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Aqeel Abdulla

Dr Aqeel Abdulla

Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries

  • Deputy Director of the King's Sanctuary Programme
  • FHE


I joined King's College London in 2021 as a lecturer in Culture, Media and creative Industries, with a specific focus on participatory community arts, activism and social change, and intangible cultural heritage. I have a PhD in Drama from the university of Exeter, and I taught there at the Drama Department in Exeter for 5 years before joining King's. I am a community theatre practitioner and worked in this field across the South West and London.

I am also the Deputy Director of the King's Sanctuary Programme which includes a range of projects, such as Sanctuary Scholarships, the University Sponsorship Model and the Sanctuary Hub. Working to ensure education remains a right for all, these innovative projects give individuals affected by conflict and displacement unrivalled opportunities to rebuild their lives and fulfil their potential. King’s also aims to enhance understanding of forced displacement among our students, staff and alumni and to develop opportunities for them to make a positive contribution through engagement activities, training and volunteering opportunities.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Performance studies
  • Participatory, community-engaged arts
  • Art and social-political change
  • Intangible cultural heritage
  • Diaspora, postcolonialism and postcolonial feminism


  • Culture and Activism
  • Community Arts and Facilitation
  • Creative Living and Learning
  • Issues in the Creative Industries
  • Analysing the Creative and Cultural Industries

Expertise and public engagement

  • Founder and director of Yalla Arts, community arts company
  • Trustee at Documental Theatre and Promenade Promotions
  • Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter

Selected publications

  • Forthcoming (2024) Performing Muslim Women: Islamic Feminisms and Contemporary British Theatre. Monograph to be published by Routledge.
  • Abdulla, A. (2022) A Different Approach to Making Theatre with/about Refugees: A Refuge from Being a Refugee, In N. De Martini Ugolotti and J. Caudwell (eds.) "Leisure and Forced Migration: Lives Lived in Asylum Systems". London: Routledge.
  • Abdulla, A. (2021) Craving Care in Refugee Camps. Dialogues in Human Geography. Volume 12, special issue.
  • Abdulla, A., Schaefer, K. et al (2021) Artist Development: Class, Diversity and Exclusion. In Studies in Theatre and Performance, Vol. 40. No. 3. Pages 334-345.
  • Abdulla A., (2018) British-Pakistani Female Playwrights: Feminist Perspectives on Sexuality, Marriage, and Domestic Violence. In Aslam, S. and Kanwal, A (Eds) “The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing.” Routledge: London.