|Ms. Kayhan Irani is an Emmy award winning writer and a performer and theater trainer. She directs participatory arts projects with government agencies, community based organizations, international NGOs and the general public. She has led theater for change projects in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2010 she won a New York Emmy award for best writing for "We Are New York" a nine-episode broadcast TV drama used as an English language and civic engagement tool for immigrant New Yorkers.
Ms. Irani’s work has been supported by the BBC World Service Trust, the Environmental Protection Agency, Bronx Council for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Parks Service and the American Society for Muslim Advancement. Her work has been written about in such publications as The New York Times, Colorlines and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Her published work includes Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims” (Routledge 2008). She is a member of the Dramatists’ Guild.
Ms. Irani’s Fulbright project, “Paisley: Shifting Cultural Identity as Seen through Zoroastrian Embroidery Traditions,” will examine the impact of migration on culture by focusing on an area rarely studied for this purpose: embroidery, its evolving designs and their symbolic meanings, as well as the change in technology. Specifically, the traditional Parsi embroidery practices will inform her stage script, “Paisley,” and show how small changes in cultural practice, over time, tell the story of a community and a people in transition.