October 2018


The Golha and Golistan programmes

Talk by Jane Lewisohn


Organised by

Iran Heritage Foundation


Wednesday 7th November, 18.30


Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP 


This presentation will highlight some of the challenges that Jane Lewisohn has been confronted with while archiving the performing arts of 20th century Iran. During the seven years (2005-2012) that she spent archiving the Golha Radio programmes and creating a searchable online platform for them, many other archives came to light which also needed to be preserved and made accessible to scholars in a way that would facilitate serious research and scholarship. Much of this material is either very hard or impossible to access. Some of it is found only in private archives of artists and composers, or in collections of recordings and films made for private audiences, field recordings, or recordings made for the Ministry of the Arts and Culture for Iranian radio. 

There are films and radio programmes made in the 1950s through to the 1970s which shed a unique light on how Iran navigated through the challenges of modernity and which deserve to be collected and archived. Jane will give brief descriptions and samples of some of this material, discuss the importance of archiving them, and demonstrate how she plans to create a worldwide resource for the performing arts of 20th century Iran, to both preserve this cultural heritage and make it freely accessible to researchers, artists, and lovers of all things Persian.


Jane Lewisohn lived in Iran during the 1970s for six years and is a graduate of Pahalavi University, Shiraz, Iran. She has been involved in the research and promotion of various aspects of Persian culture and studies for the last four decades. Since 2005 she has directed the Golha Project under the auspices of the British Library, and the Music Department of SOAS, University of London. The Golha Project ( is an encyclopaedic website for Persian music and literature based on the Golha Radio programmes broadcast in Iran from 1956 until 1979.  This project has been supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation since 2008. Jane is currently director of the Golistan Project (, working in collaboration with the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies at the University of California Irvine to create a world resource for 20th century Persian performing arts such as music, film, theatre, and printed matter.

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