BODY OF WORK

Zoya Sardashti leads Home Soil Projects, a global organization collaborating with arts and educational institutions to activate social justice through performance research. Their graduate level, experiential courses in artistic education provide participants with process-based, autoethnographic training, and practice-as-research methodologies.  

Through Zoya’s facilitation, cohorts collaborate on one or two performative interventions from Home Soil Projects Programming. During this process, they learn to correlate their own format of performative interventions with personalized guidance.  

Our approach to practice-as-research methodology is guided by collective practices that generate collective knowledge for creating inclusive language and movement. This methodology serves as the foundation for activating social justice in artistic education courses and project curation programming.

Participants who experience our methodology are equipped to use performativity as a strategy to deconstruct and subvert dominant forms of language and movement, which often normalize unjust behavior and exclusionary practices. The purpose is to activate social theory through performance practice and research methodologies, supporting participants in embodying and applying understandings in academic, professional, and everyday life contexts.

In a world where witnessing social inequities has become normalized, our work at Home Soil Projects transforms these injustices. We share performance-based activities, autoethnographic research methods, and practice-as-research methodology that examine tensions within one’s body, enabling the adaptation of one’s position in relation to other people’s needs and values in shifting cultural contexts. 

Our projects encourage participants to consider their body as one’s home. By asking what is seeded in their body, people access narratives that have been repressed by colonial and capitalistic forms of oppression. The practice-as-research methodology supports participants in documenting these narratives and, when shared, collaboratively helps groups gain new understandings of how to engage with social predicaments. 

Through collaboration, we create encounters where subjective reality shifts, so categories of identity that are binary and fixed or notions of citizenship and homeland do not reinforce boundaries that segregate people and lead to exclusionary practices. Cultivating spaces of inclusion helps people imagine shared realities that cannot be easily abused or manipulated by rigid ideology. 

The ability to navigate and respond to complex social predicaments with clarity, flexibility, and empathy sustains the interconnectedness that binds us to each other and our relationship to our ecological environment. 

Around the Table  ➞

To Be Seen and Unseen

This Story Doesn’t Begin with Me

Formulations of Assembly, Workshop-as-Event

How Do We Dress for the Weather?

Dancing Through the Diaspora

Move with US

Every Four Years  ➞

Force with Force Chorus Force

Learning Farsi on 테헤란로 Teheran ro ➞

Parricida

Around the Table  ➞

To Be Seen and Unseen

This Story Doesn’t Begin with Me

Formulations of Assembly, Workshop-as-Event

How Do We Dress for the Weather?

Dancing Through the Diaspora

Move with US

Every Four Years  ➞

Force with Force Chorus Force

Learning Farsi on 테헤란로 Teheran ro ➞

Parricida

Born in Denver, Colorado to an Iranian father and American mother, Zoya spent most of their childhood in the southern part of the United States. In school, raising a hand to declare the family name, Sardashti, evoked an invisible mark of displacement. However, participating in theatre offered community. In this space, a person’s ability to create movement and play with words held more significance than the origin of a name. 

Performing opened a life-long pathway of creating socially engaged projects that challenge, disrupt, and counteract systems normalizing racist, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, and other patriarchal practices. Being onstage or offstage, in nature or on the street, inside the university or not, Zoya’s politics, personal life, and practice-as-research are integrated, so being at home is the rootedness that emerges within relationships between people. In each project, interdependent modes of thinking and inclusive forms of communicating evolve between languages, histories, and identities.  

Zoya’s body of work encompasses more than 30 projects that fostered connections between people across perceived categories of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, citizenship status, and ability. Over the last 18 years, Zoya has partnered with academic, arts, and peacebuilding organizations, impacting over 500 collaborators in seven countries through their work as a performance practitioner-researcher, socially engaged artist, and cultural mediator.