Edinburgh Iranian Festival showcases Iran’s cultural heritage
This year’s festival features a number of cross-cultural exhibitions with Scottish performers
The Edinburgh Iranian Festival, a non-political showcase for world-class Iranian culture, has returned for its sixth season.
This year’s festival runs from the 9th to the 19th of February at six locations in the capital: Filmhouse, The National Museum of Scotland, Assembly Hall, The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, Blackwell’s Bookshop, and Nomads Tent.
The festival aims to address misconceptions about Iran by shining a spotlight on some of the contemporary talent the country has produced – including musicians and photographers – while also highlighting its rich cultural heritage, particularly in areas such as food and poetry.
At “Passport to Persia: Exploring Iranian Tourism”, one of several sessions held during the festival, the focus was on various aspects of Iranian tourism. It include a film and discussion about adventurous travel to the mountains of Iran, as well as a broader talk on the practicalities of travel and the opportunity to “visit” Iran via virtual reality.
Shirin Shabestari, an Iranian woman now settled in the U.K., presented a short film and discussed her various trips to the mountains in Iran. “Down in the city, I was a girl being treated differently,” she said. “When I went to the mountains with my dad, I felt like an equal.”
Shabestari is the founder and director of Persian Pursuits, the U.K.’s first company to specialise in trekking, climbing and skiing expeditions to Iran. Her love of climbing started at 5 years old, when her father took her into the mountains. Since then, she has scaled Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, amongst many other mountaineering challenges.
PersiaPort also presented at the event, showcasing Iran through the various services they provide, which are aimed at those interested in knowing more about Iran’s culture, history and natural and archaeological attractions – or for those who simply wanted to visit Iran.
One of the most important values of the Edinburgh Iranian Festival is encouraging collaborations across culture. This year the festival featured an array of exciting pairings between Scottish and Iranian artists and performers, plus a number of ongoing events including “A Window on My Iran”, a photography exhibition cultivated from social media that aims to “show an aspect of life in Iran – perhaps one that might be unexpected to the outside world.”
For more information on the Edinburgh Iranian Festival, visit ediranfest.co.uk.