I’m an advocate for the power of Islamic visual culture to reveal a more diverse and interconnected global history. I’m dedicated to making Islamic visual culture and history widely accessible through the education, GLAM (galleries, libraries, achives, and museums), and gaming industries. I founded the Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture & Collections, which is exploring new visualization and mixed reality technologies to create immersive experiences of premodern Islamic spaces and objects.
I am Senior Lecturer in Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh. Before arriving in Edinburgh in 2018 I was Associate Professor of Art History with tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I had taught since 2006. I completed my MA in Architectural History at the University of Virginia in 1998 and my PhD in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT in 2005.
My work has mostly focused on medieval Iberia (present-day Spain and Portugal) and the Islamic lands in the age of the great caliphs (roughly 650-1250 CE). I’ve investigated concubines and queens as makers of art, global connections between Islamic and non-Islamic societies, and have a longstanding interest in digital tools for Islamic art history. My first book analysed the suburban villas and court culture of the peninsula’s first Islamic dynasty, the Umayyads of Córdoba (756-1031 CE). My second monograph, which I am currently revising, explores caliphal science and visual culture through the career of a ninth-century Cordoban polymath, ‘Abbas Ibn Firnas, who is best known today for his experiment in early human flight.
I’m from the Philippines and have lived in Italy, the United States, Spain, and now beautiful Scotland. My background and experiences have contributed to my interests in global encounters and exchanges. Besides my scholarly work I most enjoy music (I play drums, some bass, and sing) and traveling the globe with my family in pursuit of great cities, sights and sounds.
You can learn more about my work at: