Roya Rastegar is an artist, scholar, and curator living between Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Trained in economics, studio art, and women’s studies at Wellesley College, Roya was compelled to explore how financial structures both enable and constrain our cultural landscape. After working as an investment banking analyst at Merrill Lynch and UBS Warburg, Roya decided to pursue her doctorate at the History of Consciousness program from the University of California, Santa Cruz, under the guidance of Angela Y. Davis and B. Ruby Rich. What began as scholarly inquiry into the historic emergence and contemporary practices of film festivals in the U.S., developed into a professional career as a film curator and artist.

After serving as the co-Director of the Santa Cruz Women of Color Film & Video Festival in 2005, Roya continued to participate in the programming process at a number of film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Outfest's Fusion Film Festival, and the Arab Film Festival. Curious about the differences between art and film curating practices, Roya accepted a Curatorial Fellowship at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and co-curated an exhibition “Time Out of Joint: Recall and Evocation in Recent Art,” held at The Kitchen in the Spring of 2009 in New York as part of the Whitney Independent Study Program. Roya has been invited to serve on the juries of the New Orleans International Film Festival, Outfest, and SANFIC: the Santiago Festival International de Cine, and she regularly speaks about curatorial practice and film festivals at universities and international conferences. 

Her articles on race, gender, aesthetics, film culture, new media, and curatorial practice have been published in national media outlets (The Nation, ColorLines, IndieWire, Feminist Wire, and The Huffington Post) as well as in peer-reviewed academic journals, including Screen Journal, Camera Obscura, GLQ Journal, and The Scholar and Feminist Online.

Roya collaborated with Wu Tsang as the screenwriter of Wildness (2012), a magical realist documentary that premiered at MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight Festival and has gained critical acclaim at festivals across the Americas.  She was recently awarded a Creative Capital grant in the Emerging Fields for her new media installation project, “Between Sight and Desire: Imagining the Muslim Woman currently in development with writer/director Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance, 2010).

Roya Rastegar is a Visiting Assistant Professor and Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art Department at Bryn Mawr College, where she teaches courses on independent film culture, race and ethnicity, and curatorial practice.