Nadia von Maltzahn

Principal Investigator

Nadia von Maltzahn is LAWHA’s Principal Investigator. She joined the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) in 2013, first as a research associate (2013-2018) before being appointed deputy director (2018-2020, partly on parental leave). She holds a DPhil and an MSt in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from St Antony’s College, Oxford, and a BA Honours in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from King’s College, Cambridge. Nadia is the author of The Syria-Iran Axis: Cultural Diplomacy and International Relations in the Middle East (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013/2015), and edited volumes such as The Art Salon in the Arab Region: Politics of Taste Making (Beirut: Orient-Institut Beirut, 2018), co-edited with Monique Bellan. Her work has been published in a number of journals including Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Quaderni storici, Manazir, Middle East Topics & Arguments, and the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. She is a member of the Global (De) Centre.

Monique Bellan

Senior Researcher

Monique Bellan has joined the LAWHA Team in March 2021. She previously worked at the Arab German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities AGYA (2020-2021) and as research associate at the Orient-Institut Beirut (2013-2019), where she examined aesthetic reflection and art critique in twentieth-century Lebanon and Egypt. She holds a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin and an MA from the University of Bonn. Monique is the author of dismember remember: The Anatomical Theatre of Lina Saneh and Rabih Mroué (2013), and has co-edited The Art Salon in the Arab Region (see above) and the volume Surrealism in North Africa and Western Asia: Crossings and Encounters, together with Julia Drost (Beirut: Orient-Institut Beirut, 2021). Within LAWHA she focuses in particular on exhibition practices, art critique and the database and digital platform (DDP).

Flavia Malusardi

Doctoral Researcher

Flavia Elena Malusardi is a PhD candidate in History of Art as part of the LAWHA project, with an international position between Università Cà Foscari (Venice) and OIB Orient-Institut Beirut (Beirut). Her project investigates the role of gallerist Janine Rubeiz and her informal space Dar el Fan (1967-1976) within the Lebanese cultural panorama. She holds a Master’s degree in History of Art and Architecture of the Islamic Middle East from SOAS School of Oriental and African Studies (London) and a MFA in Visual Cultures and Curatorial Practice from Accademia di Brera (Milan). Her work focuses on the contemporary arts and visual culture of the Middle East and North Africa, with an interest in archival and collecting practices within post-colonial contexts. She lived in Cairo and Dubai, where she worked with international galleries and curators. She is the editor of Vista Sud a bi-monthly column featured in Osservatorio Futura and she contributes regularly to the visual arts section of Arabesque, first Italian magazine devoted to the study of culture of/from the Arab world.

Ashraf Osman

Doctoral Researcher

Ashraf Osman is a PhD candidate in History of Art as part of the LAWHA project, with an international position between Università Cà Foscari (Venice) and OIB Orient-Institut Beirut (Beirut). His project investigates the history of the Sursock Museum in the second half of the twentieth century. He holds a Master of Advanced Studies in Curating from the Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland) and a Master of Architecture from Syracuse University (New York). His diverse background and practice encompasses olfactory art, socially-engaged art, and the architectural and urbanistic memory of the Lebanese War. Ashraf has curated several scent art projects at international biennales and museums, and lectured on the cultural history of smell at universities in Europe. He is also a registered architect in the US, where he practiced architecture at award-winning firms, and taught design at Philadelphia University. He is on the scientific committee of experts for an upcoming exhibition at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris.

Diana Jeha

Research Assistant

Diana Jeha joined the LAWHA team as a research assistant from October 2023 to June 2024. Diana is a Lebanese visual artist and art historian, holding a PhD in History of Art from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik/Lebanon and a masters degree in Fine Arts from the Lebanese University. She is also a skilled pianist, having graduated from the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music. Diana’s artist journey has seen her featured in exhibitions both in Lebanon and internationally. Moreover, she has made substantial contributions to academia through publications and lectures. In addition to her appointment with the LAWHA project, Diana currently works as part time Lecturer at the Lebanese University (Faculty of Fine Arts & Architecture).

Çiğdem İvren


Çiğdem İvren joined the LAWHA team as research associate from 1 October 2022 to 30 June 2023. Çiğdem holds an MA in Islamic Art and Archaeology from the University of Bamberg, and is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Art History, Free University Berlin. Her dissertation investigates the art production and cultural infrastructure of the Civil War period in Lebanon. She has taught courses in Islamic art, modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art as well as representation and curatorial practices of art from the MENA region. Her workshop in collaboration with Dr. Charlotte Bank resulted in the exhibition “The Last Thing That Remains” (2021) curated with students at the Art-Lab, Berlin. She is the co-editor of Encompassing the Sacred in Islamic Art and Architecture (Beiträge zur Islamischen Kunst und Archäologie 6, 2020). Within LAWHA, she focused on the civil war period and the database and digital platform.


  • Arda Khashkhian, June, August – September 2024
  • Zoé Lunven, May – June 2024
  • Sari Shrayteh, June – July 2023
  • Clara Louise Aevermann, February – March 2023
  • Elisa Nobel-Dilaty, October – November 2022
  • Tamara Sawaya, January – April 2021


The LAWHA Group supports the project and complements the expertise of the research team. The group is composed of the following experts:

  • Kristine Khouri, independent researcher and board member of the Arab Image Foundation
  • Anne Klammt, former Head of Digital Humanities, Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte (German Forum for Art History)/Max Weber Foundation
  • Nadia Radwan, former Assistant Professor in World Art History, Universität Bern
  • Kirsten Scheid, Professor of Anthropology, American University of Beirut
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