Ms Dana Hajaj

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My research investigates the lived experiences of British Arab female performers in the UK, using screenwriting as its main vehicle but employing an interdisciplinary approach involving auto-ethnography and critical analysis.

I have a first-class Honours degree in Humanities with Creative Writing, and an MA in Screenwriting from the UAL, London. In addition to these academic qualifications, I have relevant professional experience as an actor – having trained at Identity School of Acting, and also as a writer, script reader and filmmaker.

However, as an actor, I have found it difficult to identify with representations of Arab and Muslim women on British screens and it has been problematic to navigate a career with my political and cultural responsibilities. My castings conformed overwhelmingly to the Arab stereotyped roles: veiled oppresed women, in connection with terrorism and victims of war, and always homongensied with Islam.

Therefore, through this research, I hope to raise awareness of, and expand the understanding of, Arab representation in UK film and TV, in an effort to help change the opportunities available to female Arab performers.

Research interests include British Arab performers, hybridity, cultural identity, postmodernism, Arab screen representation and stereotypes in British Film and TV, diversity and employment opportunities within the UK film and television industry.

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