Arabic Language and Culture


Arabic language-and-culture learning through the arts: from principles to practice. Professional development programme based on the innovative toolkit ‘Language in Art and the Work of Ali Omar Ermes’ and developed at Goldsmiths, University of London.

“We thank Qatar Foundation International for generously part funding this event”

Qatar Foundation International LogoDo you want to bring culture alive and develop creative approaches to your language teaching? Have you ever thought about including a focus on Arab art? Have you wondered about how this can be made possible? Have you been waiting for a professional resource that you can adapt easily for your own classroom? Would you like to attend a professional development event to support you in using the resource? Then please read on …

An exciting new resource for Arabic learning and teaching has recently been developed at Goldsmiths, University of London. Based on a cross-curricular approach to language learning, the resource focuses on the role played by written language in art with a special focus on the amazing work of the renowned Arab artist, Ali Omar Ermes. It contains many stimulating activities to enable students to engage with the art work and to develop language skills at the same time.

The resource is entitled ‘Language in Art and the Work of Ali Omar Ermes’ and has arisen from a collaboration between Goldsmiths’ colleagues and Ali Omar Ermes, with support from the British Museum, the Museum of London and Qatar Foundation International. It is linked to Goldsmiths’ highly successful ‘Critical Connections: Multilingual Digital Storytelling Project’ * and is based on a proven pedagogical approach which supports active learning, student collaboration and creative engagement. It is intended mainly for students of Arabic at intermediate to advanced level in schools (both mainstream and complementary), but is also relevant in higher and adult education contexts. Importantly, it offers a modern and creative way to deliver the Arabic curriculum.

This professional development programme, to be carried out in different locations across the UK, aims to introduce teachers to the resource and how it might be used in different contexts. Currently we expect to be running days in Edinburgh, Leeds and Sheffield as well as London. Each day will last 5 hours and be facilitated by at least two colleagues from the team that created the resource. Teachers will have the opportunity to consider implications for planning and to work practically with the resource guided by course tutors.

Outcomes will include:

  1. A deeper appreciation of the value of combining visual arts work with language learning, particularly in the context of Arabic.
  2. An understanding of the transformative pedagogy required to successfully deliver such an approach (prioritising learner agency, interculturality and creativity).
  3. Familiarisation with new resource developed by Goldsmiths team including doing various activities.
  4. Ability to effectively plan lessons using the resource.

All participants will receive a free copy of the resource with further information and support available through the project website. Feedback we have received on the resource has been highly positive.

As one teacher commented:

Art in Arabic language:

  • It brings creativity into learning;
  • It makes language more interesting;
  • It shows that Arabic calligraphy can be artistic;
  • It makes students use their imagination, abstract shapes, etc.;
  • It teaches students how versatile the Arabic language in art can be used because different parts of the world use art in different ways: to express something;
  • It brings history: you can talk about Islamic art in the 19th century for example or Arabic art in Al Andalus 500 years ago.

Practical Information

Please book your ticket by clicking on the links below:

Thursday 13 December (09:30 - 16:00)

Edinburgh University


There are no tuition fees but there is a non-returnable registration fee of £30.

Please note that more information about one more session in London will be published here very soon (03/12/18).

For more information about our language projects, please visit our WordPress webpage.