An examination of the relationship between Islamic Collections and their audiences: a comparative study of two British museums

Ibrahim, Rana (2023). An examination of the relationship between Islamic Collections and their audiences: a comparative study of two British museums. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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This thesis examines and discusses ‘the accessibility of Islamic Collections and their relationships with their audiences’. To situate the thesis the author explores museum categorisation and archive debates, debates concerning museum authority including a discussion on Islamophobia, and the role of museums as communicators. The thesis engages with core arguments about how to demonstrate whether an object is Islamic or not, and how museums respond to Islamophobia, as both impact local communities coming from the same faith. Finally, the thesis considers why Islamic collections are often inaccessible as currently displayed and explores areas where the problem arises, offering recommendations. The purpose of this thesis is to identify knowledge gaps within museum practice in this area. The research methodology took two museums based in Oxford as case studies, the History of Science Museum (HSM) and the Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM). It found that there is a lack of accessibility to Islamic Collections and discusses the underlying problems that cause this. The conclusions taken from this thesis are that many different elements contribute to accessibility limitations, from a lack of clarity in labelling to an inability to form connections to the collections. Also highlighted is the impact of museums’ understanding of audience demographics of Islamic collections and objects, and how they use this knowledge to increase audience engagement. This thesis contributes to the field of museum studies by offering a new perspective on the categorisation of cultural and religious collections and delivering a more in-depth look into the relationship between Islamic collections and their visitors in the UK. This study can act as a foundation for further studies on Islamic Collection accessibility.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general


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