Tunisia Australia Project

Jusour Symposium​

The symposium was hosted by the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA), at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and jointly convened by Dr. Majdi Faleh (Nottingham Trent University), Dr. Nourchen Ben Fatma (Architect, Tunisia) and Dr. Katharine Bartsch (University of Adelaide).

This event took place on 13-14 September 2022

The Jusour symposium brought together scholars, architects and other built environment professionals, from Australia and Tunisia to reflect on the tangible and intangible heritage of Tunisia, including the Medinas of Tunis and Al-Qayrawân, as well as the art and architecture of Muslim communities in multicultural Australian cities today.

Panellists were invited to reflect on the intersections between art, architecture, migration and faith in multicultural communities. The two-day symposium was structured around three themes: (1) Architecture as Tangible Evidence of Multiculturalism; (2) Architecture of Islam in Multicultural Nations; and (3) Building
Faith in Multicultural Futures.


Architecture as Tangible Evidence of Multiculturalism

The Importance of Heritage in Architectural Education and Architectural Practice.

Fakher Kharrat

Professor of Architecture,
HU in Architecture,
DRA in Study and Restoration of Monuments, Architect

The Medina of Tunis and ASM’s Actions to Preserve the Heritage and Culture of the Medina

Faïka Béjaoui

Architect / Urban Designer
Heritage Expert

From 1982 to 2014, Faïka held various positions within the Association for the safeguarding of the Medina of Tunis (ASM). Faïka worked from 2014 to 2016 as a heritage expert at ALECSO (Arab League Organization for Culture, Education and Sciences). She is Laureate Aga Khan Award of Architecture 2010 for the project of rehabilitation and requalification of the city of the nineteenth-twentieth centuries and at teacher in The Architecture School in Tunisia.

Faïka is president of the Tunisian National Committee of the International Council of Monuments and ICOMOS Sites. She is Vice-President of the Committee of CIVVIH (International Committee of Cities and Historic Villages (ICOMOS) since 2018; member of the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts « Beit Al-Hikma »; member of the ASM Steering Committee; member of the Collectif Créatif association; Founding member of the association 19-20 (Recent heritage).

The Island of Djerba and ASSIDJE’s Actions to Preserve the Island’s Heritage and Culture

Khaoula El Cadi

Hotel Manager

Khaoula El Cadi is a hotel Manager on the island of Djerba with more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and a recent Executive Master in management and cultural policies.

Khaoula is the actual president of ASSIDJE (Association for the safeguarding of the island of Djerba).

She is working with her colleagues on greater support from citizens for the association’s objectives.

Multiculturalism in the Medina of Kairouan

Dr. Ons Najjar

Architect and Urban Designer

Dr. Ons Najjar is an architect and urban designer holding a PhD in Architecture, she is currently an Academic Researcher. Ons is an experienced academic lecturer on architecture design, history and heritage, with an international experience in the Middle East and Tunisia. She is also working as a Senior consultant on BIM Management and undertaking a Masters degree on Global BIM management at Ziggurat Global Institute of Technology. Ons is focused on the importance of digitzation in architecture, interested by creativity, innovation and Green Concepts.

Multifaith in Tunisia and Spolia

Dr. Wafa Ben Dhia

Assistant Professor

Assistant professor Dr. Wafa Ben Dhia has a doctoral degree in archaeology from the University of Tunis (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Tunis) and the University of Aix-Marseille.

Her PhD dissertation deals with the exploitation of the human deposits of the murex in the south eastern Tunisian (Mahères, Zarzis and Jerba).

Multiculturalism in Australia: Shaping the City

Dr. Katharine Bartsch

Associate Professor and Discipline Lead of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Dr. Katharine Bartsch is Discipline Lead of Architecture & Landscape Architecture in the School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, at the University of Adelaide. She is an experienced educator with expertise in the history, theory and culture of architecture. As a member of the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA), her research examines how human mobility shapes the built environment, specifically the architecture and landscapes of Muslim communities. Recently, this focus has broadened to a humanitarian interest in migration (rural>urban, diaspora, displacement, resettlement etc.) and the impact on the built environment – with increasing emphasis on governance – in the context of urbanisation. Her research has been supported by competitive funding from the Australian Research Council and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australian Government) since 2013.

Celebrating the Visual Culture of Islam in Australia

Dr. Sam Bowker

Associate Professor and Sub Dean Graduate Studies

Dr. Sam Bowker is an Associate Professor in Art History and Visual Culture for Charles Sturt University. He is also the Sub Dean Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Arts and Education.

Architecture of Islam in Multicultural Nations

Australia’s Muslim Pioneers: Early Mosques in Australia

Dr. Peter Scriver

Associate Professor in Architecture

Peter Scriver is an architectural and planning historian, and a founding director of the Centre for Asian and Middle-Eastern Architecture (CAMEA) at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He has published extensively on colonial and contemporary South Asia (After the Masters: Contemporary Indian Architecture, 1990; India: Modern Architectures in History, 2015), as well as the critical historiography and theory of colonial design knowledge, systems, and trans-colonial exchanges (Colonial Modernities, 2007; and The Scaffolding of Empire, 2007). His current focus is the Indian Ocean World and the networks and exchanges of knowledge, labour and materials between Asia, Africa and Australasia that connect their colonial and contemporary building cultures.

