmad Amara is a lecturer at New York University and a postdoctoral fellow at Ben-Gurion University. Amara is a Senior Researcher for the Al-Quds University Human Rights Clinic in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast. Amara’s research focuses on geography and Palestinian legal history, with a special focus on Ottoman land reform and waqf. A lawyer working in human rights and international advocacy, he is a graduate of the dual PhD programme in History and Israeli Studies at New York University. He has authored several publications in law, history, and geography, the latest of which is his book Settlement in Jerusalem Neighbourhoods: The Old City, Silwan, and Sheikh Jarrah (Arabic) (MADAR-The Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies 2022).

 - Abbad Yahya
A researcher, novelist, and journalist, Abbad Yahya holds a Master’s degree in Sociology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Media from Birzeit University. Yahya worked as an assistant researcher for the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies and as a Managing Editor for Tabayyun, the ACRPS’ Quarterly Journal on Cultural Studies and Philosophy.

He was the Editor-in-Chief of ULTRA Sawt and has worked as a media consultant for international institutions. Yahya now works as the Director of Al Araby TV.

Yahya has written on a variety of topics, such as in his works ‘Statistics’ and Sociological Research in 1967 Occupied Land: Colonial Impact and the Fragmentation of Palestinian Society (Arabic) (Omran Journal) and Oral History and Dual Marginalization: Palestinian Peasant Woman and Nakba Narratives (Institute for Palestine Studies), per his research into the social and cognitive conditions of sociological research in Palestine
Yahya has five novels, the latest of which is Ramallah.

- Nadi Abusaada
Nadi Abusaada is an architect, urbanist, and historian. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Zurich. Previously, he was an Aga Khan Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Nadi completed his PhD and MPhil degrees from the University of Cambridge and his B.A. from the University of Toronto. Nadi is also the co-founder of Arab Urbanism, a Joint Fellow at the Palestinian Museum and the Palestinian American Research Center, and a Policy Member of Al-Shabaka.

- Jamal Nabulsi
Jamal Nabulsi is a diaspora Palestinian writer and researcher on Jagera and Turrbal land. Nabulsi is a PhD Candidate at the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland, researching emotion, resistance, graffiti, and hip-hop in Palestine.

- Leila Abdelrazaq
Leila Abdelrazaq (b. 1992, Chicago) is a Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic novel, Baddawi (Just World Books, 2015) was shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards and has been translated into three languages. Since then, she has created a number of other zines and comics. She has published, exhibited work, and given workshops around the world.
Leila’s creative work primarily explores issues related to diaspora, refugeehood, history, memory, and borders. She earned her MA in Modern Middle Eastern & North African Studies from the University of Michigan in 2020, where her research focused on Palestinian futurist art and post-national imaginaries. As an abolitionist and an artist, Leila is invested in imagining what Palestinian liberation might look like beyond the violence inherent in statehood.

 - Ahmad Asaad
Ahmad Asaad is a Palestinian researcher who holds two Master’s degrees from Birzeit University, one in Contemporary Arab Studies (2014) and another in Israeli Studies (2018). He is interested in studying the sociology of movements in Palestine and elsewhere as well as non-movements. Asad has authored several publications, the most recent of which is A Country Ready for a New Dawn: Civil Disobedience and Daily Life in Beit Sahour (Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies,

- Adey Almohsen
Adey Almohsen is an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Grinnell College, Iowa. He is an intellectual historian of the Middle East and North Africa and is currently building off his award-winning doctoral dissertation in writing a monograph, On Modernism's Edge: An Intellectual History of Palestinians 1945–70, set to retell the contested history of Palestinian thought and critique in the wake of national ruin and to examine the ideas and lives of Palestinian poets, journalists, editors, academics, and translators dispersed across Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Khartoum, Kuwait, and beyond. 

- Rania Jawad
Rania Jawad is an assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and the current director of the Institute of Women's Studies at Birzeit University. She writes on cultural and performance politics in the Arab world with a particular focus on Palestine. Her publications include The Daily During Field Research: Settler Colonialism, Motherhood, and Knowledge Production; Aren’t We Human? Normalizing Palestinian Performances; Staging Resistance in Bil‘in: The Performance of Violence in a Palestinian Village; and Trajectories of Travel: Augusto Boal’s Liberatory Theatre Practice in Palestine.

- Kirsten Scheid
Kirsten Scheid is a Beirut-based anthropologist and art historian. She is the author of Fantasmic Objects: Art and Sociality from Lebanon, 1920-1950 (Indiana University Press, 2022) and articles in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, ArtMargins, Aggregate, Anthropology Now, and MERIP, among others. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), Barakat Trust, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and EHESS. Scheid was the Clark/Oakley Humanities Scholar for 2019-2022 at the Clark Art Institute and served on the jury for the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture's Research in the Arts Program (2020-2022).