Marc Valeri

At any one time the Centre is engaged in a large number of different funded research projects.

Our research

At any one time the Centre is engaged in a large number of different funded research projects.

Qatar 3D boat-recording project

Dr John P. Cooper has brought together a team of scholars using 3D laser scanning technology to make a detailed and lasting record of 14 traditional boats in the National Museum of Qatar collection. The team, including Dr Andy Wetherelt (Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter) and Dr Chiara Zazzaro (Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale”), scanned the vessels in Doha in February-March 2013. Two-dimensional drawings and 3D digital models produced from the scans will form an enduring record of the vessels for conservation and study purposes, and form the basis for public outreach and museum display activities. The project will also test the efficacy of this relatively new technology in traditional boat recording.


State-Business Relations in the GCC

Principal Investigator: Dr Marc Valeri
International Co-Investigator: Prof Gerd Nonneman

The research project entitled “Re-negotiating the Social Contract in the Gulf Cooperation Council. State-Business Relations and Reforms in the Oil Rentier Gulf monarchies”concerns the economic and social transformations in the Arab monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) over the last decade. The project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council focuses especially on the evolution and position of the business communities in these countries, their relations with 'state' and regime, and their perceptions of and roles in the economic and political reforms attempted. By the same token, it investigates the impact of these reforms on state-business relations and the composition of the business communities.

The project’s methodological contribution lies both in its comparative approach and its emphasis on the social meanings and perceptions of actors. This approach, through first-hand interviews and collections of primary documents, gives a voice to the actors themselves and will contribute to a better understanding of the ways in which policy in the GCC states is formed, negotiated, transformed and implemented by multiple interests.

Project website


The Qatar Unified Imaging Project

The Qatar Unified Imaging Project will provide open access to the historical and cultural material of Qatar: to preserve the unique character of Qatar by providing easy access to digitized primary source materials in an agile centralized collection carefully managed and preserved for a persistent, authentic and continually-growing resource; to promote awareness and understanding of Qatari history, culture, and heritage; to provide an unprecedented opportunity for learning in Qatari schools and universities; to add to Qatar’s growing knowledge economy, create intellectual currency, and benefit Qataris and others interested in Qatar.

Project website.


The MARES Project

The MARES Project is a research group affiliated to the Centre for Gulf Studies that investigates the maritime past of the Islamic seas from a multidisciplinary perspective. Current research projects include cultural history of the Red Sea dhow; semantics of the Red Sea terminology; boat-building traditions in the southern Red Sea; the archaeology of the medieval port of Tinnis, Egypt; 3D-laser scanning technologies in recording traditional watercraft.

Project website.


Songs of the Sea Project: The Saudi Red Sea Coast          

The traditional songs of the sea are no longer being sung as part of the working day and therefore, even though efforts are made to remember them, the old wording is slowly being forgotten and new improvised versions are appearing. Professor Dionisius A. Agius and Mr Muhammad Alhazmi, doctoral student at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, have conducted a pilot study on the Red Sea Saudi coast in four coastal towns from 22 March to 2 April 2013 : a) to document the cultural history of the songs of the sea, the singers and their lives, on shore and at sea; b) to record and study the terminology, their origin and provenance; c) to understand the distribution and orientation of maritime songs on the Red Sea coast in order to provide new insights into their meaning and significance. Our concern as ethnographers and linguists is to raise awareness of a dying language and culture. The last practitioners are themselves dying out and it is important to capture the last true remnants of the songs of the sea before they become mere pastiches. Further fieldwork is planned in the next few years.


The Trucial Oman Scouts Project

The TOS Project seeks to preserve the accomplishments of the soldiers and policemen who served the UAE before independence and in the early years after independence: the veterans of the TOS and its offshoots. It seeks to do this by recording the oral testimonies of these veterans; creating a digital archival collection of photographs, films, recordings, and documents; creating a museum collection for display in the UAE; supporting reunions and related events; and publishing material on these forces (such as histories, documentaries, interviews, photographs, and official records).

Project webpage.