Thursday, January 19

The Edinburgh Iranian Festival: A Window on Iran

Be honest – when you think of Iran, what comes to mind first? We’d love it if you said “its incredible food”, or “I hear it has an amazing cinema scene”. But let’s face it: the first thing most of you will think about is negative news headlines about the country’s politics.

And that’s where we come in.

You might be surprised to hear that Edinburgh and Glasgow have thriving Iranian communities – it’s estimated that there are 5,000 Iranians living in Scotland.

And every two years, a small team of volunteers come together to put on a festival celebrating Iran’s world-class culture – with the aim of better integrating Iranian and Scottish communities. 

The Edinburgh Iranian Festival hopes to address misconceptions about Iran by introducing Scotland to the heart and soul of the country – from its film and music, through to its food and photography.

This year's festival line-up includes:

  • Music concert at the Assembly Hall with the renowned Iranian soprano Darya Dadvar, who will be accompanied by musicians from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The orchestral arrangements have been composed specifically for this event by Glasgow-based conductor, Amin Keshmiri. 
  • Persian cookery demonstration at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, with Chef Zohreh Shahrabi. Zohreh is part of the London-based Mazi Mas cooking collective. 
  • Iranian film season organised in collaboration with the Filmhouse Cinema Edinburgh Many of the films are Scottish, if not UK, premieres.
  • Talk and guided show and tell of the National Museum of Scotland’s Iranian collection. 
  • Photography exhibition on the theme of “A window on my Iran”, which will feature contemporary Iranian photographers, at the Filmhouse Cinema Cafe. 
  • Performance in collaboration with Burns for Beginners that pits the Scottish bard’s works against those of Persian poet Hafez 
  • Showing of award-winning play, Mimi’s Suitcase, on the theme of identity and homeland 
  • A day of tourism-related talks at Nomad’s Tent courtesy of Persian Pursuits and PersiaPort

So what are you waiting for? Broaden your horizons this February, and check out the festival! With so many events, many of them free, there’s something to suit everyone.

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