New professorial position at UK university dedicated to contemporary art and culture of the Middle East

Editor and academic Anthony Downey will establish a postgraduate programme in partnership with organisations in the region


Anthony Downey, the founding editor of the online publication Ibraaz, has been appointed professor of visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East at Birmingham City University (BCU), the first position of its kind in the UK. Downey was formerly the director of contemporary art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London; his recent publications include Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East.

“BCU has created the position to address the fact that there is currently no postgraduate programme offering degrees in the field of visual culture in the Middle East. The idea is to create a globally significant research cluster for postgraduates and PhD research students to study visual culture in the Middle East at BCU, in partnership with other organisations based in the [Middle East] region,” Downey says. 

The new department will develop over the next three years, with research seminars and conferences scheduled to take place at the university focusing on art practices in the region, institutions, and culture networks. An undergraduate programme is expected to follow.