This practical workshop hosted at The Egypt Exploration Society in London will feature two main aspects. Samira Mian will be leading a practical session where you will be drawing two Islamic geometric patterns to take home with you. To begin with, Omniya Abdel Barr will be contextualising these geometric patterns seen within the architecture of Cairo.

This introductory talk will present a brief overview of Islamic Architecture in Cairo, with a focus on the Mamluk period (1250-1517). It will discuss some of the monuments which have become today venerated landmarks in the cityscape. It will explain the architectural and design development and show how it has played an essential role in creating Cairo's renowned urban image and artistic legacy.

Islamic Geometric Patterns have adorned palaces, madrassas and mosques and Illuminated Manuscripts from Spain across to China from the 8th Century till now. We will recreate a couple of these historical patterns from Cairo using a compass and straightedge, the same tools that would have been used by countless geometers and artisans for centuries across the Islamic Lands. By drawing an underlying grid of circles and lines we will outline & colour shapes to form beautiful patterns.

The ticket price includes all materials and equipment, and participants will take home their Islamic geometric pattern at the end of the day.  

Workshop Schedule

The schedule for this practical session will be as follows (UK time):

18:00-18:45 – Presentation: Introduction to Islamic Architecture in Cairo
18:45-19:00 – Refreshment Break
19:00-21:00 – Practical Session: Drawing Islamic Geometric Patterns 
20:00-20:15 – Refreshment Break


Dr Omniya Abdel Barr is an architect specialising in Islamic art and architecture. She has experience in urban conservation, monument restoration and cultural heritage documentation and digitisation. She is currently the Barakat Trust Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, leading the digitisation project on K.A.C. Creswell’s photographic collections. In Cairo, she is working with the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation on projects dedicated to rescue Historic Cairo’s architectural heritage and preserve traditional craftsmanship.

Breathing new life into the centuries-old technique of straight edge & compasses rigorous geometry to create beautifully simple and intricate patterns. Samira Mian uses her background in Mathematics and Education to share her knowledge and artistic passion. For the last 6 years, she has regularly taught in the UK and led many workshops abroad. Samira enjoys connecting with a diverse range of people via her social media. Being part of a global community enables her to teach online with her own courses and workshops as well as bespoke workshops tailored to schools, societies, museums, charities, corporate staff events and families. Find out more and follow her via her website.


Members of the Egypt Exploration Society can book at a discounted rate. If you’re not yet a member but would like to join in order to receive this discount, we are offering up to five months free for new members signing up with this course (your subscription would last until March 2023)! Please ensure that you have joined here, and purchase your EES subscription and workshop tickets on the same day for this promotion to be valid.

Tickets for this event are limited due to space restrictions. Please only book if you are certain that you will be able to attend. If this event does become sold out, please email [email protected] to be added to a waiting list, if there are any last-minute cancellations.

Book a place

Ticket Quantity Price

EES member

Decrease Increase £40.00


Decrease Increase £45.00