Universität Wien FIND

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080040 UE Übung: Art and Cultural Heritage as "Ambassadors". Topics, Understanding, Interpretation (2020S)

Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung

Die Übung wird gemeinsam mit Frau Eva Schubert abgehalten.



max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Deutsch, Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

The Übung operates on a block schedule and includes a first Introductory meeting of 60 minutes. The duration of the four blocks will be five hours each, with two breaks of 15 minutes. The dates are Tuesday, 10 March; Tuesday, 21 April; Thursday, 14 May and Tuesday, 09 June 2020. Participation is mandatory and lessons will start on time. Thus, we kindly ask you to arrive some minutes before we start.

The Übung will be conducted by Dr. Terézia Anna Bardi with contributions from Eva Schubert, founder and chairperson of Museum With No Frontiers. It will mainly be held in English but participants are free to speak in German.

Freitag 06.03. 11:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 1 d. Inst. f. Kunstgeschichte UniCampus Hof 9 3F-EG-07
Dienstag 10.03. 11:00 - 16:00 Seminarraum 5 d.Inst.f.Kunstg. (1.Stock) Uni-Campus Hof 9 3F-O1-22.A
Dienstag 21.04. 11:00 - 16:00 Seminarraum 5 d.Inst.f.Kunstg. (1.Stock) Uni-Campus Hof 9 3F-O1-22.A
Donnerstag 14.05. 09:00 - 15:00 Seminarraum 5 d.Inst.f.Kunstg. (1.Stock) Uni-Campus Hof 9 3F-O1-22.A
Dienstag 09.06. 11:00 - 16:00 Seminarraum 5 d.Inst.f.Kunstg. (1.Stock) Uni-Campus Hof 9 3F-O1-22.A


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Can art and cultural heritage be used as a true lingua franca? On the one hand it is true that every artwork conveys emotions independently from the cultural background and context of origin of the viewer and that there are certain iconographical and cultural contents that are more or less understandable to any person establishing empathy with artworks. On the other hand, the understanding of the artwork, its interpretation and the cognition of its iconography and of its iconological values require at least basic knowledge of the geographical, historical, sociological and cultural context in which the artwork had been created.
Art and cultural heritage are true ambassadors of the civilisation they represent and, thus, ideal tools to facilitate understanding between cultures and societies..
Our aim is to study Islamic art from a new perspective, combining experiences and methods used in a Western, namely European and American context, with those developed in the context of origin of the artefacts. The Übung will be an encouragement to open our mind and to get familiar with a methodology that involves a differentiated interpretation of the artworks, taking into consideration the local perspectives and the local understanding, values and use of history, art and cultural heritage.
The proposed methodology is the one developed and successfully used by Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF) since more than 20 years. Although our case study will be based on Islamic art, it is applicable for every and each culture. The MWNF methodology is a work-in-progress and counts on constant inputs from the museums and cultural heritage institutions from all around the world that participate in the MWNF platform.
During the Übung we will discover the MWNF platform as a multinational cultural cooperation programme and will get familiar with its use as a concrete reference tool for academic, curatorial, educational, social and tourism purposes. Based on the extensive content available at the MWNF platform, accessible via the database, Partner pages, galleries and exhibitions, we will study different types of Islamic collections from all around the world and will get familiar with the specific background of each of these collections, with their histories, missions and purposes. The examination of some of the highlights of these collections will allow acquiring a better understanding of differences and complementarities.
The entire Übung will be an interaction of lectures, thus a theoretical approach, and practical experience through independent research, shared curatorial work within a team and the presentation of results.
The outcome of the Übung will be a ‘ready to go’ concept for a physical exhibition, including its thematic structure, curatorial concept, examples of artefacts to be put on display as well as all related technical aspects such as a business plan and marketing concept. The topic of the exhibition will be established in accordance with all involved.
The Übung will provide an opportunity to look at Islamic artefacts as storytelling tools conveying knowledge about the culture they represent. We will learn to use artefacts as open doors that invite us to step in and to be guests and family members of a different culture. Looking from and getting to know other’s perspective, studying artworks of different cultures from both, our and the local perspectives, building a dialogue and a mutual understanding between cultures through the understanding of artefacts, will finally open also new perspectives for the understanding of artefacts made in a Western context.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Quality of participation in all activities, namely also in the exercises related to the elaboration of the exhibition. In the assignment of tasks and in the composition of teams for activities to be carried out as teamwork, the specific interest and focus of each participant will be taken into consideration as much as possible. The final assessment will be the sum of four interim assessments that will take place at the end of each block.

