Anna Andreasyan
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In(Sight) House Talks: “In Our Mountains”

2 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia On February 15, the Akian Art Gallery at the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted the second In(Sight) House Talks series event featuring University alumna Anna Andreasyan’s (BAEC ’23) research project, “In Our Mountains.” The series is a part of a larger initiative, Oral History Matters, which aims to amplify the importance of oral history as a research methodology. In(Sight) House Talks spotlights ten oral history-based capstone projects from the In(Sight) House exhibition, which took place earlier in August 2023.

The talk presented Andreasyan’s research about her grandmother’s village of Hazarjrib, where she lived for 25 years before repatriating to Armenia from Iran. The project explored her grandmother’s memories of her village and delved deep into the relationships between gender, space, voice, and visibility there. During the event, Andreasyan recounted her journey of working with her grandmother on different aspects of her stories and how the research became a collaborative process for both of them. The speech was followed by the screening of her film and a Q&A session. 

Andreasyan described her project as a reconstruction of a lived experience that explored her grandmother’s relationship with a place and how, through storytelling, that relationship was passed down to her. 

Andreasyan’s research attempts to contribute to studies on Iranian-Armenian women whose lives have, as she puts it, been overlooked or, at best, been told from an outsider’s perspective. In sharing a woman’s story, she aims to give visibility and voice to those who have been silenced and deprived of their right to be visible. Her research is grounded in feminist methodology, as it tries to shed light on a woman’s story that would otherwise go undocumented and would not be reflected upon.

A segment of Andreasyan’s artist statement reads: “As my grandmother’s voice guides the film and tells the stories of her village, the project defies the patriarchal norms that she describes. The voice that was once supposed to be silent is now the one who gets to narrate. It becomes the channel through which we gain insight into her village life and her subjective experiences of that place.”

The talk opened up a space for discussion on how research can become a collaborative work, where the boundaries between the researcher and the “researched” become blurry and, at times, reversed. It also highlighted the importance of oral history as a qualitative research method and a methodology for anti-oppressive and feminist research.

Oral History Matters seeks to dismantle dominant research practices by bringing oral history to the forefront and challenging conventional narratives.

In(Sight) House was an exhibition that spotlighted the capstone projects of ten students from the English and Communications department, each of whom delved into oral history to explore and narrate stories that resonate deeply with the human experience. The Akian Gallery underwent a transformation during the In(Sight) House exhibition, becoming a symbolic house where each room was dedicated to showcasing the work of a different student. This creative approach allowed visitors to step into the world of each student’s research and experience the diverse stories firsthand.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.