Iranian crafts and craftsmen

As I started to visit Iran, I started to meet Iranian craftsmen – often high up on rudimentary scaffolding. I also started to realise how little is understood about their impressive skills and knowledge. With many master craftmen (ustads) relatively old, and relatively few young men now wanting to undergo the lengthy, often dirty, and …

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Iran archive

I worked on Iran for over ten years - so I've got an extensive archive of work. I'd especially like to share my favourite building; my work on the Bakhtiari; on Shah Abbas and his 1200 km walk: with craftsmen; and on Sefer Muratowicz and the unique carpets he bought. My Iran-related publications, teaching, conferences ...

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Iran-related publications, teaching, conferences, and lectures

My Iran-related publications, teaching, conferences and lectures include: Tutor for ISEA Programme at Leighton House: Collecting and Display of Islamic Art. Lecturing on the 1910 Munich exhibition; the 1931 Burlington House exhibition; and Poland as a portal for ‘oriental’ trading in the seventeenth century. Oct-Dec 2014. Air pollution in Iran, British Medical Journal 2014; 348: …

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How to do hejab in Iran

Hejab always seems a big deal for women travelling to Iran. So I thought it might be useful to share what I myself wear. I’ve visited Iran multiple times during the last decade. And can still remember the challenges I faced the first time I went to Iran! So here’s some practical advice for any woman lucky enough to …

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Fighting hijab in Iran

As a foreign woman in Iran, the most common question I’m asked is: “What do you think about hijab?” I can often work out what answer I’m expected to give, simply by looking at whoever is asking. Some obviously pious women, usually without a single strand of hair showing, want to tell me how they have been liberated …

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Some Iranian women are actively choosing hijab

Although a lot of women (and men) despise the hijab in Iran, many like it, and are actively choosing hijab. Some of this is generational — the oldest women may be able to remember the forced unveiling of women by Reza Shah and how shocking that was: some women remained in their homes for months. Others …

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The 1979 demonstrations against Compulsory Hijab in Iran

Some well-known — and stirring — photos show large demonstrations in Iran against compulsory hijab, on 8 March 1979 and there are more photos here. But I just found a great colour video which make it clear the demonstrations continued for many more days: The Revolutionary spirit of the times is evident, with women declaring that …

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Hijab in Iran: the basics

The word hijab is often used, in the West, for the headscarf – but in Iran women over the age of 9 also need to cover their bum. The most common ways of doing this are with a manto or a chador. Manto are short or long coats: Many female Government employees wear long, loose …

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Women as thirsty babymakers in Iran

Two Bills currently going through the Iranian parliament restrict women’s rights to be anything but a baby-maker. The Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline includes a ban on education about contraception; the withdrawal of emergency contraceptives; the prohibition of all voluntary sterilisation and the punishment of health professionals who do such procedures. …

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