Night School 2023: Make History

In Dubai, you witness history being made. It happens most emphatically across the landscape, in the construction of towers, ports, roadways and bridges. You could say that builders, architects, engineers, and planners are hired to write that history. And the work requires creative engagement with both the past and the future.

At Night School this year, we will encounter assembled skylines alongside other ways that history gets made: filed inside halls of institutions, resurfaced during a garage renovation, concealed in the ground below, or sprouting from the landscape around us. Gathered in a city that arises through its connections to the world, we will examine how the evidence of Dubai’s history streams through places nearby and far.


Join architect and writer Todd Reisz for the second Night School at Jameel Arts Centre. This year’s theme is Make History. Local and international scholars will join a seminar of Dubai residents over three weeks in January to explore how history gets written, and constructed, in Dubai and the greater region. 

The seminar will meet from January 8 until January 29, on Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. There are also some planned evening film screenings.

Professionals, students and everyone who is curious are welcome to register for the free course. No prior academic experience is necessary. The only requirements: a commitment to all 7 seminar sessions and proficiency in reading English texts.

This year’s invited guests, each of whom will lead one of the season’s seminars, are: Rosie Bsheer, David Hirsch, Hind Mezaina, Hasan Karrar, and Suha Hasan.

Applications are now closed.

You may join us for two public, open-to-all events on January 9 and January 14.

A public lecture by seminar guest Rosie Bsheer: Making History: Archives, Museums, Cities 
on January 9 at 7 p.m.

A film programme curated by seminar guest Hind Mezaina: Make History: Filed and Concealed
on January 14 at 7 p.m.


Todd Reisz is the author of Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai (Stanford University Press, 2020) explores architecture’s packaging to sell Dubai on a global stage. At Jameel Arts Centre, he curated the exhibition Off Centre/On Stage (2021), wrote the eponymous publication (Khatt Books, 2021) and led the first Night School (2022). He also co-edited with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi Building Sharjah (Birkhäuser, 2021), an archival investigation of that city’s vanishing 20th-century landscape.

Image courtesy of Todd Reisz.