Many Women, Many Words

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Many Women, Many Words was a practice-based research project, which took place in Iraqi Kurdistan. The aim was to collect women’s narratives of their lives under Saddam Hussain’s Al-Anfal campaign and to produce a piece of performance poetry that gave voice to those narratives and could be performed and transformed by younger women. The aim of this paper is to give a detailed summary of the processes undertaken. It will give an outline of the genesis of the project and a cultural and historical context to the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan. It will then outline the interview methods and explore the ethical issues and the practical issues of translation. Dissemination through the building of a website and the performing of the poem in different contexts that took place in Cape Town, South Africa and Soran in Kurdistan will be explored. The conclusion will examine the significance of using practice-based research and the reflective element involved in this way of working that is shaped by and reaches audiences through arts practice.