Dr Umut Erel, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, will participate in a roundtable on artist Zehra Dogan's ‘Li Dû Man' installation, which was part of the OU’s Who We Are project with Tate Exchange, Counterpoints Arts, a leading national organisation in the field of arts, migration and cultural change, and PEN, a worldwide association of writers.
The roundtable will explore Zehra Dogan’s journey as an artist, activist and journalist. It will also offer insights into the current situation in Turkish prisons, where a number of writers, academics and writers – many of whom are Zehra’s friends and collaborators – still remain. It also provides a practical and participatory case study on ‘artists at risk’ with a first hand account and commentary from Zehra.
Dr Erel will draw on her extensive research into gender and democracy in Kurdish organizations and her findings that despite enduring violence and war, Kurdish women became politically active to defend human rights.
She said: “What my research has found is that this persistent engagement for human rights despite violence, has strengthened the understanding that both gender and ethnic rights are central to democracy. Zehra Dogan, a Kurdish activist who was imprisoned for her engagement, shows how important international solidarity can be in highlighting human rights abuses. I look forward to exploring this further with her in this roundtable.”