Dr Monireh Astani

Senior Lecturer

Digital, Tech, Innovation & Business

I am a senior lecturer at Staffordshire University, leading the animation department's 2D animation pathway. Prior to this position, I obtained a PhD in Media Studies (2022) focused on the research and practice of animation and visual design, a master's degree in Animation (2012) and a bachelor's degree in Visual Communication (Graphics) (2009).

In the past ten years, I have worked with several animation companies in different TV series, animated feature films, commercials, and educational programs. I have also worked with independent artists, multiple publications, and newspapers in various countries. I have a deep understanding of the animation and visual design pipeline (pre-production, production, post-production) and the technical aspects of these mediums, as well as industry experience in animation production, art direction, storyboarding, concept design, visual design, UX design and illustration.

The areas of interest in my research and practice are real-time and VR/AR animation, the application of art and technology for mental and physical well-being, immersive (and interactive) storytelling, experimental and abstract animation, and adaptation/reconstruction of cultural narratives into animated forms.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Society for Animation Studies (SAS)

Academic qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Media Studies, Maynooth University, Ireland
  • Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning (CTL1), Maynooth University
  • Master of Art (MA) in Animation, Tehran University of Art, Iran
  • Bachelor of Art (BA) in Visual Communication (Graphics), Alzahra University, Iran


  • 2D Animation
  • Art Direction
  • Visual Design
  • UX Design
  • Storyboarding
  • Concept Design
  • Character Design
  • Animation Theory
  • Iranian Animation
  • Abstract Animation
  • Experimental Animation
  • Adaptation

Research interests

  • Real-Time and VR/AR Animation
  • Application of Art and Technology for Mental and Physical Well-being
  • Immersive (and Interactive) Storytelling
  • Experimental and Abstract Animation
  • Adaptation
  • Cultural Narratives


  • ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Educators Forum 2020-21 Scholarship


  • 2D animation
  • Digital cut-out animation
  • 2D character rig and animation
  • Concept design
  • Storyboarding
  • Life drawing
  • Visual design
  • UX Design
  • Principle and practices of animation
  • Animation history
  • Animation and adaptation
  • Iranian animation
  • Abstract and experimental animation
  • VR animation
  • Adult-oriented animation


  • Astani, M., (2023), “Abstracting Shahnameh: An Analysis of Audiences’ Interpretations and Engagements”, Animation Studies Journal (Submitted).                                                            
  • Astani, M. 2022: “An Analysis of Iconic and Pure Abstractions in Animated Adaptations of Shahnameh”. Maynooth University: PhD Thesis
  •  Astani, M. 2022: “The Emergence of Zahhak: A practice-based, reflective analysis of reconstructing an ancient narrative into abstracted animated forms”,33st Society for Animation Studies (SAS) Annual Conference, Teesside University, UK, 26 June-3 July.
  •  Astani, M. 2020: “A Media Specific Analysis of Animation’s Abstraction in Adaptations of Shahnameh”, The Visioning the Future Online Seminar Series: Students Artistic Experiments, Ireland, 24 September.
  •  Astani, M. 2019: “Cultural Adaptation and Appropriation of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh”, The Association of Adaptation Studies (AAS) 14th Annual Con­ference, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, 19-20 September.
  •  Astani, M. 2019: “Animation and its creative language in cultural adaptation”, 31st Society for Animation Studies (SAS) Annual Conference, Lusófona University, Lisbon, Portugal, 17-21June.
  •  Astani, M. 2018: “Adaptation and Audiences: The Problematic Nature of Cross-Cultural Adaptations”, Irish Audience Studies Network Inaugural Sympo­sium, Maynooth University, Ireland, 5 December.
  •  Astani, M. 2016: “A Fantastic Adaptation: Investigating the Elements of Fan­tasy within the Context of ‘Shahnameh’ as a Popular Source of Adaptation in Iranian Animations.” ASIA ANIMATION FORUM 2016 Animation+ Collective of Imagination, pp. 177–194. Bucheon: Asia Animation Forum (AAF).
  •  Astani, M. 2016: “The Representation of Urban Humans, Spaces and Rela­tions of Contemporary Iran in the Animated TV Series ‘Traffic Culture”, 28th Society for Animation Studies (SAS) Annual Conference, Nanyang Techno­logical University (NTU), Singapore, 26-30 June.
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021