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Beds Talks: Women, Violence and Art

University of Bedfordshire

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 from 12:15 to 14:15 (GMT)

Beds Talks: Women, Violence and Art

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This is a panel of acclaimed artists and scholars who come together to talk about how women artists respond to violence through their art. The event is followed by free lunch and wine, and it is open to everybody.

The guest speakers, women artists, resident in the UK, and natives of Iraq, Syria and Turkey, will draw on their own creative work to demonstrate how they confronted and responded to discrimination and violence using art as a means of empowerment and activism. The focus on women artists for this event is an acknowledgment of the crucial role of women in shaping public debates about violence and war and also in bridging the gap between cultures.

The event is convened by Professor Noha Mellor and Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska, University of Bedfordshire.

12:15  - Welcome talk 
12.30 - Presentation by our panel of speakers

-       Prof.Noha Mellor, University of Bedfordshire

-       Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska, University of Bedfordshire

-       Sara Shamma (visual artist, Syria)

-       Itab Azzam (film producer, Syria)

-       Hala Hindawi (TV presenter)

-       Estabrak al-Ansari

-     Dr Eylem Atakav, East Anglia University

 13:45 - Q&A
 14:15  - Lunch

Speakers’ biographies


Estabrak al-Ansari is an award winning, multi-disciplinary Visual Artist & Film Maker. Her works have been showcased on an international basis in such places as New York, Dubai and Berlin, along the way exhibiting in places such as the Royal Academy of Arts, & TATE Britain, London, UK. She is also the co-creator of a unique style of storytelling called LPP (Live.Projection.Painting); a process where she paints a film to life, live. For more information, visit her website:

Dr Eylem Atakav is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies and Associate Dean for Internationalisation at the University of East Anglia where she teaches courses on women, Islam and media; and Middle Eastern media.  She is the author of Women and Turkish Cinema: Gender Politics, Cultural Identity and Representation (2012) and editor of Directory of World Cinema: Turkey (Intellect, 2013). She is the director of Growing Up Married – an internationally acclaimed documentary about forced marriage and child brides in Turkey. She recently completed an AHRC-funded project entitled British Muslim Values.

Itab Azzam is a London-based filmmaker. She was a producer on the award-winning BBC series EXODUS: OUR JOURNEY TO EUROPE  (BAFTA and an Emmy amongst other) and the award winning QUEENS OF SYRIA. Recently she produced and directed WE ARE NOT PRINCESSES  a film documenting the journey of six Syrian women rehearsing and performing Sophocles’ Antigone Prior to her relocation to London in 2011, she worked as an associate producer on projects including the BBC's SYRIAN SCHOOL, the historical series EAST TO WEST, and the independent film THE LIGHT IN HER EYES.  She is the director of Sabbara London, a social enterprise empowering Syrian women through economic employment and psychological and co-authored the critically acclaimed Syria: Recipes from Home, a cookbook which recounted stories and recipes from Syrian Women. 

Hala Hindawi is a TV presenter/journalist at the BBC Arabic Service. She previously worked with Syrian refugees at the Zaatri Refugee Camp in Jordan and contributed to “AFTER SPRING”, which is a feature documentary focusing on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Prof Noha Mellor is Professor of Media at the University of Bedfordshire and Adjunct Professor Middle Eastern Studies at Stockholm University; she is the author of several books about Arab media, political Islam and media including, Voice of the Muslim Brotherhood (2017), Reporting the MENA region (2015), Arab Media (2011) and Modern Arab Journalism (2007).

Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska is an award winning filmmaker and a theorist. She obtained a PhD in Psychoanalysis and Film from Birkbeck, University of London, under Stephen Frosh and Laura Mulvey. She is a Reader in Film Practice and Theory at the University of Bedfordshire and the author of monograph Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film (2014, Routledge) and Black and White: cinema, politics and the arts in Zimbabwe (2017, Routledge). Her new monograph The Nasty Woman and the Neo-Femme Fatale in contemporary cinema has just been published and her new edited collection (with Ben Tyrer) Psychoanalysis and Femininity is due to come out in June this year, also by Routledge.

Sara Shamma is a Syrian renowned painter whose works can be found in both public and private collections around the globe. She moved to London in 2016 under the auspices of an Exceptional Talent Visa where she currently lives and works. Shamma’s practice focuses on death and humanity expressed mainly through self-portraits and children painted in a life-like visceral way. Visit:

Do you have questions about Beds Talks: Women, Violence and Art? Contact University of Bedfordshire

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When & Where

PG and CPD Centre, Ground Floor Lounge
LU1 3JU Bedfordshire
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 from 12:15 to 14:15 (GMT)

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