Forced Migration and Poetics of Iranian Queers in Exile


Forced Migration and Poetics of Iranian Queers in Exile

Date: Thursday, April 4, 2024

Time: 2 pm to 4 pm

Location: PCN 2012

Speaker: Nilofar Shidmehr, Visiting Scholar

This presentation focuses on depicting the imagery of exile within poetic personal narratives authored by Iranian queers residing in Turkey, the UK, and Canada. These narratives emerge from the research project “Negotiating Queer Identities Following Forced Migration (NQIfFM): A Comparative Study of Iranian Queer Refugees Living in Turkey, the UK, and Canada” ( which investigates the identity transition processes of LGBTQ+ diasporic Iranians seeking international protection in countries of transition, destination, or resettlement. I will share examples of these narratives, which were produced during my research-creation workshops, to illuminate workshop participants’ experiences of displacement, non-belonging, and suspension captured through figurative language, poetic imagery, and metaphors found within their poems. Through analysis, I aim to unveil subtle data that may not emerge solely through interviews and life history research. My presentation will demonstrate how research informed by creative writing has empowered queer Iranians subject to forced migration, allowing them to reclaim agency, redefine their identities within their current countries of residence, and confront the challenges of living in exile.