Azza is doing a PhD by Theory and Practice at Sheffield Hallam University under the Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship.
The title of her PhD is The Void in Palestinian Visual Memory: Israeli Looting and Destruction of Palestinian Visual Images and attempts to address the Void which it Creates in Palestinian Visual Representation.
Azza’s work centers around Palestinian void in visual images, such as, photos and films, which is created due to the abduction and destruction of this material, by the State of Israel. Her focus on how consciously or not, Palestinians and non Palestinians attempt to fill up this void. It is important to note, that while this material becomes forbidden to Palestinians, Israeli image makers gain access to it. As a result, Israeli, filmmakers and researchers, contribute to filling up this void, through their own constructed narratives, of Palestinian past. Another contributor is world media, such as BBC, AP and CNN, who extensively, record the Palestinian Israeli conflicts, and hence, create a visual representation of Palestinians. But most interesting of all is Palestinian own attempts to address this void in self presentation. Azza argues, that Palestinians engage in a collection of acts to compensate for the loss of their visual archive; these acts include acts of: retrieval, preservation, recreation of what has been lost, and creating new archive.
Since Azza identified retrieval as an essential component that is used to challenge Israeli looting and destruction of Palestinian visual archive, she adopted the act of retrieval and preservation, as a research methodology which combines the practice and theory components in her research work.
What Did Azza bring to Creative Interruptions?
Azza initiated the idea to restore, through Creative Interruptions Palestinian – Strand some of the films which she had already retrieved or located. The act of restoration then became an interruptive act, which challenges Israeli act of destruction. These restored films, then became a major component of Creative Interruptions – Palestinian strand. The films, have so far been screened at various, universities and art venues around the world, such as Harvard University (Boston), ICA (London), Mammal (Palestine) and many others. In the mean time, Azza continues to expand her research as she is always retrieving and finding Palestinian photos and films, that are scattered around the world, and preserved in private homes of Palestinian refugees.
A feature length documentary and a thesis that will set the argument and create new understanding in how forced void of images triggers series of reactions by supposedly powerless communities.