Project Team

ATHMAN HUSSEIN Local Consultant

Athman Hussein received an MA in Heritage, Education and Interpretation from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He currently holds the position of Keeper of Coastal Heritage for the National Museums of Kenya. He previously served as Assistant Director of the National Museums of Kenya, in charge of Antiquities, Sites, and Monuments and the Senior Curator in charge of the Lamu Museum and Lamu World Heritage site. He is known for his scholarship on Swahili woodcarving, deriving from many years of working with collections of Swahili art and architecture, but also his own skills and experience as a professional wood carver.

RUBAYAT JESMIN Program Coordinator

Rubayat Jesmin is a doctoral candidate at Binghamton University. She obtained dual masters – one in Economics and another in Public Administration (major in Finance) – from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. During her two decades of experience, Rubayat has worked with a range of governmental, non-governmental, international, and private sector entities in a number of innovative projects/programs. She continues to work on the economic empowerment of vulnerable populations – with a special focus on women and children. Rubayat has sustained a long-standing passion for archaeology and history.

portrait of Prita Meier

PRITA MEIER Consulting Faculty Member and Co-Principal Investigator (2022-23)

Prita Meier is associate professor of art history at New York University. She is the author of Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (Indiana University Press, March 2016), in addition to the co-curator of the NEH-funded exhibition, World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts across the Indian Ocean, which was staged at the Krannert Art Museum in 2018, and then travelled to the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian and the Fowler Museum at UCLA. She also co-edited the exhibition catalog for the exhibition. Professor Meier’s roster of grants and fellowships includes those from the Center for Advanced Study of the Visual Arts, the Clark Art Institute, the Cornell Society for the Humanities, Johns Hopkins University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit her NYU faculty page.

TRINIDAD RICO Local Consultant

Trinidad Rico is Associate Professor and Director of Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies in the Department of Art History, Rutgers University. She is the author of Constructing Destruction: Heritage Narratives in the Tsunami City (2016), and editor of The Making of Islamic Heritage: Muslim Pasts and Heritage Presents (2017) and Cultural Heritage in the Arabian Peninsula: Debates, Discourses and Practices (2014). She is the recipient of an ACLS Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, held at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. She has worked in Indonesia as well as Qatar, and has been awarded several research grants from the Qatar National Research Fund. For more information, visit her website.

PAMELA SMART Co-Principal Investigator (2022-23)

Pamela Smart is Associate Professor of Art History and Associate Dean, Harpur College, Binghamton University. She is the author of Sacred Modern: Faith, Activism, and Aesthetics in the Menil Collection (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011).


Imran Bin Tajudeen is currently Visiting Senior Fellow in the Department of Malay Studies and the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore. He is the recipient of prestigious international fellowships from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT, the International Institute for Asian Studies at Leiden University, and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. He has been recognized for his work on urban and vernacular heritage in Singapore, with the Most Promising New Civil Society Advocate Award in 2015.

NANCY UM Principal Investigator (2021-22) and Contributing Instructor (2022-23)

Nancy Um is Associate Director for Research and Knowledge Creation at the Getty Research Institute. Previously, she was Professor of Art History and Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Inclusion in Harpur College, Binghamton University. She is the author of The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009) and Shipped but Not Sold: Material Culture and the Social Protocols of Trade during Yemen Age of Coffee (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2017). Her fieldwork was based originally in Yemen and has expanded to consider aspects of cultural production that stretch across a wide transnational scope from the Netherlands to Japan. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Fulbright program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Getty Foundation, and the American Institute for Yemeni Studies. For more information, visit her website.

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