Press Releases 2016

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Annual Conference to be held in Lampeter


More than 200 delegates will attend the prestigious British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Conference (BRISMES), which takes place at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Lampeter campus from July 13th – 15th

BRISMES was established in 1973 to encourage and promote the study of the Middle East in the United Kingdom and this year, for the first time in the society’s history, the annual conference is being held in Wales.

The core theme of the conference is Networks: Connecting the Middle East through Time, Space and Cyberspace.

“I am delighted that this prestigious international conference is coming to the Lampeter campus of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David,” says Dr Gary R. Bunt, Reader in Islamic Studies at UWTSD and the convener of the Conference.

“It’s a very significant meeting point for academics engaged in the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary aspects associated with Middle Eastern Studies, and we can expect an excellent range of panels, reflecting diversity of scholarship linking into the core theme of ‘Networks: Connecting the Middle East through Time, Space and Cyberspace’. This title is indicative of many significant contemporary and historical themes associated with Middle Eastern Studies, at a time when these issues are also prevalent within international affairs and the global media. The University itself has developed links with diverse Muslim and Middle Eastern contexts over the years, and this is reflected in studies at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including our MA Islamic Studies.”

Along with discussing important aspects of international concern, the conference’s key note address, ‘The Dragon and the Crescent’, will be delivered by poet, author and lyricist Grahame Davies during which the connections between Wales and Islam across nine centuries will be explored. Grahame Davies is a prolific writer who has won numerous prizes, including the Wales Book of the Year Award. He is the author of 17 books in Welsh and English, including: The Chosen People, a study of the relationship of the Welsh and Jewish peoples; The Dragon and the Crescent, a study of Wales and Islam; a novel, Everything Must Change, about the French philosopher Simone Weil, and the popular work of psychogeography, Real Wrexham.

Visitors to the conference can expect a huge range of thought-provoking panel sessions, including discussions around Space, Time and Social Actors in the Arab Spring and its Aftermath; the Qur'an and Theological Interpretation; Conceptions of Gender and Empowerment; Migration, Asylum and Diaspora; Religious, Political and Trade Networks through Time; Perspectives on the Syrian Civil War: Economy, Agency and Intervention; Iraq: Transnational Spaces, Media and Modernity; Security, Activism and Mobilisation in Cyberspace; Syria In and Beyond the Civil War and Islamism and Radicalisation in the Contemporary Middle East. 

Eminent academics from across the globe will be taking part in the conference with staff and post-graduate students from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David among those presenting papers.

The conference will also include numerous social events and a publishers’ exhibition. The Roderic Bowen Library and Archives at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David – home to the university’s oldest printed books, manuscripts and archives - is also staging an exhibition of early printed items among which are significant works on Islam.  The University’s School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology is organising a display based on its finds in the region too. 

Frances Guy, President of BRISMES says: “This is the first time that BRISMES has convened its Annual Conference in Wales, and we are delighted to hold it in collaboration with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David at their Lampeter Campus. This year’s theme has encouraged a diverse mix of papers. With presentations exploring political mobilisation networks, religious networks, cultural networks, smuggling networks, trade networks, social networks online, and those connecting the Middle East through time and space, there is a fascinatingly diverse range of panels to attend.”

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Note to Editor

  1. BRISMES bring together teachers, researchers, students, diplomats, journalists and others who deal professionally with the Middle East. Membership is open to all the above, regardless of nationality - indeed regardless of where in the world you are based.  The Society organises public annual lectures, and the BRISMES Annual Conference, which draws attendance from all over the world and attracts the latest research on all aspects of Middle Eastern studies in Britain and beyond. Members enjoy a reduced rate here, too.
  2. At a national level the Society pursues a concerted strategy by impressing on national, governmental and university bodies the importance of safeguarding and expanding Middle Eastern studies. In the UK's Research Assessment Exercise, BRISMES fulfils a consultative role to the organising higher education funding bodies.
  3. Links between BRISMES and Middle East studies associations elsewhere in the world are constantly being expanded. BRISMES has traditionally played a prominent role in the European Association for Middle Eastern Studies (EURAMES).

Further Information

  1. For more information please contact Sara Jones, PR and Communications Officer, on 01267 225 108 / 07449 998 478 or via email at