Exhibitions

VR: Wirral Hospitals’ School and MaxLiteracy Award

10 June - 3 September 2021

Exhibitions

Return To Nature

30 July 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

VR: First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May - 4 July 2021

Exhibitions

We Are Nature

30 July - 14 August 2021

Exhibitions

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival — Jessica El Mal: Grounds For Concern

16 July - 15 August 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Who We Are

8 July - 31 July 2021

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Whose Land Is It?

8 July - 19 September 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: Youth Culture by Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: Arc with Hugh Baird

16 June - 20 June 2021

Past Events

First Light: Photography Writing Now – Tilt Launch Party

9 July 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #14: Separated Together

24 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Arc

16 June - 20 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: HOMETOWNS

10 June 2021

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Digital Window Gallery: Postcards from us x

10 June - 20 June 2021

LightNight 2021: Play

21 May 2021

Heavy Gardening Art Trail Photowalk

21 May 2021

OPEN ROOMS #13: A BALKAN JOURNEY WITH CHRIS LESLIE

17 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May 2021

Past Events

Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

3 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Interior Tension

22 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Networked Beings

8 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Things Are Strange

25 May 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #12: INDEPENDENTS BIENNIAL

6 May 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Liverpool Biennial 2021: The Stomach and the Port

19 May - 6 June 2021

Picturing England’s High Streets: Prescot

7 April 2021

Picturing England’s High Street: Chester

7 April 2021

Exhibitions

Reclaim The City: Suzanne St Clare

8 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Parallel Histories

11 May 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: After Nature

27 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Unearthly Matter

13 April 2021

Exhibitions

Hanging out: Interviews

23 March - 5 April 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Independents Biennial

18 March - 6 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Corrupted Archives

30 March 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight – Connecting new photography with writing

16 March 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #11: ON THE CORNERS OF ARGYLE AND GLENWOOD – PHOTOBOOK IN COLLABORATION

11 March 2021

Freelance Photographer in Residence Position

23 February 2021

Family Page

23 February 2021

About Alternative Lens

23 February 2021

Projects

Introducing Energy House

23 February 2021

Past Events

Open Rooms #10: All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

25 February 2021

The Course

12 February 2021

Past Events

PLATFORM ISSUE 3: HOPE

12 February 2021

Events

OPEN CALL: THE STORY OF LIVERPOOL THROUGH ITS TREES

1 January - 30 April 2021

Past Events

OPEN CALL: HOMETOWNS

11 February - 31 March 2021

Past Events

WHAT WE DO IN LOCKDOWN

5 January 2021

HYPERTEXT: Books Beyond Bars – Felix McNulty in conversation with Sarah Jane Baker

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Ruth White – The Role of the Photobook in Representing the British Working Classes

28 November 2020

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Shahr-e Qesseh (City of Tales), written and directed by Bijan Mofid, University Hall, 1968, Courtesy of Courtesy of Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis / Bijan Mofid Foundation
Renga Moi, written and directed by Robert Serumaga, National Theatre of Uganda, Saray-e Moshir, 1975. Courtesy of Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis.

A Utopian Stage

A Utopian Stage: Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis
Curation and Research: Vali Mahlouji

The Festival of Arts was a performance festival held annually in Iran every summer between 1967-77 in and around the city of Shiraz and the ancient ruins of Persepolis. It facilitated a uniquely transformative and radical crucible of artistic exchange and experience. By the early ‘70s Shiraz-Persepolis had become a crucial player in a complex international network of creative expression circumventing divisions of North-South and South-South. In line with the Non-Aligned Movement, it articulated a Third World-ist post-colonial position and negotiated the ideological Cold War demarcations facilitating the exchange of information beyond the Iron Curtain.

Curated by Iranian intellectuals and in line with post-war anti-colonial sensibilities, the festival defied European hierarchical cultural models and discourses. In proposing a universalist model of culture, it put distant voices from Asia and Africa, often for the first time, on the cultural map as valid and equal. Artists found opportunities to investigate shared roots of drama, music and performance in rejecting the conventional definitions of traditional and modern, native and alien. Domestically, the festival opened up a transgressively liberal space within a dictatorship, which was perceived as culturally and politically controversial.

At the time of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious fatwa against the festival in 1978 declaring it culturally decadent and un-Islamic. Many of the Iranian participants were not allowed to work again and all records and materials associated with the festival in Iran remain banned to date.

A Utopian Stage is a project of Archaeology of the Final Decade, a curatorial platform founded in 2010, which researches histories of nations condemned by social displacement, cultural annihilation or deliberate disappearance. AOTFD engages with accounts of culture, which have been lost through material destruction, acts of censorship, political, economic or human contingencies. The research identifies, investigates and re-circulates significant cultural and artistic materials that have remained obscure, under-exposed, endangered, banned or in some instances destroyed.

A four channel video presentation of the Festival of Arts from the Archaeology of the Final Decade is now on display on our Digital Window Gallery. Booklets offering a fuller perspective on the project are available in our independent book shop.

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