Dr Melanie Gibson

BA (Oxon), MA, PhD (SOAS)
Head of Faculty & Visiting Professor in Art History

Melanie is Head of Faculty and Visiting Professor for the Art History contextual course at New College of the Humanities. She has a BA in Arabic from St Anne’s College, Oxford. She took her MA and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Since 2006 she has been director and tutor of the Islamic module of the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS. In 2009 she set up and taught with Dr. Moya Carey the ‘Artistic and Architectural Heritage of the Islamic World’ course at the Aga Khan University, London.


Modules taught


  • Animal Sculptures’ in: Brasses, Bronze and Silver of the Islamic Lands,
Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art Vol. XI, (general editor Julian Raby) Nour Foundation, London (forthcoming 2015)
  • Contributing author An Illustrated History of Islamic Art & Design,
London 2012
  • Contributing author An Illustrated History of Islamic Architecture
London 2012
  • Contributing author An Illustrated Guide to Islam,
London 2012
  • Co-editor and contributing author The Sarikhani Collection: An Introduction 
London 2011
  • Admirably Ornamented Glass’ in: ‘GLASS - from Sasanian Antecedents to European Imitations’, 
by Sydney M. Goldstein, Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art Vol. XV, (general editor Julian Raby) Nour Foundation, London, 2005

Journal articles and reviews

Selected Lectures

  • Introducing Asian Ceramics: Blue and White- the Islamic period’, Oriental Ceramic Society 2012-3 Lecture Programme,
 11 December 2012, Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London.
  • Colouring the surface: a taste for tiles in 19th century English domestic architecture’, Third Biennial Symposium of the Historians of Islamic Art Association: Looking Widely, Looking Closely,
 18-20 October 2012 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Mother and child: a group of ceramic figurines from Iran and Syria’ Discoveries: New Research on the Collections of the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum 
Mellon Symposium, 13-14 April 2012, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Iznik: Ceramics for the Ottoman Court’, Arts of Asia 1500-1900,
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 17 October 2011
  • Ceramic sculpture from the Medieval Islamic World’, Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah Cultural season 16,
Kuwait 16 May 2011 and Museum of Islamic Art, Doha , Qatar 18 May 2011
  • A Ceramic Menagerie: Animal Sculptures from Iran and Syria, c. 1150-1250’, Visual Culture of the Medieval Middle East: Islamic Art History Now? Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, University of Glasgow, 16 April 2010
  • Attitudes to sculpture in the early Islamic period’, Postgraduate Research Conference, Department of Art & Archaeology, 
School of Oriental and African Studies, 3 June 2009
  • The enigmatic figure: Islamic ceramic sculpture’,
 Oriental Ceramic Society 2008-9 Lecture Programme, Burlington House, London: 13 January 2009.
  • A symbolic khassakiya: representations of the palace guard in murals, stucco and ceramic sculpture’ ’Annales du 15e Congres de l'Association Internationale pour l’Histoire du Verre, New York-Corning 2001
Arab Art, Architecture and Material Culture: New Perspectives, Centre for Advanced Study of the Arab World, University of Edinburgh, 31 August 2007

Exhibitions and Collections

  • 2009-2011 Royal Academy of Arts, London, Curator and contributing author to the exhibition and catalogue of Syria: an exhibition of Syrian art, 3000 BC to AD 1800, 
planned for September 2013 and postponed due to the war
  • 2007-2013 Sarikhani Collection, Curator of installation of new museum opened in September 2011


  • Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society
  • Council member of the Oriental Ceramic Society
  • Council member of the British Institute of Persian Studies

Languages Spoken

  • Italian
  • French

Other members of the Home faculty

You can still apply for 2015 entry!

You can apply directly to New College of the Humanities now, in addition to your five UCAS choices, to start your degree this September. Your first step is to complete and submit our application form online.

Our Admissions Advisers are happy to talk to you informally before you apply. This is not part of the selection process, so feel free to call +44 (0) 207 637 4550 for a chat or email info@NCHum.org with any questions.