♦︎ Chair: Rifat Wahhab
Rifat Wahhab is the driving force and founding Chair of the Muslin Trust (2013-2022). She was born in Bangladesh and came to England in 1964. She has a degree in Librarianship, two postgraduate degrees in Women’s Studies and Management Studies and Masters in Management Practice. Rifat has spent her career in the voluntary sector, local government and is currently employed in the NHS. Rifat was the Chair of Abbey Community Centre for almost four years; she is also Company Secretary for the Consortium of Bengali Associations, a national charity set up to strengthen British Bangladeshi voluntary organisations. Her vision for the Trust is to work in partnership with Bangladeshi organisations to improve academic understanding of the history of muslin and jamdani and to promote the best of Bangladesh’s heritage textiles to the UK so that the British buying public can enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Bangladeshi textiles.
♦︎ Dr Sonia Ashmore
Dr Sonia Ashmore is author of Muslin, published by V&A Publications in 2012, the first publication to examine the global history of muslin and showcase the Victoria & Albert Museum’s substantial collections of the fabric. While a Research Fellow at the V&A she investigated the formation of the museum’s collections of South Asian textiles, contributing articles to the museum’s website and other publications. She also helped to catalogue a large part of the museum’s large South Asian textile collection which includes a superb collection of muslin objects. Her broad research interest is in material and cultural exchange between Europe and Asia and she has taught and published widely on design and the decorative arts, especially in relation to India and Japan with research awards from the Pasold, Daiwa and Paul Mellon Foundations and the University of the Arts London, receiving her PhD from the University of the Arts/Open University in 2000.
♦︎ Saif Osmani
Saif Osmani is a Visual Artist and Architectural Designer who has held group and solo art exhibitions in London, Birmingham and Margate and as far afield as Taipei (Taiwan). He attended University of the Arts (St. Martin’s/ Chelsea) and has 15 years’ experience in the art and architecture fields having worked for the likes of Canary Wharf Group, Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Wallpaper* magazine. His interest in ethical trade, sustainability and on-going research into the introduction of natural fibres in construction industry, inside interiors and within surface design is what has driven him to help start the Muslin Trust. He recently completed an MA in Architecture & Historic Urban Environments at UCL Bartlett.
♦︎ Dr Ruby Ghuznavi. International Advisor.
Ruby Ghuznavi has been responsible for the revival of natural dyes in Bangladesh over the last three decades, making it one of the foremost countries in this field. Ruby Ghuznavi is a Founder Member of the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh (NCCB), currently a member of its Executive Committee and was President from 2002-06. She was the Senior Vice President of the World Crafts Council–Asia Pacific Region (WCC-APR) from 2005-08 and is presently an Honorary Member of the World Crafts Council. She is a member of Naripokkho, a women’s activist organisation, and is a Founder Trustee of Transparency International Bangladesh which works with civil society to fight corruption. Her publications include ‘Rangeen: Natural Dyes of Bangladesh’ and ‘Naksha: Designs of Bangladesh’. She has written extensively on crafts and on women’s rights for national and international journals and has delivered seminars across the world. She is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh and also of the Ananya Award.
Co-founding members and Trustees of Muslin Trust:
Dr. Sonia Ashmore (Current Chair, 2013-present)
Dr. Lipi Begum (2013-2022)
Rifat Wahhab (Founding Chair, 2013-present)
Saif Osmani (2013-present)
Previous management committee members:
Sabina Khan (Treasurer, 2013-2019)
Bruce Sheppy (Secretary, 2013-2019)
Lainya Offside-Keivani (2018)
Mitia Saleh (2017-2018)
Dr. Muhammad Ahmedullah
Dr. Ruby Ghuznavi