The sights, sounds and tastes of Iran are being celebrated in Edinburgh this month with the fourth Iranian Festival.
In a diverse and interactive line-up, festival-goers will be able to take tea in a Persian teahouse, sample renowned Iranian cinema, and even learn traditional music and calligraphy.
The Edinburgh Iranian Festival is organised and run by volunteers and is affiliated to the Edinburgh University Persian Society.
The festival, which runs February 6th -16th aims to span both Iran’s rich traditions and its contemporary cultural life.
The festival’s organisers hope to introduce Scotland to the heart and soul of Iran - from its art and music, through to its history, food and - for the first time in the festival’s history - its fashion.
A fashion show showcasing womenswear and accessories by contemporary Iranian designers, and a Scottish designer inspired by Iran is taking place in the Grand Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland, it is followed by a panel discussion on Iranian fashion pre- and post-Islam.
Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History in the School of History, Classics & Archaeology at the University is presenting a. lecture titled: Xerxes' Cabinet of Curiosities: Exotic Animals and Royal Authority in Achaemenid Iran, which will explore the rich variety of exotic wildlife imported into Persia for the monarch’s pleasure and his public image.
There is an Iranian film season organised in collaboration with the Filmhouse Cinema Edinburgh, an art exhibition of works inspired by Iran based on the theme of Perception, at Summerhall, as well as a separate exhibition of the works of renowned Iranian artist Hassan Meshkinfam at the Sutton Gallery.
Other elements of the festival programme include Persian cuisine on the menu at Nawrouz restaurant, an Iranian teahouse set up within Persian Rug Village, and curated book selections at Word Power and Blackwells.
I am privileged to have seen this festival grow over the past 5 years from a modest, student-run project to the wide-ranging and hugely exciting programme we have on offer today.
The 2015 festival season is partnered with British Council Iran as part of their UK-Iran Season of Culture.