Research-Based Learning / FieldSchools



In partnership with the United Arab Emirates university and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism Dhakira designed two field school activities in 2021 to support its research-based learning approach.


The al-Ain Oases Heritage Workshop aims to provide NYUAD students with an introduction to the theory and practice of cultural heritage management at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of al-Ain.

The workshop has a three-week structure, with one week each for (i) classroom preparation, (ii) practical component and (iii) research paper. Only week two will be delivered in al-Ain, providing hands-on experiences and skills development opportunities to students. The practical component will involve working with the HBL team and possibly also third-parties conducting research in the oases of al-Ain, such as the Cultures et Environnements Préhistoire, Antiquité, Moyen Âge (CEPAM) research lab of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France. Students will therefore be introduced to international best practices in the heritage industry and will be able to participate in research projects informing effective management of the World Heritage Site.

Al-Ain is a pilot collaboration between the Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies at the New York University Abu Dhabi and the Historic Buildings and Landscapes (HBL) subsection of the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi.


The proposed field school focuses on the maritime cultural heritage of Zanzibar as a case study in the global connections / global ocean research lines pioneered by Dhakira. The research will be carried out by a multidisciplinary team drawn from across the heritage sector, including archaeologists, historians and ethnographers, with a strong focus on digital humanities and critical heritage studies.

The research program will be comprised of several parallel projects that together constitute a holistic and contextualized approach to the maritime cultural heritage of Zanzibar within the Indian Ocean world, some of which explore historic links and shared experiences between East Africa and the Arabian Gulf with a particular focus on the Emirates.

Each field season will be followed by a roundtable aimed at sharing research in progress and encouraging debate among the research team, and further soliciting feedback from international academia and community stakeholders, the results of which will be published annually as an interim report as part of the Dhakira monograph series and online portal.

Associated Curriculum


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