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 medieval Islamic art and history accessible to all through the education, gaming, and GLAM (galleries, libraries, achives, and museums) sectors. I founded and lead the Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture & Collections to explore new visualization and mixed reality technologies to create immersive experiences of Islamic spaces and objects.
I'm an award-winning author of The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia: Aristocratic Estates and Court Culture in Umayyad Córdoba (Ashgate, 2013) and numerous articles and essays on the history and art of Islamic Spain and the medieval Mediterranean. Currently I'm revising my second book, which uses a 9th century medieval experiment in human flight to explore medieval Islamic science and visual culture. I co-edited The Aghlabids and Their Neighbors: Art and Material Culture in Ninth-Century North Africa (Brill, 2018) with Corisande Fenwick and Mariam Rosser-Owen, and Revisiting al-Andalus: Perspectives on the Material Culture of Islamic Iberia and Beyond (Brill, 2007) also with Mariam Rosser-Owen.
I earned my PhD from MIT in the History, Theory & Criticism of Architecture and Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. My work has been recognised by the American Council of Learned Societies, the College Art Association, the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Association for Spanish & Portuguese Historical Studies, among others. I served on the Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA) Executive Board and currently serve as an International Associate on the Board of Directors of the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA).
My courses explore Islamic architecture and visual culture during the caliphal age (roughly 650-1250 CE), the Islamic West in a global context, digital Islamic art history, and science and Islamic visual culture.
As well as teaching on programmes at Edinburgh College of Art, I teach on the MSc in Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.
My research focuses on Córdoba and the early Islamic West and global connections between Islamic and non-Islamic societies. Current projects include diversifying gaming and digital cultural heritage, mixed reality technologies to create immersive experiences of spaces and objects for teaching and entertainment, and Islamic visual culture of the Philippines.