On Saturday 5th of March the IMA held its inaugural International Islamic Arts Symposium on the topic of ‘Does Art Effect Social Change?’. Principally funded by the Council for Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR), this event was two months in the making. Its goal was to showcase the perspective from art practitioners, curators and industry experts on the way their disciplinary field effected social change to wider society.
Guest speakers included representatives from the UAE including Mr Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Mutairi and Moustafa Fahour from Dubai and Dr Ulrike Al Khamis from Sharjah. 
Within Australia, speakers hailed from five cities, including from Melbourne; Issam Nabulsi (Desypher), Padmini Sebastian (Immigration Museum), and Tasneem Chopra (Curator, IMA). From Sydney; Ahmad Al Rady (Bankstown Poetry Slam), Tom Toby (Heaven to Heaven, Photography) and Kamal Saleh (Poet). From Adelaide, Manal Younus (Poet) and Houssam Abiad (CAAR Board). From Perth; Dr Stefano Carboni (WA Gallery)and from Canberra, Fatima Killeen (Printmaker). 
(Program below)


This was a combination of presentations, panel discussions and spoken word performances – culminating in a day long intensive, to a sold out audience. 
Delivering a program that critiqued and promoted the power of art as a medium for change making was a museum first. Consensus feedback suggested another such event should be a staple in the IMA’s event calendar. The calibre of presentations was high end, eliciting strong emotions and buy-in from the audience throughout the day.

While I was fairly confident my line up of speakers would deliver,  my expectations exceeded tenfold, because THEY WERE AMAZING. 

This event would not have been possible without the formidable team efforts of the IMA’s GM Ashraf Naim and our support team.

Curating this event was a personal joy as I was charged with delivering a program that critiqued and promoted the power of art as a medium for change making. 

I remain relieved and happily exhausted in the afterglow of an event that ticked my boxes.
The timing of the Islamic Arts Symposium was strategically placed a day prior to the IMA Gala Dinner on Sunday 6th March. Our guest speakers were therefore able to attend this premiere IMA dinner event and further network with Melbourne’s arts community as well as key stakeholders of the IMA including government and business leaders. As an exercise in inter country diplomacy these two function promoted the goodwill ethic of the IMA, pursuant to our charter and realised in our program initiatives.