A delegation from the CISS participated in the Tenth Islamic Manuscript Association Conference that was held at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge from 31 August-2 September. The Tenth Islamic Manuscript Conference was an occasion to reflect on progress in conservation, preservation, cataloguing, digitisation and research relating to Islamic manuscripts and manuscript collections during the decade since the founding of the Association, and to look ahead to anticipated developments in these fields over the next ten years. The conference’s special theme — Manuscripts and Conflict —constituted a timely opportunity to consider the above subject areas within the intensifying contexts of acute social and political instability or military conflict. Keynote speakers, round table sessions, poster presentations and workshops promoted active participation in a cutting-edge discussion of these subjects.
Topics that were covered included:
- General and specific developments in manuscript conservation, cataloguing, digitisation and research during the last ten years; and anticipated future developments in these fields.
- Discussions of the role that independent organisations such as the Islamic Manuscript Association can and should play in developing and promoting basic minimum practice and best practice in the above fields.
- Case studies of the effect of recent conflicts on Islamic manuscript collections (e.g. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Mali, the Balkans, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan)
- Case studies of recent or ongoing manuscript rescue efforts.
- Developing and implementing policies for disaster prevention and management, especially in less economically developed areas.
- The role of the international community and of large agencies such as UNESCO, Interpol, IFLA, and ICOM in determining and promoting disaster management policies.
- Technologies for preserving and conserving manuscripts following damage sustained during conflict.
- Digitisation of manuscripts in sub-optimal conditions.
- Security of manuscript collections, looting, and the role of the international art market.
- The role of national and international media and social networks during crises affecting cultural heritage.
- Ideological targeting of manuscript collections in both war and peace; ‘libricide’ and ‘biblioclasm’.
- The importance of cultural artefacts such as manuscript collections in post-conflict recovery.
In addition to the above, papers were presented on the subject of conservation, codicology, digitisation, cataloguing, research, and publishing of Islamic manuscripts; and the care and management of Islamic manuscript collections.