Cultural Dialogue with Iran

Anadolu Kültür has long supported cultural dialogue in the region through arts by way of opening up space for international collaborations between Turkey and Europe, and Armenia. Based on the accumulated knowledge, network and experience, we have begun to extend the regional connections to yet another neighbouring country, Iran, in recent years. Despite the considerable level of educational, touristic, and economic relations between the two countries that have very much in common in terms of history and culture, there is still very limited cultural, artistic and social exchange, and our work aims to support these fields.

The initial contact with the arts and culture community in Iran is made through a roundtable meeting in Istanbul in October 2017 to explore potentials for artistic and cultural collaborations between Turkey and Iran. Artists and cultural practitioners that operate in different cities of Iran came together with the cultural representatives from local art scene in Istanbul. Discussions were made on the cultural contexts and the challenges of the two countries as well as the opportunities and ideas for cooperation. The meeting is followed up with a field trip to Iran through which the local organisations were visited and the cultural scene in cities was explored, resulting in the expansion of our network in Iran.

As a following step, the last round of Tandem Turkey programme is opened up for the applications of the cultural initiatives in Iran. Three teams from the applicants were selected to take part in the programme and they became collaboration partners with organisations from Turkey. The participants visited each other’s cities and their cultural collaboration projects between Izmir, Istanbul, Tehran and Isfahan were supported in the frame of Tandem programme. You can get more detailed information on these collaborations from Tandem web site.
Our latest endeavor is an artistic collaboration project, which aims to open up an experimental space for female artists to exchange experiences, test the possibilities for a collective working practice through a group exhibition, and initiate an artist network in the region that might expand with further contributions. The project took place in Istanbul from September 2019 to February 2020 with the participation of 15 female artists from Iran and Turkey along with the diaspora artists from Germany. During the course of the project, the artists met at the Kick-off Meeting, and a few months later, reunited for a week-long Collaboration Lab to work together. The outputs of the process and the artworks were shared with the public through a group exhibition at DEPO in February-March 2020. (The project is organized by Anadolu Kültür and realized by financial contributions of Goethe-Institut Istanbul and Tehran, and support of Chrest Foundation for travel, accommodation and subsistence related expenses.)