Emmy-award winning writer, a performer, and a Theater of the Oppressed trainer, Kayhan Irani will be presenting a workshop called There is a Portal: Micro Gestures Toward Possibility.
"We are each accompanied by a constellation of artifacts (image, sound, sensation) that are gifts from our ancestors, our teachers, our cultural guides and mentors. These artifacts are sources of power that signal to us despite being buried, disregarded, or erased in the process of assimilation and submission to systems of domination. Through There is a Portal's performance as pedagogy, we will use memory, story, movement, and imagination to connect to these sources of power, cultural resilience, and smarts and reclaim our innate healing potential through fracture. Please bring a journal or materials to doodle/write in and wear comfortable clothing." - Kayhan Irani
Kayhan is the daughter of an Irani father, whose parents migrated to Bombay from Yazd, and a Parsi mother, whose ancestors migrated to India pre-colonization. She was born in Bombay and raised in New York City where her love of storytelling was fed by rich and varied forms of cultural expression and nurtured her passion for social change through art. She is an Emmy-award winning writer, a performer, a cultural activist, and a Theater of the Oppressed trainer. She creates storytelling spaces to build community, offer healing, and to re-connect participants to their innate creativity and transformative power. She works internationally and in the U.S. with community organizations, social service providers, educational spaces, and government agencies to expand what’s possible when we deepen our relationships to culture, story, and community.
Kayhan was one of ten artists named by President Obama’s White House as a 2016 White House Champion of Change for her storytelling work. Her one-woman show, We've Come Undone toured nationally and internationally, telling stories of Arab, South Asian and Muslim-American women in the wake of 9/11. She has trained hundreds of groups in Theater of the Oppressed and participatory storytelling tools over the years, both nationally and overseas, in Afghanistan, India, and Iraq.
In 2012 Kayhan was a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Researcher in India working on her play, Tree of Seeds and studying Parsi embroidery and identity-making with the PARZOR Foundation. She is currently building There is a Portal, an immersive digital experience, pedagogy, and refugee leadership development model that asks how we can create networks of belonging even when we feel most broken.