Selena’s contribution to the ‘Eye on Heritage’ focuses on exploring relationships and crossover between the ancient and modern dynamics of storytelling and poetry in the region of Syria and Iraq.
Selena initially read Classics at the University of Oxford, before taking up graduate work in Assyriology. Her MPhil and DPhil (Oxford University) focused on Babylonian poetry. Selena’s PhD thesis interpreted literary allusions in three major Babylonian narrative poems: Anzû, Enūma Eliš, and Erra and Išum. Alongside research, Selena wrote a trilogy of plays set in ancient Assyria and subsequently held an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), working to build links between theatres and the university.
Selena’s research centres on the languages, literature, and culture of ancient Iraq, with a particular emphasis on poetry and divination. She is also developing a new system for analysing Akkadian metre, which is not yet well understood.
Omniya Abdel Barr is an architect based in Cairo and London, specialising in cultural heritage conservation and documentation. Omniya’s work focuses on Islamic architecture in Egypt. She holds a PhD on Mamluk History from Provence University, Aix-Marseille, France (2015), an MSc in Conservation from the Raymond Lemaire Center at KUL, Leuven, Belgium (2004) and a BSc in Architecture from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Egypt (2000).
Omniya is currently the Barakat Trust Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, leading the digitisation of K.A.C. Creswell’s archive in collaboration with the American University in Cairo, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and Harvard University. She is also the Project Manager of Rescuing the Mamluk Minbars of Cairo, a project funded by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with DCMS and implemented by the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation.