X Close

UCL Global

Home

London's Global University

Menu

UCL Qatar students changing libraries in Doha through UCL ChangeMakers project

GuestBlogger21 January 2019

By Bruce Bulmuo 

Master’s degree students at UCL Qatar have completed a UCL ChangeMakers project which offered students the opportunity to work with a school library in Doha to enhance practice-based learning for students in the Library and Information Studies program.

The students spent several months working with Al-Rowad International School to provide assessment and consultation services.

Recommendations were made to the authorities of the school on potential changes to the library to meet standards set by Qatar National School Accreditation (QNSA).

Meeting international standards 

To be eligible for full accreditation, schools in Qatar are required by QNSA to have well-resourced and functioning libraries that meet international standards. After a rigorous search, Al-Rowad International School was selected to be the first beneficiary of ChangeMakers in Qatar.

Led by Asma Al-Maadheed, the team of five students worked under the supervision of Dr. Milena Dobreva, Co-ordinator of the Library and Information Studies program at UCL Qatar, to write a library policy and install an automated library system for the school’s library.

Staff of the school were given basic training on how to operate the library system that was installed on their main library computer to ensure efficiency in the management of the library.

Fostering collaboration and innovation 

The UCL ChangeMakers project fosters collaboration and innovation to further enhance the learning experience of students. The project also forms part of commitment at UCL Qatar to prepare students for the work environment.

The project titled ‘Practice-based Team Learning through Assessing and Supporting School Libraries in Qatar’, also served as a hands-on practice for students in line with UCL’s mission of developing professionals through research based-based learning.

The students also considered the project as a form of corporate social responsibility that allowed them to give back to society the knowledge they have gained from the lecture halls.

New book by UCL Qatar’s Dr Jane Humphris brings Sudan’s heritage to young audience

Sian EGardiner23 July 2018

Dr Jane Humphris, Head of UCL Qatar Research in Sudan, has published a children’s book intended to raise awareness about archaeological work in Sudan among local children.

The book, ‘Sudan’s Ancient History: Hwida and Maawia Investigate Meroe’s Iron’, illustrates the groundbreaking archaeological work currently underway in the Royal City of Meroe, as part of the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project (QSAP), for a younger audience.

Funded by Qatar Museums, QSAP is an extensive, targeted initiative by to support the exploration and protection of Sudan’s culture and history.

Led by the states of Sudan and Qatar, this international project has over 40 missions engaged in the excavation and conservation of ancient sites in Sudan.

Distributed in Doha libraries

The new book follows two young children, Hwida and Maawia, as they discover how the ancient Sudanese produced iron, demonstrating the significant role this played in the history of the Kingdom of Kush.

Following its publication, copies of the book are to be placed in the Museum of Islamic Art library and the Qatar National Library for children and families from across Qatar to learn about this aspect of Sudan’s rich heritage.

As part of the ongoing community outreach programme in Sudan, hundreds of copies have been also handed out to children living around Meroe and placed in the libraries of local schools.

Inspiring the next generation

Speaking at a ceremony hosted by Qatar National Library, Jane said: “Here at UCL Qatar, we believe that the role of archaeologists is not just to discover the past through archaeological excavations, but also to make sure that the work we are doing is accessible.

“We hope that the book continues to be used as an educational tool – both in Sudan and Qatar – so that we can inspire the next generation to become more interested in preserving, protecting, and promoting cultural heritage.”

Ongoing archaeological work

For the last six years, UCL Qatar has been carrying out archaeological work at the ancient Royal City of Meroe, on the east bank of the river Nile.

UCL Qatar’s most recent work as part of QSAP includes the discovery of early iron production workshops, and extensive research and conservation at the Apedemak Temple, one of the most import religious locations at the Royal City.

UCL Qatar’s collaborations shed fresh light on Doha’s rich architectural heritage

Sian EGardiner18 December 2017

Earlier this month, UCL Qatar joined forces with various partner organisations in a series of public events exploring the city of Doha’s architectural history.

Most notably, the British Council Qatar’s fourth annual British Festival included a panel discussion and exhibition brought to the festival thanks to the ongoing partnership between UCL Qatar and Qatar University’s College of Engineering.

‘The Streets of Doha’ panel featured the winners of the Unlimited Doha Design Prize (Deena Terawi, Gizem Kahraman, Ming Teong, Can Askoy and Alex Scott-Whitby) along with special guest speakers including Ibrahim Mohamed, CEO & Chief Architect of Jaidah Group and Dr Fodil Fadli, Head of the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Qatar University.

An educational partnership with the British Council

The panel’s wide-ranging discussion covered the distinctive character of Doha’s architecture, the transformation of the city’s built environment and its impact on architectural identity, everyday life and public space.

Professor Rob Carter, Professorial Research Fellow and Research Lead at UCL Qatar, was in the 120-strong audience to hear the discussions take place. Speaking about the event he said, “UCL Qatar is honoured to participate in this year’s British Festival as the British Council educational partners.

