School outreach

The vast region stretching from Iran and Afghanistan to Central Asia is often described as the cradle of terrorism, violence, and war. However, in medieval times, this region witnessed a mixing of cultures and religions that was both unique and extraordinarily influential upon neighbouring societies.

As part of its efforts to share the knowledge about the rich past of this fascinating and often overlooked region, the Invisible East Team offers school outreach sessions for secondary school pupils of all key stages completely free of charge.

In each 90 minute session, pupils will encounter and work closely with a primary source, puzzle through the ethics of working with primary sources, explore the day-to-day working of historians, and curate a museum exhibition. This is an exciting opportunity for students to learn about a region and its history that is not part of the core curriculum but relates directly and significantly to the realities of British society, where Islam and migrants from the region make up large segments of the population

The sessions are led by the Invisible East Education Advisor, Zaiba Patel.


Additional information

Each session lasts 90 minutes and consists of:

  • A brief warm-up and introduction activating prior knowledge of the region;
  • Work on a primary source from the region. During this part of the session, which lasts about 30 minutes, the students:
    • find out about working on a research team
    • are invited to decipher a source, discovering the process the Invisible East team went through in its daily research work, including challenges and overcoming them
    • build up knowledge about the region
    • are invited to write a panegyric in the style fo the source
  • Work in small groups to find out more about different regions. During this part of the session, which lasts about 30 minutes, the students:
    • create a museum display about their region with help from academics
    • present their display to the rest of the class
  • Conclusion: discuss the learning and answer questions.

We are looking forward to expanding the programme over the next academic year so please do get in touch!

If you are interested in discussing a free session for your school, please contact the Invisible East Team.

Download our brochure

About the cartoons: The Barmakids of Balkh (Afghanistan) were one of the most famous families in Islamic history. Watch this video to learn more!

About the cartoonist: Dr Emily Selove is Senior Lecturer of Medieval Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Exeter. The cartoons are inspired by her first book Popeye and Curly: 120 Days in Medieval Baghdad.