Helin Anahit: From Silence to Speech
From Silence to Speech: tracing diasporic journeys through cultural memory and art practice
Within an interdisciplinary creative practice comprising artworks of installation, video and sound, this practice-led project’s purpose is to explore how a diaspora can represent itself through visual arts. In the context of an integrated theory/practice model of research, I examine the ambiguities of diasporic condition by delving into the space of individual and collective agency through memory and cultural belonging. In the thesis, I expand on the Armenian experience as my model of investigation with a comparative methodology including the analysis of oral history narratives that I have been recording as video testimonies during original field research in Turkey, Armenia and the United States. Drawing on relations between the socio-political and the aesthetic, central to my research is an engagement with creative writing and critical theory, incorporating feminist phenomenology, film theory, postcolonial theory, trauma and affect theory, oral history, psychoanalysis and philosophy. My focus is on the recontextualisation of transgenerational affects of post-genocidal trauma, cultural displacement and renewal on contemporary discourses while highlighting women’s role across generations in the transference of cultural memory. My PhD Research is funded by an AHRC post-graduate award and I am the recipient of a Lord Sheppard scholarship. I also draw on research that has been awarded travel grants from the British Council, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Professor Gabriella Parker bursary.