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Azadeh Fatehrad and the Iranian Women's Movement


Azadeh Fatehrad and the Iranian Women's Movement

Although Oxford's feminist community is ever growing, it remains dominated by Western and mostly white feminist stories. For this talk, we have invited artist and curator Dr. Azadeh Fatehrad to shed some light on the Iranian Women's Movement.

Up until the 1979 revolution, women in Iran exercised rights and freedoms that were not granted to women living in many Western countries. When Tehran University opened in 1936, Iran’s first university, admitted both men and women. By 1978, on the eve of Iran’s revolution, 22 women sat in parliament and 333 women served on elected local councils.

The 1979 revolution politicized Iranian women, but many of their political expectations were not realized and many of these rights were taken away. For the next three decades, the energy Iranian women displayed during the revolution fuelled one of the most dynamic women’s movements in the world.


Dr. Azadeh Fatehrad is an artist and curator based in London. Her research engages with postcolonial feminism. Her projects explore still and moving image archives investigating the ways in which the feminist movement has been expanding among urban middle class women in her home country of Iran. Fatehrad has made extensive use of archival material including those held at the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main; the International Institute of Social History (IISH), Amsterdam; and the Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies (IICHS), Tehran. This allowed her to develop new insights into feminist history and devise a related series of public programmes including exhibitions, conferences and workshops such as ‘Hengameh Golestan: Witness 1979’ at The SHOWROOM London (2015); ‘The Feminist Historiography’ at IASPIS, Stockholm (2016). Fatehrad has presented academic papers at a variety of conferences and symposiums, such as ‘The Neo-traditionalist: Representation of women in post-revolutionary Iran’, Moderna Museet, Stockholm; ‘The Captured Everyday Life: Akerman and the Politics of Representation’, at Westminster School of Media, London; ‘Challenging Gender, Embracing Intersectionality?’ at University of Stockholm; and ‘Communal Social and Inter-Political Stage of Curatorial Practice’ at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE. Fatehrad is currently curator of Beyond the Frame in partnership with Iniva, UAL, and the Liverpool Biennial. She has exhibited her work internationally in London, Vancouver, Amsterdam and Tehran.


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