“We are proud to be the first British institution in Qatar to offer high quality UK Education, and of the outstanding outcomes we’ve achieved in developing research and capacity-building in cultural heritage in this country. I’m particularly delighted to be involved in this event and exploration of Qatar’s rich urban heritage, which is often underestimated in academic circles and public debate.”

Exchange of knowledge and ideas

Along with the panel, an exhibition showcased the Doha Unlimited Design Award 2016 prize-winning team’s vision for the city. Awarded by the British Council Qatar, the competition saw UK- and Gulf-based designers take part in a week-long design residency under the theme of ‘The Open City’, with a particular focus on mobility and making Doha more open and accessible to all.

Commenting on the collaboration between the British Council and UCL Qatar, Dr. Frank Fitzpatrick, Director of the British Council Qatar, said, “Both the United Kingdom and Qatar are well-known for their remarkable architecture, and we hope to strengthen our relationship with Qatar by creating opportunities for further collaboration and the exchange of knowledge and ideas.”

Ongoing collaboration with Qatar Museum

Following the festival, Professor Carter continued the exploration of Doha’s rich architectural heritage with a lively Rob Carter lecturing in Qatarpublic lecture, ‘The History Beneath Your Feet: What Urban Excavation Can Tell Us About Historic Doha and the World.’

The lecture provided further evidence for the breadth of UCL Qatar’s collaboration with external partners. The latest milestone in the successful architectural collaboration between UCL Qatar and Qatar Museums, Carter and Dr Ferhan Sakal, Head of Archaeology Operations of Qatar Museums, shared updates on recent achievements of the partners’ Qatar Old Doha Rescue Excavation.

The excavation helps to document lives of the people of Doha, from the town’s foundations being laid in the early 19th century through to the impact of the discovery of oil in the 1950s.

Following his talk, Professor Carter said: “Together with our partners at Qatar Museums, we have made remarkable progress in uncovering news and important aspects of Qatar’s rich history, building up a detailed understanding of the country’s past.

“The rapid, exciting development of Doha now adds a real urgency to our work – and whilst a great deal has been achieved already, thanks to the level of collaboration to date, we’re enormously excited about the next phase of the project.”

Help us celebrate UCL in the Middle East

SophieVinter30 August 2016

The Africa & Middle East Regional Network is excited to be hosting its second regionally focussed event, this time exploring UCL’s work in the Middle East.

Following the success of Knowledge Africa in June, UCL in the Middle East will take place on Friday 16 September, between 1-5pm in Roberts 110.

There will be the chance to find out more about different initiatives and opportunities through presentations and a photo exhibition. Students are also encouraged to take part by submitting a poster illustrating their work for display.

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Pro-Vice-Provost for Africa & the Middle East, said: “Knowledge Africa was a great way to bring together staff and students from across the university to share knowledge, network and showcase our partnerships. UCL has a range of innovative collaborations underway in the Middle East and we’re looking forward to celebrating them at this event.”

Register to attend on Eventbrite.

Itinerary

13.00 – 13.15: Registration

13.15 – 13.30: Welcome and introductions, Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu

13.30 – 13.45: Seth Anziska (via Skype), Hebrew and Jewish Studies

13.45 – 14.00: Beverley Butler / David Wengrow, Institute of Archaeology

14.00 – 14.15: Fatemeh Farnaz Arefian, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

14.15 – 14.30: Jonathan Dale, Institute of Education

14.30 – 14.45: Refreshments and poster session

14.45 – 15.00: Carlos Huggins, UCLC

15.00 – 15.15: Deborah Gill, MSEC

15.15 – 15.30: Sam Evans, UCL Qatar

15.30 – 16.15: Panel discussion: Sustainable Economic Development Post Petroleum

16.15 – 17.00: Reception

Unlocking Doha’s past: object conservation at UCL Qatar

KerryMilton20 August 2015

Peering through a microscope, Eleni Asderaki-Tzoumerkioti carefully scrapes at the blue-green corrosion covering a metal artifact. Eleni has been a conservator of antiquities since 1978, and is an Honorary Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Archaeology since 2002, and at UCL Qatar since 2012. She specialises in metals with an extra research interest in glass and pigments. This expertise guides her as she conserves artifacts excavated during the Joint QM-UCL Qatar Old Doha Rescue Excavation in 2013-2014.

Objects before conservation

QMA and UCL-Qatar Qubib Mosque Excavation

Conservation of these artefacts is critical; after excavation the artefacts can corrode remarkably, sometimes disintegrating completely while kept in storage. Conservation work both preserves artefacts and can help archaeologists identify details that were missed in excavation or obscured by corrosion.

Joint QM-UCL Qatar Old Doha Rescue Excavation

The Joint QM-UCL Qatar Old Doha Rescue Excavation team recovered several metal objects including coins jewlery, padlocks, daggers as well as objects for everyday use. Through conservation, Eleni has brought the artefacts back to life. Delicate scrollwork adorns the padlock that Eleni is working on, but when she turns the padlock over, there is a big surprise: the padlock has been forced open!

