Photo of the Birmingham Qur'an

In early September, the first Culture Forward Birmingham Qur'an working group meeting took place, marking a significant milestone in the collaborative effort to increase engagement with the rich heritage of the Birmingham Qur’an and Mingana Collection.

The following organisations were represented at the meeting: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Cadbury Research Library, The IKON Gallery, University of Birmingham Islamic Society, The King Edward Foundation, Museum of Islamic Arts and Heritage (MIAH), Soul City Arts, Winterbourne House and Gardens as well as University of Birmingham academics.

Partners began by viewing the Birmingham Qur'an and items from the Mingana Collection, housed in the Cadbury Research Library. The fascinating history of the manuscripts were brought to life by the curator, and Director of the MIAH Foundation, Neelam Hussain.

Members of the Culture Forward Birmingham Qur'an working group at the University of Birmingham Special Collections.

Lee Hale, Head of Winterbourne House & Garden, said ‘It was real treat to see the Qur’an and I’m looking forward to supporting Culture Forward in any way I can, it’s an exciting opportunity to support a great initiative and help create a positive legacy for the region.’

The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to formally introduce themselves and their organisations, and to look back on the two launch events of the workstream: Eid in Kings Heath and Nomad: A Tent for Reflection. The meeting concluded with a lively and enthusiastic brainstorming session of potential creative collaborations.

Sara Blair-Manning, Chief Executive of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, commented ‘It was such a wonderful experience being able to view and learn more about the collection and also to be part of such an enthusiastic group that are passionate about working together. The Gardens and I are so pleased to be able to support everyone and play our part, whatever that turns out to be.’

Overall, the first working group meeting of the Qur'an Project workstream was a remarkable success, showcasing the dedication and enthusiasm of all partners. The event marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration that promises to unlock new insights into the Birmingham Qur'an and Mingana Collect, and to strengthen bonds among partners.

Learn more: Culture forward website