Dr Joanna Bocheńska

Director of the project, currently working in the Department of Iranian Studies in the Institute of Oriental Studies of Jagiellonian University (Kraków), cofounder of the Section for Kurdish Studies created in the department in 2008. She is also translator from Kurdish and Russian languages and photographer.


Research interests: Kurdish literature and language, Yezidism, Islam, ethics, philosophy, moral imagination, Middle Eastern cinema.



In 1997 she took up studies at the Department of Russian Philology at the Jagiellonian University, getting her MA degree in 2002. She studied also the Photography Workshop led by Prof. Zbigniew Łagocki at the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts. In 2001 she won the grant of the Soros Foundation to study at the Russian Federation State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in the class of non-fiction film direction led by Prof. V. A. Man (2002-2003). In 2004 she took up her PhD studies at Jagiellonian University devoted to Kurdish identity and literary issues. Her PhD project received support from the Estreicher Foundation (2005) and the “Supervisor’s grant” (2007-2008) of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.



She was the organizer of many cultural events that took place in Kraków, such as: Polish-Kurdish Students Forum (with Anna Kędzierska and Krzysztof Lalik, Jagiellonian University, 2004), Shevbuherk – the Evenings with the Kurdish Culture (Kurdish Centre for Information and Documentation 2005/2006), The Days of Islam (Znak Foundation, Cracow Dialog Club, Kurdish Centre for Information and Documentation, 2007), The Kurds between Turkey, PKK and the European Union – a panel with the participation of Kurdish activists from Europe and Turkey (Znak Foundation, Kraków Public Library, Kurdish Initiative in Sweden, TEVKURD, 2008), or the Iranian Kurdistan seminar at the Jagiellonian University with the participation of Kurdish scholars (from the Universities of Exeter and of Göttingen) and Kurdish activists from Sweden. She has organised trips to Kurdistan for Polish journalists and students.



Individual Exibitions of JB photographs:



  • Notes from the Journey. Turkey-Kurdistan 2002, Kraków and Moscow
  • My 5 minutes in VGIK, 2003, Moscow
  • Wenesday Evening, Moscow 2003
  • Stories from Anatolia, Kraków 2003,
  • On the Path of Memory. Armenian Churches, Kraków 2004,
  • Between Dream and Reality, Kraków 2005,
  • Kurdistan Beautiful – or Not?, Kraków 2007,
  • Between Darkness and Light, Kraków 2009,
  • Doors to Paradise. Iraqi Kurdistan from Different Perspective, Kraków 2013



  • Selected publications


    Między ciemnością i światłem. O kurdyjskiej tożsamości i literaturze (Between Darkness and Light. About Kurdish Identity and Literature), published by Księgarnia Akademicka Publishing Hause, Kraków 2011.

  • Research program

    Ethic and Aesthetic Aspects of Kurdish Culture