The Islamic Art and Material Culture Subject Specialist Network (IAMCSSN) was founded in 2013 following a successful funding bid to Arts Council England (ACE). The proposal was developed by a group of specialist curators in response to the need for a national organisation that would be able to address the varied demands of people working in this field, especially those in regional institutions and those with limited access to resources and specialist knowledge. A result of the initial ACE support was a preliminary mapping of UK Islamic Art and Material Culture collections.
After this initial work was complete the IAMCSSN successfully applied for funding from the ACE Resilience Fund. Between 2015 to 2018 we delivered a wide range of new activity which enabled regional museums to unlock the potential of their Islamic Art and Material Culture collections. We provided expert advice and support to eleven regional museums through a Specialist Support Scheme. Collections and engagement specialists worked with each museum to develop a greater knowledge of their collections and to support them in developing activity for new and existing audiences.
We also developed a series of thematic study days in partnership with museums across the country. In addition to welcoming leading experts to speak, the study days provided opportunities for museum professionals to meet each other, to talk about their own work, and network.
The IAMCSSN is now entering a new chapter in its development. With a third successful application to ACE, we are currently planning an exciting year of new activity. The first stage is the launch of our new website and blog. We are in the early stages of working with Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire and The Oriental Museum, Durham, on the latest round of our Specialist Support Scheme. We will shortly be launching applications to find a third institution to support. A series of study days are currently being planned and excitingly we have been working in partnership with The Courtauld to develop a travelling exhibition of metalwork.
Throughout the year we will be posting further blog posts showcasing the diverse activity and interests of the IAMCSSN.