Eleni examining the padlock

There is a large puncture in the back of the padlock, only revealed under the careful work of a conservator. Eleni also X-rays the objects, revealing their inner workings, She then determines what they are made of through non-destructive XRF analysis.

X-rays of the padlocks

As research continues on the artefacts revealed by the Joint QM-UCL Qatar Old Doha Rescue Excavation, we gain insights into daily life in early 20th century Doha.

Passion for research, commitment to education: the archaeology programme at UCL Qatar

KerryMilton4 March 2015

Dr Jose C. Carvajal Lopez, Lecturer in Islamic Archaeology at UCL Qatar, reflects upon the establishment of the MA Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World degree programme, and aspirations for growth.

Jose C. Carvajal Lopez, UCL Qatar

One of the privileges of teaching at UCL Qatar is to find highly motivated students who need only minimal guidance to set up and accomplish interesting and valuable research projects. The first generation of our students on the MA Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World degree programme have addressed such varied issues as the ethnography of nomadic campsites in the Qatari desert, the technological transformations of Serbian pottery after the Ottoman conquest, the development of characteristic types of wares of the late Islamic period in the Gulf, the cultural connections of a piece of Fatimid woodwork conserved in Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art, and the creation of a recovery plan for the heritage of the war-ravaged town of Aleppo, Syria.

Each one of these topics reflects the passion and commitment of our students, who have in many cases travelled long distances and adapted to a different culture in order to have the chance to give everything in their projects.

The first generation of our students hailed from countries as diverse as Lebanon, Serbia, Qatar, Syria and the UK. The second generation, already preparing their dissertation, have added new countries to that list: Egypt, Italy, USA, Libya, Czech Republic, Mexico, Yemen and Jordan. And the third generation, just starting, includes students from such distant places as Indonesia, Spain and Canada, only mentioning those countries that have not appeared previously in this list.

When looking at students across the whole department, enrolled on one of our five different programmes (MA Museum and Gallery Practice, MSc Conservation Studies, MA Library and Information Studies and Diploma in Academic Research and Methods), we teach more than eighty individuals from nearly 40 countries. The environment is exciting and enriching, as cultural exchange between us, the UCL Qatar academic staff, and these highly motivated students forms part of our daily experience.

The first generation of our archaeology students has set a very high standard, but this is in fact something that makes us proud and eager to follow up. Each single dissertation was a piece of innovative research that brings something new into the field of archaeology and, above all, conveys to the reader that the author loved and cherished the topic on which they wrote. This is a brilliant start, but it is nowhere close to where we want to go.

The archaeologists lecturing and researching at UCL Qatar vibrate with the passion lived in this environment, and we do worry about providing our students with the opportunities that they search and have worked so hard to find. Our flagship projects in Qatar, Sudan and Egypt have provided numerous chances of internships for some of them, and our involvement in projects with institutions in Spain, Palestine, Iraq, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Netherlands, Albania, Kuwait, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the UK have been exploited in field placements, exchanges and internships. The students demand and deserve more still: some of them look for projects and placements in Central Asia and India, and this is something that of course we take very seriously, as we are proud to be a Global University.

This is ambitious, but it is not without a realistic aim: to provide our students with the chance to develop their own potential and to satisfy the passion that has taken them away from their more or less distant homes to a place where education and research are heads and tails of the same coin.

27 nationalities represented in UCL Qatar’s third student intake

KerryMilton3 November 2014

UCL Qatar welcomed 51 new students from 27 countries on to its Master’s degree programmes and Diploma course in September 2014. The third intake of students to join the department, they are the biggest and most diverse cohort to date, reflecting the growing demand for the programmes both locally and internationally.

UCL Qatar’s most popular programme continues to be the one-year MA in Museum and Gallery Practice, where 17 of the 51 new students are enrolled, closely followed by the one-year MA in Library and Information Studies with 13. The nine students enrolled on the Diploma in Academic Research and Methods are each aiming to progress onto their chosen Master’s degree programme in 2015.

Among the nationalities, Qatar is the most represented, with Qatari students making up 24% of the year-group. The majority of Arab countries are each represented, with students from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Tunisia enrolling this year.

Outside of the region, students hail from the UK, Greece, USA, France, Spain, Somalia, India, Belarus, Montenegro, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Korea, Canada, Pakistan, Kenya and Singapore.

The programmes draw a combination of long-term Qatar residents and professionals, as well as students coming from overseas who hold a specific interest in the heritage and culture of the Gulf region. The majority of graduates remain in Qatar, pursuing roles in the rapidly growing museums and heritage sector.

This year’s new students join 27 returning students who are enrolled on the two-year MA Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World or MSc Conservation Studies, or who are undertaking a Research degree.

Other key facts from UCL Qatar’s 2014 cohort:

  • 70% female, 30% male
  • Age range from 21 to 62
  • 27 students in their 20’s
  • Average age of 30
  • English and at least 20 other languages are spoken, including Arabic, Swahili, Somali, Pashtun, Urdu, Greek and Montenegrin
  • Current and former careers include: archaeologist, Egyptologist, artist, curator, museum manager, ethnographer, photographer, architect and translator