What is Golistan?

The Golistan Project aims to create a dedicated portal that will be a virtual museum for the performing arts of Iran, from 1880 through the twentieth century. This online environment will include recordings of solo performances by twentieth-century virtuosos, radio plays and programs, regional (mahali) music, 78-rpm recordings, film, theatre, as well as printed materials and journals. All these assets will be digitalized, indexed, and searchable by key rubrics.

Our Story

Because the Golistan Project is the sister project of the Golha Project it is important to understand it in that context. The Golha Project undertook the task of collating, archiving, and conserving the 1500 Golha radio programs. These programs covered the entire history of classical as well as contemporary Persian poetry and music and were broadcast on Iranian radio from 1956 until 1979, when political events in Iran created an inhospitable environment for much of the Persian musical tradition to flourish. The Golha Project indexed the entire Golha archive, made it searchable by 18 different criteria, and included transcripts of the poetry, biographies in Persian and in English of over 600 poets and 250 performers, as well as the musical notes for 700 ballads—now all freely accessible at www.Golha.co.uk.

Our Mission

Thousands of hours of audio and video and tens of thousands of pages of printed material about twentieth-century Iranian performing arts have already been donated to the Golistan Project. The project’s goal is to make these resources freely available, fully indexed, and accessible online in Persian and in English to all students, researchers, and practitioners, regardless of their academic affiliation or country of origin. We will also reach out to private collectors, obtain copies from the owners of these cultural assets, along with certification of their Making this material accessible to students, researchers, composers, directors, and performers in Persian and in English will put the performing arts of Iran on the world map as never before. This accessibility will also, we believe, create an explosion of research on the heritage of the Iranian performing arts. These important artistic works were created during the time when Iran was coming to grips with modernity and the Persian performing arts of the twentieth-century provide a unique insight into this process. We will also reach out to private collectors, obtain copies from the owners of these cultural assets, along with certification of their Making this material accessible to students, researchers, . . .

The Team

Jane Lewisohn


Jane Lewisohn lived in Iran for six years during the 1970s and graduated from Pahalavi University in Shiraz. She has been involved in the research and promotion of various aspects of Persian studies for the last three decades. Since 2005 she has directed the Golha Project under the auspices of the British Library, London, and the Music Department of SOAS, University of London. She has archived and digitalized the whole archive of the Golha radio programs broadcast on Iranian Radio from 1956 through 1979. The award-winning Golha Project has made the entire Golha archive and all its related research freely available over the Internet at  http://www.golha.co.uk

Dr. Leonard Lewisohn


Senior Lecturer in classical Persian and Sufi Literature at Exeter University, has published books and articles on the major Persian poets, including Rumi, Hafiz, ‘Attar, Mahmud Shabastari, Nasir-i Khusraw, and Ansari; written articles on such minor Persian poets as Nizari Quhistani, Awhadi Maragha’I, and Mir Husayni Haravi; and composed studies on well-known Islamic philosophers and mystics, such as Sa’in al-Din Turkah, Isfahani, and Shahrastani. Recently he published several studies comparing Persian poetry and Sufism with Western and Eastern poetry and love mysticism, including in the studies such poets as Shelley, Blake, and Tagore. He is also the editor of the Mawlana Rumi Review, an annual academic review dedicated to the life and works of Mawlana Jalal a Din Rumi, now in its sixth year.

Philip McCaffrey


Formerly Managing Editor of W. H. Freeman and Company/Worth Publishers/Macmillan Higher Education for over 22 years and Treasurer of the United Nations International School Parents’ Association for 2 years, is currently a freelance editor. He recently edited a review of Jafar Panahi’s Taxi for the Tehran Bureau.

Mehdi Parhizkar

Assistant Treasurer

Mehdi Parhizkar, MBA, is President of Tooth Mobile, a nonprofit organization providing free comprehensive dental care and preventative oral hygiene to children from low-income families on site at their schools. He holds monthly lectures and discussion groups on Sufism and Persian philosophy in San Jose and Laguna Niguel, California.


Mehrdad Amanatis an independent scholar who holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also the author of Jewish Identities in Iran: Resistance and Conversion to Islam and the Baha’i Faith and a contributor to the Encyclopedia Iranica.

Maryam Arami is an independent accounting professional in Los Angeles, California.

Houchang Esfandiar Chehabi is a leading expert in Iranian studies at The Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University where he is Professor of International Relations and History. His publications focus on Iran and its history and politics.

Touraj Daryai is the Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World, and Director, Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture School of Humanities.

Parviz Jahed is a film critic who regularly contributes to Persian media and film journals inside and outside Iran. He is the editor of the Directory of World Cinema: Iran, 2011 as well as the editor of Cinema-Cheshm, a UK Persian film journal.

Mahmoud Khoshnam is an expert on Persian music. He taught literature at the Persian National Music Conservatory in Tehran and Roudaki Monthly for five years. Deutsche Welle and BBC Persian Service. His main programs were focused on Persian folk and pop music.

Houman M. Sarshar is the Editorial Advisor of the Judeo-Persian Studies Center for Iranian Studies, and the Encyclopaedia Iranica Director of the Publication Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History. He has published widely on the history and culture of the `Jewish community in Iran and their contributions to the Performing arts in particular.

Farzad Mobin is the founder and director of WishExpress, a website whose mission is to move its users to greatness and happiness through their wishes and Elastic Teams, a collection of software developers and designers who define and construct custom business automation systems utilizing web and mobile applications.

Hossein Omoumi is a scholar and teacher of Persian traditional musicand Maseeh Professor in Persian Performing Arts in the department of music at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts University of California, Irvine,..

Farhad Shah-Hosaini is a traveler, photographer, fisherman, music lover and collector.

Amir Sardari is the President of Energy & Environment, Incorporated, which has been providing clean energy services and technologies to the industry for over nineteen years. He has authored a number of patents in the field of energy and environmental technologies. 

Maryam Seyhounis a lawyer and the curator and owner of the Seyhoun Gallery in West Hollywood, California, the outpost of Tehran’s iconic Gallery Seyhoun. Since founding her gallery Maryam Seyhoun has presented and promoted virtually all the leading figures in contemporary Iranian art.