Arabic calligraphy

Virtual event and Arabic calligraphy workshop on September 17

The Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, in collaboration with the King Fahd Middle East Center and the School of Art, is hosting a virtual event and Arabic calligraphy workshop on Friday, September 17. This event is open to the public, and the virtual conference is open to all majors.

Virtual Conference

10am-11am — Open to all majors

This lecture will provide an overview of the Islamic calligraphic tradition, the process of training calligraphers and the traditional materials used in this art. Participants will examine the fundamental aesthetic ideas of divine beauty that have guided Islamic calligraphy since the revelation of Islam, the major schools of calligraphy that have emerged, and how calligraphers were trained. Different tools, papers and pigments will be examined, and the conference will end with a look at the current state of the world of calligraphy and contemporary trends and movements in the field.

To attend the virtual conference, please Join By Zoom at 10 a.m., September 17.

Calligraphy workshop

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Open to students in graphic design, artistic education and Arabic studies

The workshop will be held virtually from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will be a short hands-on workshop with Josh Berer, master calligrapher. Students will have the opportunity to try out letters and begin to get a feel for how the bamboo pen moves across paper. Supplies kits will be provided for participants to pick up prior to the workshop, and space is limited. Registration is required for the workshop.

Registration for the workshop

School of Art students: Contact Alison Place at
Arabic Studies students: Contact Rania Mahmoud at

About the calligrapher: Josh Berer is a Washington, DC based calligrapher and craftsman. He is currently apprenticed to Mohamed Zakariya in the Ottoman calligraphic tradition. From Zakariya he received his ijazah [master calligrapher’s certification] in Thuluth and Naskh scripts in 2020, and is currently a student of Talik. He is also versed in the arts of papermaking, marbling, illuminating, bookbinding, and woodworking. He speaks correct Arabic, passable Persian and a little Turkish, Uzbek and Hebrew. Its clients include the Smithsonian, The New York Times, Harvard University, the Folio Society and many more. Berer’s work can be seen at