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Nadirah: Coal Woman

Negar Elodie Behzadi & Kate Jessop

In Kante, a small village perched at 2000 metres in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan, the work of the 19 female miners who go mining everyday in the illegal coal mines is considered as ‘ayb’ (shameful). Based on a collaborative feminist art-research project between the animation artist, Kate Jessop, and the geographer and ethnographer, Negar Elodie Behzadi, Nadirah: Coal Woman makes visible otherwise invisibilised stories of shame. The animated ethnographic portrait raises awareness of issues around gender, work and exclusion, women’s restricted access to natural resources, and their stigmatisation in a desolate extractive landscape.

Negar Elodie Behzadi is a French/Iranian lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Bristol, UK (DPhil University of Oxford/ MA King’s College London). In her research, Negar brings the insights of a feminist geographer, the sensibilities of an ethnographer and her passion for visual and art-based methodologies to explore questions of resource struggles, exclusion, migration and labour with marginalized communities in Central Asia. Negar is also co-directing an ethnographic video-documentary on resource extractive violence, Komor (Coal), and is the co-creator of the VEM (Visual, Embodied methodologies network launched at King’s College London). Nadirah: Coal woman draws on Negar’s ethnographic research in the village of Kante, Tajikistan.

Kate Jessop
is a multi award-winning animation filmmaker whose work spans across narrative shorts, artists’ film and comedy. She represented the UK in the Best of Women in Film&TV, was a Virgin Media Shorts Finalist & a Berlinale Talents 2019 participant both as director & with her comedy series Tales From Pussy Willow in the Project Lab, which has subsequently been picked up for production by Hipster Films. She has exhibited extensively internationally, undertaking artist residencies in Berlin, Istanbul and Reykjavik. She is a Senior Lecturer in Animation & has taught in China. Her paper on Animation as Activism has been presented at Goldsmiths College & Queering Animation the first ever conference on Queer Animation.

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