I’m an expert in medieval Islamic art and architecture, a field that grew out of and was/is an active agent in colonial systems, with all the difficult and problematic issues that entails. My work, and my commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion, is profoundly shaped by my perspectives as a cis-female-mother-mixed-POC/BAME-immigrant from a working-class family. I’m from the Philippines and grew up partly in Italy and mainly in the US. My background and experiences have contributed to my interests in global encounters and exchanges.

Currently I’m Senior Lecturer in Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh and Research Affiliate, Edinburgh Futures Institute. 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 taught Islamic art history since 2006. Before that I held visiting lectureships at Boston Architectural College, Dartmouth College, and Brandeis University.

I haven’t always focused on Islamic visual culture – before starting the PhD I was interested in preserving America’s historic buildings and urban fabric. I completed my MA in Architectural History and Historic Preservation at the University of Virginia in 1998, where I had the chance to work on architectural conservation and restoration projects at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.   

Besides research, I most enjoy creating with others, especially by making music (I’m a drummer, play a bit of bass, and have been a lead singer) and traveling the globe with my family in pursuit of great sounds, sights, and cities. 

If you’d like to know more about me as a whole person (and not just as an academic), you can read more in my first blog post, in which I tried to explain to students who I am, what I do, and why. I hope it makes the values that inform my work clear, especially around equity, diversity, and inclusion.You can find the full post, “On diversifying art history. Perspectives from a mixed BAME academic (14 July, 2020),” here.

© Glaire Anderson (CC BY-NC 4.0)