Contemporary art in the Arab World, Iran and Turkey - MasCAIT

1st level University Master Professional Program - academic year: 2021/22


Cristina Tonghini
Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Scientific Co-Director

Silvia Naef
University of Geneva



The last decade has seen an ever-increasing interest in the visual arts of the Arab world, Iran and Turkey (MENA). There has been an explosion of interest in contemporary art in the entire Middle Eastern region, demonstrated by new museums and galleries by annual, biennal, and international fairs and exhibitions, and auctions.

The Master’s Degree Professional Program represents a response to the growing demand for professionals who specialise in all aspects of the art of the Arab world, Iran and Turkey:  Ca’ Foscari offers the first dedicated course of study in the contemporary arts of the MENA region.

Venice, at the centre of the international artistic scene, and throughout history a bridge between East and West, is the ideal place to look towards new horizons and explore new paths.  Ca’ Foscari has all the requisites needed to act as the primary institutional setting for such a Master’s Degree Program, in line with its openness towards the entire world. The University of Geneva, principal partner in this ambitious programme, confirms its international dimensions. 

Expertise, both in-house and drawn from a consolidated international network of colleagues, allows Ca’ Foscari University of Venice to present a distinguished teaching staff, and to guarantee internships at the most prestigious institutions.

Programme overview

The MasCAIT Master Programme offers an educational programme which balances theory and practice, starting from a global perspective and focusing on modern and contemporary artistic production in the Arab world, Iran and Turkey. 

Lectures are divided into nine modules: Modern and Contemporary Art – The global perspective;   Materials and methods; Modern Art of the Arab World, Contemporary Art of the Arab World; Contemporary Art of the Arab World; Modern and Contemporary Art of Turkey; Modern and Contemporary Art of Iran; Curatorship theory and practice; Art criticism and writing; Arts Management.


The Master’s Degree Professional Program described here aims to give students specific expertise in contemporary artistic production in the MENA region.  The course of study is not limited to curatorship, but also to art criticism, publicity and publishing. 

Through an intensive course of study, students will acquire a range of skills that would assist their response to the requirements of various institutions needing specialised personnel, not just in the Middle East, but globally. At the same time, precisely because the course of study is not limited to curatorship, students will also be able to explore related areas of interest, starting with a choice of internships offered by the programme. They will thus acquire a particularly versatile profile, open to further careers as described below.

Professional profiles

The Master's Degree Professional Program will enable students to develop the skills needed to undertake careers in the curatorial sector (in museums, galleries, art fairs and auction houses), in the publishing sector (catalogues, other studies, and art journalism), and in publicity (educational programmes and communication to visitors) of the MENA region. 

The art scene in the Arab world, Iran and Turkey has known a tremendous development for almost two decades. New world-class museums have been opened, the art market has boomed, and the region’s elites have integrated the visit of exhibitions into their cultural practices. Works of the region’s artists are also shown in major international events.

Nonetheless, art history, despite ongoing discussions about global art, has only very partially included art from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region into its curricula. Why? How could it widen our vision of art?

Join the Masterclass on Wednesday, October 20th at 4.15 pm

Language: English

Available places: 25

Duration of the programme: one year

Period: January 2022 - December 2022

Teaching method: Classroom lectures, seminars, case studies, online activities

Location: Venice

Deadline for application submission: 23 November, 2021

Enrolment fees: € 8.500 (in two instalments)

Information: Ca’ Foscari Challenge School

Last update: 26/11/2021