Archiving and Preserving the 20th-century Persian Performing Arts
Jane Lewisohn – SOAS Department of Music
Jane Lewisohn has devoted many years to running the Golha project to preserve and archive recordings of classical Persian music and poetry.
“In this presentation I will highlight some of the challenges the researcher is confronted with in archiving the Performing Arts of Iran of the 20th century. During the seven (2005-2012) years that I spent archiving the Golha Radio programs and creating a searchable platform for those programs, many other archives have come to light which also need to be preserved and made accessible to scholars in a fashion and format that will 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 the auspices of research for the Ministry of the Arts and Culture for Iranian radio. There are films and radio programs made in the 1950s and 1960s which shed a unique light on how Iran navigated through the challenges of modernity and which deserve to be collected and archived. I will give brief descriptions and samples of some of this material and discuss the challenges and importance of collecting and archiving them.”