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Title: Contemporary Iranian women artists : a practice based analysis of identity
Author: Memarzia, Mitra
ISNI:       0000 0004 2667 5516
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2006
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This research has been concerned with the overall notion of the crisis of identity in Iran. More specifically, this research involved 20 contemporary Iranian women artists; 10 living in Iran and 10 living in exile and examines the position of women and the ways the notion of identity is reflected in their artworks, and viewpoints. The researcher's position as a contemporary Iranian woman artist living and working in the UK has been integral to the enquiry. As a member of the group being explored this position has allowed personal experience to be used in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the issues involved. Due to the lack of material on issues relating to the subject, the researcher made numerous visits to Iran in order to interview the artists and collect relevant data. This allowed the research to be conducted from the two viewpoints of the "East" and the "West". Due to the central role of the researcher in this practice-based study, a process of reflection in the spirit of the reflective practitioner was adopted as part of the overall methodology. Through a multimethod approach this investigation has used various forms of enquiry in order to integrate different elements in the research, such as the analysis of documentary sources and visual interpretation of artefacts. This has provided the research with a wide range of material that has enhanced the study's aims and outcomes. This investigation has also explored the historical changes that have affected Iranians, in particular the artists and the researcher. The prominent recent changes have been identified as the Islamic Revolution (1979), the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), and Western influences. These changes amongst others have been analysed from the perspective of literary and cultural theory. Theories of identity were studied and examined in relation to the artists in order to clarify their particular positions. This research has identified the complexities of the issues surrounding Iranian women's identities. The two groups of artists have shown similarities and differences due to similar underlying issues of being Iranian women and differences due to their audiences and positioning inside and outside Iran. Both groups have shown concerns with the notion of displacement expressed in interviews and illustrated in their artefacts. This research is a timely exploration of Iranian women's identities; a group of women that are still under-examined. With the current climate of political suspicion between Muslim countries such as Iran and the West, in particular the USA, this research is a valuable insight into understanding Iranian women's issues, and more generally Iranian identity.
Supervisor: Fisher, Tom Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available