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Museums in Qatar: creating narratives of history, economics and cultural co-operation

Al-Mulla, Mariam Ibrahim (2013) Museums in Qatar: creating narratives of history, economics and cultural co-operation. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis traces the history of museums in Qatar to investigate a significant period of transformation - politically, economically and socially - and their role in the reordering of ' things'. I compare the way in which Qatari museums have been used during two different eras, from the 19705 to 1995 and from 1995 to the current day, to demonstrate how museums in Qatar have been politically driven and where they have been used to strengthen a national profile, locally. region ally and globally. A specific study of Qatar National Museum allows for an exploration of how Sheikh Khalifa's aims for the museums in the country changed the community's understanding of their everyday objects, when they were shown in a museum context as a part of a specific narrative of history and change. The economic, social and political paradigm shifts that Qatar is witnessing currently have brought about recognition of the need for a wider and more important role for museums and their acquisitions. Alongside moves to modernise the country, there has begun to be an emphasis on the need to preserve Qatar's traditions and heritage and the desire to rebuild some sites and cities from Qatar's hi story. Throughout these projects, Qatari and Islamic heritage have been utilised in the politicians' vision and plans for globalisation and modernisation. The new museum culture in Qatar acts as a very powerful tool to generate narratives about the country as a nation; however, the opening of these new museums invites debate about why certain objects have been brought together and why specific narratives have been constructed around them. I have completed this research as both a curator employed by the Museums Authority in Qatar since 1998, and as a doctoral student at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. This has created an interesting tension in my work. As an insider, I have had to engage with the cultural basis of understanding demanded of a curator working in Qatar. However, as a research student, I have been required to question, analyse and critique Qatari museum practice. This is the first thesis to explore the history of museums in Qatar conducted by a Qatari employed by the Museums Authority and I have addressed the challenges of this position in my research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.614642
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 11:52
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2016 11:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11328

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