Roya Arab

Iranian Musician and Archaeologist




roya 1 Events & Outreach



18 Dec panellist with Maria Buchard, Roody, SörenFaika ‘‘Independent artist’ chair: Shervin Dehghani, Patogh, Seem Festival.

Dec 12/13/28 East meets West Songwriting Workshop online, Perspective, Gate of Tehran Festival, Houseno4.

Feb Mar & Apr 2021 Organised (and moderated) three part series of on-line seminars on LGBTQ Iran, for SMEI SOAS.

Feb 2021 - Roqe Radio Ep83.

2021, Consultant for Perspective Festival, Gate of Tehran Festival, Houseno4.

Oct 2020 and Feb 2021, co-organised (and moderated) two seminars exploring Iranian African connections with CAS, SMEI SOAS.

5 Dec - interviewed Arshid Azarine and Ash Koosha, about having careers other than, and besides music. The Earth Breathes Festival. Houseno4.

Dec - guest on Why Pink Floyd: An Iranian Obsession - Part one’ (of a four part series), Roqe Radio.

6 Nov - interviewed by Peter Hasanlou about creating music in diaspora, The Earth Breathes, Gate of Tehran Festival. Houseno4.

12 May - ‘Live confine RFI’ along with Arshid Azarine, and Mahyar Tahmasbi.

2020- Assistant Art Director, The Earth Breathes on-line Festival, Gate of Tehran Festival. Houseno4.

May 2019, Chaired ‘Dar Doost…(Distant…) With Susan Taslimi & Mohammad Abdi, CIS, LMEI, SOAS.

30 April 2019, Co-Chair for Karestan Documentaries from Iran ‘lady of the Roses’ and ‘Mother of the Earth’, CIS, LMEI, SOAS.

3 June Celebrating Iranian cinema for the SOAS centenary, along with the brilliant staff at LMEI we organised ‘Youth, Cinema and War in Iran’, looking at film education in Iran and the impact of the Iran/Iraq war on Iranian cinema.

11 Mar chair and translation for
‘Razor’s edge: the Legacy of Iranian actresses’ by the superb Batman Maghsoudlou for (LMEI) SOAS

Jan 2017 presenting
’Performance and the Female Voice in Iranian Film’ at the RMA/BFE Annual Research Student’s conference Canterbury Christ Church University

6 Dec 2016 chair for ‘
Iranian cinema uncensored: contemporary film-makers since the Islamic Revolution’ by the excellent Shiva Rahbaran, for (LMEI) SOAS

5 Nov ‘Poets in Exile’ for Nour festival, co-organised with Jane Lewisohn and Jennifer Langer (Exiled Writers Ink), and chaired a morning of poetry with Fatemeh Shams, Ghareeb Iskander, Nazand Begikhani.

21 Oct 2016 An Afternoon of Screenings and Discussion: Music in the Films of Kiumars Pourahmad, City University.

Nov 1 2015- ‘Iranian Theatre Retrospective’ workshop exploring the development of theatre in Iran at the Chelsea Theatre, in World’s End, Nour Festival 2015.

Oct 31- ‘Site Unseen; Safeguarding MENA Heritage’, Have curated and will be chairing a panel discussion on the dangers facing MENA heritage and possible solutions with Prof R O’keefe, Dr E Cunliffe, Dr J Tubb, Dr Lamb, Dr S Hardy, and Rosie Garthwaite, at Kensington Main Library, Nour Festival 2015.

Sept 2015 -‘Inside Out Iran’ Art and Music event organised with Artscanteen

In conjunction with the Inside Out Iran Art Exhibition (4-27 Sept) showcasing some of the best Iranian Urban Art including BlackHand, CK1, ill, FRZ, ABCNT, PST, W.B & Blind OMET, Shaghayegh Cyrous and GhalamDAR, there is an evening of music from established and emerging Iranian musical artists. We begin with a musical message from Mohammad Moussavi in Iran, followed by a stringed odyssey with Adib Rostami and Pouya Mahmoodi. Roya Arab performs live with Nick Haward, after which we enter the electronica world with Dr Pouya Ehsaei, followed by Lafawndah performing before Little Miss Specta takes the decks and the audience on a sonic trip. 04 Sept. Rich Mix 8-12pm.

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March 2015 -
Iranian Urban Art Exhibition - Shaghayegh Cyrous and I curated an art exhibition showcasing the best Iranian Urban Artists, from around the world;
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March 7th 2015 - ARAB WOMEN ARTISTS NOW - AWAN, Artscanteen
14.15 Panel discussion on experiences and challenges of Arab women artists, curators and producers in the UK.
Chaired by Roya Arab (Archaeologist, musician and poet) with:
• Danah Abdulla (Kalimat Magazine)
• Hannah Khalil (Playwright)
• Yasmin El Derby (Film Curator and Jewellery Designer)
• Tania Diggory (Dancer & Event Producer)

I might add, whilst I am named Roya Arab, I am fully Iranian with a trickle of Iraqi blood going back 200 years,
but more importantly I believe these dichotomies we have created in the MENA regions need to end.

