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IRIS recently received an award from the Ontario Arts Council’s Creative Engagement Fund to continue their work on the use of art for social change. The project is a collaboration with Roshanak Jaberi, a talented Iranian-Canadian performer, choreographer, producer and activist.

No Woman’s Land, a multi-disciplinary performance piece and call-to-action, will explore the real stories of women and their experiences of sexual violence in refugee camps. The piece will use dance, video and verbatim.

As a choreographer, Jaberi is committed to creating work that confronts conventions and stimulates dialogue about important cultural, social and political issues around the world. This is what compels her to use her art thoughtfully and with purpose. She is most inspired by personal stories of women that she identifies with or is moved by, social issues that she feels compelled to respond or speak to, and music that emotionally moves her to create a work that visually reflects her experience.

Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, a scholar/activist who teaches at the Women and Gender Studies Institute and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, is a collaborator and a research advisor on this project. In recent years, Dr. Mojab has attempted to diversify the dissemination of her research results, and has used the art forms of dance, drama, storytelling, film, and visual arts to capture the experience, desires, and dreams of women who have experienced trauma.

Photo credit: Levent Erutku Photography

Funding for this work was provided by It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment.