Ehsan K. Hazaveh

PhD Student in Media Studies

Humanitarian storytelling through photographs with and for resettled refugees in wellington

Supervisors: A/Prof Jo Smith, Dr Michael Daubs & Dr Caroline Bennett (School of Social and Cultural Studies)


This is a PhD study that, as well as theoretically examining media representations of refugees, uses collaborative visual methods to produce a photographic exhibition as one of the outputs. The study explores photographic representational techniques that not only empower and give voice to refugees living in New Zealand but also support humanitarian actions by challenging dominant stereotypes about refugees. This project focuses on developing ways of engaging and representing refugees through an iterative approach to produce joint collaborative counter narratives, specifically through photography. Rather than focusing on the representation of the physical and psychological predicaments generally experienced during forced migration, this study underscores refugees’ lived experiences, activities, emotions and hopes in their new homes and workplaces in the host country. The aims of this study are to develop insights surrounding issues associated with the photographic representation of refugees and to explore possible counter-narratives that might lead to the formulation of a practice framework for representing refugees using photography.


An independent Iranian photographer, Ehsan Hazaveh completed his Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Tehran, Iran in 2015. After moving to New Zealand in 2018, Ehsan continued to pursue his interest in representing marginal communities, such as former refugees.