Tim Stanley, co-curator of the blockbuster exhibition ‘Epic Iran’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, shares with us the challenges of putting together such an ambitious exhibition, and the rewarding reception it had among the public. The show is the most significant survey of Iranian art history since 1931, and is pioneering in its inclusion of art from pre-history to modern times – evidencing the long continuum of artistic production that the nation has experienced.


Tim Stanley is Senior Curator in the Middle East Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, with interests specifically in  Qurans and unillustrated manuscripts, lacquer, arms and armour, furniture and woodwork.

He was responsible for developing the Jameel Prize and for curating the exhibition that accompanied the first prize in 2009. among others things he was responsible for the traveling exhibition Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the V&A (2004–6) and was principal author of the accompanying book. He took the curatorial lead for the Museum’s new Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art and co-authored The Making of the Jameel Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2006). He was subsequently lead curator from the Asian Department for the redevelopment of the V&A’s new Ceramics Galleries, which opened in two phases in 2009 and 2010, to house the world’s most important collection of ceramics. He also curated the V&A touring exhibition World Ceramics: Masterpieces from the V&A at its venues in Damascus and Istanbul (2008–9), which was the first major V&A exhibition to travel to the region. Tim was previously deputy curator of the Khalili Collection in London, and he has published widely on Islamic manuscripts and decorative arts and on Ottoman culture.

This podcast is Part of Converging Paths 2021 in Partnership with Asia House, supported by the Altajir Trust and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Education Programme.