The Übung foresees homework between the blocks and each block will build on previous blocks as well as on the homework carried out by the participants. Their level of commitment and the quality of the homework will be important criteria for the assessment.

Participants are allowed to use their personal devices such as laptops, tablets or smartphones for Übung-related purposes but not to receive/do private phone calls, check emails, follow up on personal social media, etc. Ignoring this rule would have a negative impact on the final assessment.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Minimum requirements
All participants should be familiar with the MWNF platform (www.museumwnf.org) and, in particular, with the structure and content of the http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/ website before the Introductory meeting on 6 March.
Basic knowledge of the following topics is highly recommended: geography and history of the Islamic world and about the Islamic dynasties namely those having ruled in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean.
Interest in museums, curatorial work, academic research and in activities aiming at raising awareness about art and cultural heritage will increase the benefits of participating in the exercise.
Basic knowledge about the literature of the subject.
The use of mobile phones for phone calls, messages or personal social media follow up is not allowed during the Übung.

Assessment criteria
Quality of participation in all activities, namely also in the exercises related to the elaboration of the exhibition. In the assignment of tasks and in the composition of teams for activities to be carried out as teamwork, the specific interest and focus of each participant will be taken into consideration as much as possible. The final assessment will be the sum of four interim assessments that will take place at the end of each block.


The Übung will enable participants to get familiar with the interpretation of artworks and will include the elaboration of an exhibition.

All examination topics will be related to these two aspects, namely:
Participants will have to prove that they have acquired the methodology that has been taught during the Übung and that they are able to apply it and to convey it. This will include the following abilities:
Interpretation of artefacts through sources that provide information about the context of origin of the artefact;
Identification of sources that suit those purposes;
Elaboration of a curatorial exhibition concept that facilitates international cooperation on all levels, curatorial, institutional, educational, etc.;
Selection of artefacts based on an exhibition concept and justification of the selection;
Distinction between the description of an artefact for its display in a permanent collection and for its use in an exhibition context;
Writing of exhibition texts that are enjoyable and accessible for a general audience, including people with different cultural background;
Art historical analysis:
Identification of relations between artworks from different museums and description of the relations;
Use of research tools, libraries, archives and the Internet.
Selection of appropriate literature for the elaboration of an exhibition subject.

Participants are allowed to use their own notes made during the Übung or at home.


Museum With No Frontiers website

Discover Islamic Art. In: MWNF. URL: http://islamicart.museumwnf.org
Discover Carpet Art. In: MWNF. URL: http://carpets.museumwnf.org
Explore Islamic Art Collection. In: MWNF. URL: http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/pm_partner_list_eiac.php?type=museum

Museum With No Frontiers publications
EGYPT: Mamluk Art. Splendour and Magic of the Sultans (Islamic Art in the Mediterranean) MWNF, Wien, 2001,
URL: http://books.museumwnf.net/books_detail.php?booklngid=7;en&

SPAIN: Mudejar Art. Islamic Aesthetics in Christian Art (Islamic Art in the Mediterranean) MWNF, Wien, et al, 2019
URL: http://books.museumwnf.net/books_detail.php?booklngid=2;en&

SYRIA: The Ayyubid Era. Art and Architecture in Medieval Syria (Islamic Art in the Mediterranean), MWNF, Wien, 2015

More about MWNF publications here: http://books.museumwnf.net/search.php?begin=0&category=&isbn=ISBN&title=Title&author=Author%2FEditor&blang=none&country=none&specialProjets=isam

Other publications
Ritter, Markus, ed.: Islamische Kunst in Wien: Shifting Context, Shifting Meaning. Exh. Cat., Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Uni Wien Campus, Wien. 2018

Flood, F. B. -- Gülru Necipoğlu, G., eds.: A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture. Vols. I—II. Blackwell Companions to Art History, Book 12., Wiley-Blackwell, 2017

Encyclopaedia of Islam. Houtsma, M. T. et al, eds., Vols I—IV., Suppl., Leiden, Brill,1913—1938 [2nd ed.: Bianquis, Th. et al, eds., Brill, 1954—2007; 3rd ed.: Brill, 2007--]

A detailed list of suggested literature will be available during the Übung and can be handed out on request.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Mo 07.09.2020 15:20