Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Liverpool Biennial 2021: The Stomach and the Port

19 April - 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

Events

First Light Spotlight: Parallel Histories

11 May 2021

Events

First Light Spotlight: After Nature

27 April 2021

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

Events

OPEN CALL: HOMETOWNS

11 February - 31 March 2021

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

HYPERTEXT: Yasmine Akim ‘Decolonise art schools & showcase the agency of marginalised people’

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Jason Evans – Sound & Vision

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: ROOT-ed Zine – Our Experience of Navigating through Arts and Media as People of Colour

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Present and Continuous Q&A with Liz Wewiora and the Many Hands Craft Collective

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Rose Nordin of OOMK in conversation with Kerol Izwan of Musotrees

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Jade Montserrat in conversation with Nikita Gill

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Sam Hutchinson in conversation with Aram Sabbah of Skatepal

28 November 2020

Get Involved: The Story of Liverpool Through Its Trees

24 November 2020

Past Events

Home Turf: Fans, Foodbanks and Photography

17 December 2020

Past Events

Scottie Press: Digital Residency

7 December - 11 December 2020

Past Events

Tell It Like It Is: Ian Clegg and Laura Robertson in Conversation

20 November 2020

Exhibitions

VR: L— A City Through Its People

5 November - 7 March 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Peer to Peer HK/UK — Lee Wing Ki: Night Walk (an excerpt)

16 November - 30 November 2020

Past Exhibitions

Peer to Peer: UK / HK

11 November 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Watch: Liverpool Slavery Virtual Tour

27 October 2020

A Message From Open Eye Gallery: Covid-19 Update

2 November 2020

Exhibitions

VR — The New West

30 October 2020

Past Exhibitions

TO BE FRANK

30 October - 15 November 2020

Past Exhibitions

THE LIVES WE LEAD

28 October - 11 November 2020

Past Events Past Exhibitions

Love Is An Action: Black History Panel

29 October 2020

Projects Past Exhibitions

VR — The Time We Call Our Own

3 September 2020

Past Exhibitions

Exhibition: L— A City Through Its People

5 November - 7 March 2021

Projects

Harold Offeh — When Was The Time I Could Call My Own?

15 October 2020

Projects

Mirjam Wirz — Sonidero City

8 October 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #9 Access to Art: Who is art for? (w/ Mike Pinnington and Larry Achiampong)

13 October 2020

Projects

PLATFORM ISSUE 2: THE NEW NORMAL

7 October 2020

Close
Close
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.

Get involved:
Volunteering

Find out more
Join our newsletter