Public Conference on Science and Art in Islam to Be Held in Adelaide, Australia
  • Wed, 07/13/2016
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13 July 2016

A free public conference is being held at the University of Adelaide next week (20-23 July) which will celebrate the history and culture of knowledge, discovery and artistic expression within the Muslim world.

Called ILM: Science, Religion, and Art in Islam, the conference takes its name from the Arabic word 'ilm, a term spanning various concepts of knowledge, religion and art.

The international conference also includes a free public exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

The conference and exhibition can both be offered free to the public, thanks to a generous sponsorship by the Council for Australian-Arab Relations.

The conference features speakers on a range of topics, such as: the history of Islamic art; the nexus between religion and science, as well as its conflicts and challenges; and even the future of Islamic art in a digital world.

On 23 July, there will be a workshop,

The conference is organised by Professor Samer (Sam) Akkach, Founding Director of the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture at the University of Adelaide.

"Historically, there has been no specific word for 'science' in Arabic," says Professor Akkach.

"This is one of the reasons that make "'ilm" a fascinating word. It is a complex, multifaceted Arabic term used to denote the many aspects of knowing and knowledge acquisition, production, and dissemination, including teaching and learning, education, and science, as well as comprehension, perception, feeling, experience, and familiarity.

"From 'ilm also comes the term 'alam, 'world', signifying that the divine creative act is fundamentally an act of knowing and an expression of knowledge," he says.

"Through the Quran and prophetic traditions, Islam has placed a strong emphasis on 'ilm, considering the seeking of knowledge to be obligatory on all Muslims.

"Our conference aims to celebrate multiple aspects of cultural production in Islam, particularly in the fields of science, religion, and the arts. By making this event free and open to the public, we hope to share a broader understanding of these cultural traits to the general community," Professor Akkach says.


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