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Publicerad: 2022-08-24

Forskarporträtt: Negar Zojaji

PORTRÄTT From Alzahra University in Teheran to Umeå University. Negar Zojaji earned her PhD for Art Research by conducting research about the relation of public art to collective development of creativity. During her time at the Department of Culture and Media studies her focus has been on a project about street art and murals and mainly on visual representation and visual communication of femininity in that field.

Text: Jonas Vågström
Bild: Privat

Tell us briefly about your background. What did you do before you ended up with us at the Department of Cultural and Media Sciences? 

Prior to my employment at the Department of Culture and Media studies, I earned my PhD for Art Research in Alzahra University where I researched the relation of public art to collective development of creativity. I also worked as an art history lecturer for the Technical and Vocational University of Iran.  

What did you work on during your time at our department?

During my time at your department I worked on a project about street art and murals. I used empirical and theoretical data to conduct ethnographic research, mainly on visual representation and visual communication of femininity through street art and murals.

How did you become interested in your research area? 

I believe my interest in this research area goes hand in hand with my longstanding amusement by human social behavior and communication culture. I am amused by cities, visual aspects of built environments, and the way people relate to, and interact with them and I take pleasure in spending time flaneuring and observing people's interaction with their built environment. In the particular case of my latest project i.e street art and murals, I would track my interest as far back as my childhood when, growing up in a big city covered with abundance of murals and graffiti writings, I always felt curious about what all the images and colors I was surrounded with meant.

What are you currently working on, what projects are you involved in? 

I am currently developing a research project on urban photographic images.

What does a normal working day look like? 

A normal working day for me starts with reviewing my schedule and goals in order to prioritize my tasks. I usually set off by my favorite task, writing-if I have a text in process. As I work best in intervals, I tend to proceed with more than one project a day and therefore, a normal working day for me involves a part of each project I have initiated; writing data analysis results of an ongoing project, analyzing the data of a more recent one, and of course updating myself on the recent literature of my field. This helps me particularly when I need to distance myself from a project for a while to get a better perspective, so I can meanwhile further proceed with the other project. Finally, based on how I have proceeded with each task and considering the deadlines, I plan the next working day and note down the new ideas I may have come up with for later projects.

What is the most fun about your job? 

The most fun about my job is that it is always changing and growing s it never stops amusing you. Whether one is researching or teaching, one gets to question and discover themselves as well as the world they live in and its future over and over again. Another fun thing about my job is learning about all the interesting perspectives different people can have to a subject matter which is to me like having more than only two eyes to see things!

What is most challenging? 

The most challenging about my job is (remembering) to take a step back and distance oneself every now and then from what one is doing and to constantly (re)considering one's performance as much as possible from a third party point of view. I believe as an academic it is necessary, albeit challenging, that one can take a step out and view their own work as an outsider.

What do you want to do in the future?

My plan for the future is to communicate my learnings and research outcomes in teaching contributions and try to use my education and research outputs for developing new courses. Besides I plan to do take new intellectual advetures by doing more interdisciplinary work, or maybe paving a path off the beaten ones between the academic

Quick facts

Name: Negar Zojaji

Lives: Umeå

Works as: Postdokotor

Reading tips / Book tips: Divan-I Shams (take once daily before work!)