Research sabbatical, history games, Vikings and the medieval Islamic Mediterranean, and a new Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture & Collections

It’s been a very busy year! This is a quick update, to say that I’m officially on research sabbatical this term, working very hard to finish my book on ‘Abbas Ibn Firnas, his medieval ‘first in flight’, and science and visual culture in early Islamic Córdoba. Inshallah it will be published next year, so stay tuned!

In other news, on diversifying games: last year I spoke to friends and colleagues at AKPIA@MIT about Assassin’s Creed, the AC Discovery Tours, and why those of us with expertise in medieval Islamic architecture and visual culture should be collaborating with games developers (abstract here).

This year I had the chance, lending my expertise on the 11th century Islamic Mediterranean to History and Games Lab Edinburgh for their new tabletop game Lion Rampant: A Viking in the Sun – The Mediterranean Adventures of Harald Hardrada (thank you to H&GL’s Gianluca Raccagni for inviting me to collaborate). You can get a copy of the game here – do let me know if you play it! I’d welcome your thoughts on the Islamic content.

Cover image. For more info visit History & Games Lab Edinburgh at

The other thing I spoke with the MIT folks about was my desire to found a GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) lab, to diversify digital cultural heritage by creating content focused on Islamic art and history. So I’m happy to announce that earlier this year I founded the Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture & Collections! The Lab is exploring mixed reality technologies to create new experiences of Islamic spaces, objects, and histories. Contributing to the digital global cultural heritage landscape, its mission is making immersive experiences about Islamic art and history accessible to all. Stay tuned for more on that front – there are exciting collaborations up and running already, and I’ll post more about those as they develop in coming months.