The Architecture of Malay Diaspora in the Southern Hemisphere

Dr. Md. Mizanur Rashid

Architect / Senior Lecturer in Architecture

Dr. Md. Mizanur Rashid is an architect-academic with particular interest on Historical Narrative, Digital Design and 4d capturing of cultural heritage using virtual and augmented reality tools. He is a Senior Lecturer of Architecture and the founding member and Deputy Director of AV (Architecture Vacancy) Research Lab at the School of Architecture and Built Environment at Deakin. He is also the founding executive committee member of ICOMOS National Committee of Bangladesh. Mizanur is a registered Architect in Bangladesh and holds a PhD degree in Architecture (History and Theory) from National University of Singapore. He has held various academic appointments and fellowships in Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia and other Universities in Australia before joining Deakin in 2018. Mizanur‘s research and teaching focuses exclusively on the pluralistic (both tangible and intangible) aspects of architecture and its narratives. He brings extensive knowledge of South Asian and Islamic architectural history with digital modelling and documentation expertise. He examines architecture at the crossroads of multiple historical narratives which have not been used to examine the architectural history of Diasporic community in Australia to date. In addition, he brings visualization capabilities provided by developments in digital heritage documentation to reveal historic buildings to a wider audience – showcasing how the building was conceived, constructed, and used –and in so doing, unravelling multiple historical layers and the connection to the broader geographical, social, and cultural domain. He has published extensively in the fields of Digital Heritage, Diasporic culture of dwelling and Architecture in Multicultural Australia. Currently he holds two nationally competitive research grant project. Mizanur has extensive international outwork that he leverages for his teaching and research. He has been an active member of Deakin Intercultural Dialogue through Design (IDIDE) and Sustainable Rural Built Environment (SRBE) team. Mizanur extends his community outreach by providing pro bono architectural consultancy service to the minority community groups in Australia. At this moment he is working as an Architectural Design Consultant for Wagga Wagga Islamic Community Centre.

The Ibadite Mosques in the Island of Djerba.

Dr. Ali Djerbi

Architecture Professor

Dr. Ali Djerbi is a DPLG architect, urban planner, semiotician, artist and photographer.

He is a teacher-researcher in public and private schools of architecture, town planning and design, a supervisor of doctoral research in architecture and urban planning, and a designer and advisor for the setting up of development, rehabilitation and construction operations, in old, recent and new urban fabric.

He is a freelance International Consultant in architecture and urban planning.

1981 – 1986: Director of the Technological Institute of Art, Architecture and Urban Planning of Tunis

1988: Visiting professor at the School of Architecture, Catholic University of Washington DC as part of the Fulbright Scholarships.

1989: Advisor to the Prime Minister for major architectural and town planning projects.

1989 – 1991: Professor responsible for the study trip and summer course on vernacular architecture in Tunisia with the American schools of Architecture of Catholic University and Maryland.

2002: Visiting Professor at the Reggio Calabria School of Architecture in Italy.

2005- 2015 – Lecturer at ENAU and director of the SEA research group (semiotics of architectural spaces).

Building Faith in Multicultural Futures

The Future of Architectural Heritage in Tunisia

Ms. Leila Ben-Gacem

Social Entrepreneur

Leila Ben-Gacem is a social entrepreneur, Ashoka Fellow; founder of Blue Fish, a consultancy that designs and implements projects that improving the socio-economic dynamics of heritage, culture and local community to improve their resilience. Leila also founded Dar el Harka, a hub for Medina’s cultural activities; Dar Ben Gacem, a Boutique Hotel and cultural catalyst in the medina of Tunis. Leila is also a founder and president of Mdinti, Medina’s first economic interest group, and member of the organization committee of UltraMirage El Djerid. Leila is an elected city council member at her native town of Beni-Khalled. Before switching careers, Leila held various positions at multinational corporations and has a BS in Biomedical Engineering.

Adaptive Reuse in the Medina:
Converting Madrasahs in the Medina of Tunis

Dr. Ghada CHERIF

Assistant Professor

Architect, National School of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Carthage.

Master-assistant, Higher Institute of Multimedia Arts, University of Manouba.

Member of the recherché laboratory “Languages and cultural forms”.

Editor member of an architectural magazine Archi-Mag

Dr. Yosra Boudabbous Medhioub

Architecture Lecturer

Architect ENAU, PhD in Architecture at the Doctoral School of Architectural Sciences and Engineering (EDSIA-ENAU).

Assistant at the National School of Architecture and Urbanism in Tunis (ENAU).

Temporary teacher at the University Tunis Carthage (UTC).
Member of Language and Automated Processing Laboratory (LLTA)-University of Sfax.

The Mosque in Multicultural Australia

Dr. Majdi Faleh

Academic Fellow in Cultural Heritage in the Nottingham Trent University Research Peak in Cultural Heritage.

Dr. Majdi Faleh is an Academic Fellow in Cultural Heritage in the Nottingham Trent University Research Peak in Cultural Heritage. Before joining NTU, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Bahrain and a Postdoctoral Fellow at THE Aga Khan Programme of Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He previously received several research grants sponsored by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Council for Arab Australian Relations (Department of Foreign Affairs), the US Department of State (The Fulbright Programme), and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Dr Faleh’s research focuses on architectural and cultural heritage in marginalised communities, the interaction between globalisation and architecture in Twenty-first Century Arab cities, migration, cultural heritage and architecture in Western countries, the philosophy of ethics and aesthetics in Islamic architecture, and social justice in Australian cities.

The project is funded by the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which seeks to enhance Australia’s economic, cultural and social relations with the Arab region with a view to greater mutual understanding and cooperation.