Nawal is a Doctoral Candidate and Term Lecturer in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, as well as a Mass Communication Instructor at Columbia College.
Her SSHRC funded doctoral dissertation, Willing the Impossible: Reconciling the Holocaust and the Nakba Through Photograph-based Storytelling, explores how contending master narratives and collective memories of the Holocaust and the Nakba, which have created and continue to sustain the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, can be challenged, complicated, and disrupted when Palestinians and Israelis story and exchange their own counter-narratives and counter-memories of these tragedies through family photographs. To facilitate this process she developed a unique photograph-based storytelling method, which enabled Palestinians and Israelis to first narrate and then exchange stories of how the Holocaust and/or the Nakba have impacted their lives. As her dissertation demonstrates, storytelling and photography enable the occasions and conditions of possibility necessary for Palestinians and Israelis to connect rather than compare their histories of suffering and exile, take moral, ethical, and political responsibility for one another, and imagine a new form of cohabitation grounded in justice and equitable rights for all.
Nawal's publications include From Palestine to the Canadian Diaspora: The Multiple Social Biographies of the Musleh Family's Photographic Archive (MJCC 2015) and Negotiating Palestine Through the Familial Gaze: A Photographic (Post)memory Project (TOPIA 2012), as well as Comics and the Art of Witnessing: Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza, which is currently in submission. She holds a MA in modern Middle Eastern history and is a former member of the Board of Directors for Peace It Together, a Vancouver based organization that brought together Palestinian and Israeli youth from overseas to build and promote peace through joint dialogue, filmmaking, and community engagement.