Oct/Nov 2014 - Curated a series of events for Nour Festival 2014 (with the lovely team at RBKC). As ever enjoyed creating educational and recreational events celebrating the cultures of the MENA region, favourites include:
- ‘Iranian Nights’, a moving night of music with the Parvaz ensemble, followed by Adib Rustami and Pouya Mahmood, ending with Ziba Tabrizi’s joyous dance.
- Women Behind the Camera’ great to hear the ladies talk of their experiences.
-’Across time and Space Exhibition’, at the Ismaili Centre, I curated
Kaftans from the 1970’s styled by Beverly Hills, my mother’s 1980’s kaftan, 1996/7 Hassan Hajjaj, KTZ 2013 collection.
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Kaftans for ‘Across Time and Space’, image r.arab.
The kaftan/jalabiye is a ubiquitous long dress worn by men and women across the Middle East and North Africa since ancient times. It was traditionally made of natural fibre such as wool, cotton and later silk; after the 1970s synthetic fibres were introduced. The kaftan influenced western fashion from the 1960’s, as seen on hipsters and fashionable ladies. During the 1970s most famously worn by Demis Roussas, a highly popular international male singer. Over the past decade, kaftans in a variety of shapes and materials are finding their way onto the high street as ladies day/evening and sun dresses. For the exhibition we had a small selection of kaftans from different periods and places, illustrating the fashionable applications of this ancient garment, including a vintage 1970s kaftan styled by Beverly Hills, a 1980s classical Middle Eastern decorative kaftan, a 1996/7 collection Hassan Hajjaj kaftan and a 2013 collection kaftan by KTZ fashion House

24 March 2014 - ‘On the road again’ with DIck Taylor, Henry Padovani, and Kathy Mendonca for a private live gig, Paris.

Feb and Mar 2014 - Music workshop for children at Rustam, Persian language school.


Nour Festival 2013 RBKC- Nour Festival, the wonderfully organised and run festival, by RBKC, in the heart of London town celebrates the cultures of Near East and North Africa. I am honoured to have curated a series of Iranian/Persian cultural events in partnership with Chelsea Theatre, Kensington and Chelsea College (KCC), Inside/Out Festival, Leighton House and Kensington libraries; supported by Iran Heritage Foundation.
10- 24 October - ‘Half of Heaven’ Art Exhibition at Kensington and Chelsea College (KCC) presenting a selection of Iranian female artists from ‘Half of Heaven’ due to open Spring 2013 in Stockholm for art lovers in the UK.
11 October, 3-5pm - ‘Half of Heaven’ panel discussion: KCC Artist, curators and academics will discuss the exhibition, followed by an open Q&A.
12 Oct, 10-12 am -Calligraphy and Tazhib, with Sam Hematian at KCC
19 Oct- 2.30-4.30 -Iranian Classical music workshops with teachers, from Light of Music, taking students through he rudiments of the santour, tar, daf and Kamanche at Chelsea Theatre
26 Oct, 11am-1pm -Geometry in Persian art, Master-class with Amber Khokhar at KCC
26 Oct, 3-5pm - History, stories and song writing workshop, with Roya Arab at Chelsea Theatre.
26 Oct, 11-1pm - ‘Iran and overview of Classical and popular musical developments’ a panel discussion with scholars at the Mosaic rooms.
28 Oct 2-4pm - Persia’s Ancient Tales with Xanthe Gresham at Kensington library
29 Oct, 2-4pm -Persian Dance for children with Ziba Tabrizi at Kensington library
2 Nov, 2-4 pm -Persian Dance for adults with Ziba tabrizi at Kensington library
31 Oct 2-4 pm -Persian fine Art for children, with Amber Khokhar at Kensington library
29 Nov, 6.30-10pm - Iranian nights, A night of celebrating Iranian culture at Leighton house museum with music, dance, art, fine food, and a Persian bazaar.


Friday 28 June 2013 -
Roya Arab (composition, piano & vocals) and Nick Haward (double bass) will be performing live at
Foyles Cafe 113-9 Charing Cross Road, 6-7pm.

Wednesday 28 Nov 2012 -
IoA Rocks’, an evening of music and fun to celebrate the Institute of Archaeology’s 75th birthday at ‘Nambucca’

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Saturday 17 Nov 2012 - Organised Ladies panel at Leighton House‘ discussing ‘Arts in Iran: Social, Political and Historical Context’ and presented paper entitled ‘Overview of Iran’s ancient History and Cultural Heritage’, with fellow speakers Haleh Anvari, Shirin Shafaie, Mehrnaz Shahabi and Ladan Razeghi.

Saturday 20 October 2012 - Modern Conflict Archaeology University of Bristol MCA, paper entitled ‘Near East: Conflict and archaeology.

Saturday 24 March 2012- ‘Nowrouz No War’
4pm- Panel member on ‘Our Human Commonality: Joining the Dots’ 8pm onwards singing for peace Amnesty International, London ECA 3EA

2012 - IHF celebration of Iranian culture (Norouz) with Alliance Francaise in Cambridge for the Myriad Festival.

Saturday 10 March 2012. 2-3.30- Cookery class at Alliance Francaise in Cambridge
5-8pm- Family and friends indoor Picnic at Parkside Federation, for Iranian music, a drawing competition for children headed by Diba Mehrabi, an Iranian dance class and a brief talk on Norouz. Food quiz by Sarah Moore. Free entry, BOOKING ESSENTIAL.

Saturday 1 Dec 2011 - Organised a celebration of Yalda at the ‘Nour Festival’ with music, poetry and find food.

26 Nov 2011- A talk about the dangers facing Iranian heritage for Nour Festival - 26.Nov.2011 Iran’s endangered heritage