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Dr. Reem El Mutwalli in conversation with Sigrid van Roode, ZI Cultural Advisor, Jewellery Historian & Archaeologist discussing Roses, musk and ambergris: fragrance, jewellery and dress.

The Zay Initiative aims to promote an understanding of the evolution of regional culture, building up public awareness and appreciation of this unique heritage, reaching out to like-minded individuals and institutions nationally, regionally and globally. In addition to seasonal or touring exhibitions and museum loans, the collection is accessed through the digital archive (Collection), first of its kind on a regional level, fortified by a pop-up glossary in both Arabic and English. The Zay Initiative aims to empower women regionally and globally by bringing their untold stories to life.

A jewellery historian and archaeologist, Sigrid van Roode studies jewellery as material expression of values, customs and traditions. She feels research and outreach are equally important and creates the latter in a variety of ways: through her own online resource www.bedouinsilver.com, by curating exhibitions, researching and documenting private and museum collections and giving talks and workshops. She has authored numerous articles and several books, of which Desert Silver is widely acclaimed as one of the most accessible introductions to jewellery from the Arab world for a wider audience.

Sigrid holds an MA in Egyptology and currently pursues her PhD at Leiden University, focusing on Egyptian zār jewellery as materiality of ritual and historic gendered objects.

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