Islamic Art and Saudi Arabia: Reconnecting Communities with Collections

  • Idries Trevathan
Part of the Heritage Studies in the Muslim World book series (HSMW)


The creation of the Islamic civilisation gallery at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) gallery offered a unique opportunity to reconnect Islamic cultural objects with the people, regions and communities in which they originated, but also presented curators with a broader challenge of connecting Saudi audiences to the wider Muslim world, particularly non-Arab regions and cultures in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-East Asia.

Establishing an Islamic civilisation gallery in Saudi Arabia raised questions regarding the appropriateness of conventional approaches to audience research, exhibition methodology and presentation of Islamic art as used in other museums abroad. This chapter outlines some findings from the Center’s audience research studies, describing how they proved crucial in the formulation of aims and objectives for the gallery, including its definition of ‘Islamic Art.’


Islamic Civilisation Art Culture Saudi Arabia Audience Research 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Idries Trevathan
    • 1
  1. 1.King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra)DhahranSaudi Arabia

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