IST. Arts & Culture Festival (IST. Festival) is founded by Demet Muftuoğlu Eşeli and Alphan Eşeli of ISTANBUL’74 in 2010. It is an annual, three-day festival that offers a hybrid program of panels and talks, exhibitions, workshops, screenings, and performances that aim to establish and forge cultural and artistic relations, by bringing together some of the world’s most talented and creative minds.

In the course of three days, the admission-free festival offers the public audience the unique opportunity to attend open panels and talks, screenings, workshops, exhibitions while giving them the chance to experience artistic collaborations and performances based on the past, current, and future topics in arts and culture. Attended by writers, directors, actors, filmmakers, musicians, artists, designers, and performers, the festival brings together creative minds that share compassion that leads to a global vocabulary of emotions.

Each year, IST. FESTIVAL focuses on the main theme that is relevant to contemporary culture, and accordingly, the festival committee picks the participating guest speakers as well as the panel topics.

IST. Festival has grown into a highly anticipated cultural event, leading creatives from different cultures and artistic disciplines to influence one another in unexpected ways, and thus paving the way for eclectic conversations and further collaboration between participants. With a vision to travel beyond borders, IST. Festival has broadened its reach to a wider global audience, launching new biannual editions in 2019. The first one premiered in Rome in May 2019 in collaboration with Delfina Delettrez Fendi and Nico Vascellari.


Focusing on “Self-Expression in the Post-Truth World,” IST. FEST. ROME explored the ways how constant changes in our surrounding habitats affect creative minds and artistic output.

Participants include Volker Schlöndorff, Michele Lamy, Francesco Vezzoli, Clémence Poésy, Güher and Süher Pekinel, Arto Lindsay, Ignasi Monreal, Katerina Jebb, Waris Ahluwalia, Belcim Bilgin, Carlos Casas, and Stella Schnabel.

Co-curated by founders Demet Müftüoğlu-Eşeli, Alphan Eşeli with Delfina Delettrez-Fendi, and Nico Vascellari.


Focusing on “Aesthetics in Arts & Culture,” the sixth edition of IST. FESTIVAL has kicked off with Anton Corbijn’s “NUMBER 5” exhibition opening at ISTANBUL’74.

Joining the all-star participants for the panels included Anton Corbijn, David Adjaye, Murat Tabanlıoğlu, Parker Posey, Aimee Mullins, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Dan Thawley, Jefferson Hack, Anja Rubik, Ben Gorham, Ali Akay, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, and Robert Montgomery among others.

Curated by founders Demet Müftüoğlu-Eşeli and Alphan Eşeli.



Focusing on “Realism in Arts & Culture,” the fifth edition of IST. FESTIVAL has explored how innovations in technology have influenced visual aesthetics, documentary film making, and the perception of authenticity.

Participant and panelists include Harvey Keitel, Mike Figgis, Daniel Arsham, Alex Prager, JR, Craig McDean, Edward Enninful, Francesco Carrozzini, Stephen Jones, Zülfü Livaneli, Juliette Lewis, Muammer Brav, Trevor Paglen, and more. 

Curated by founders Demet Müftüoğlu-Eşeli and Alphan Eşeli. Co-hosted by Stefano Tonchi  and W Magazine.



Focusing on “Intercultural Dialogues,” the fourth edition of the IST. FESTIVAL has celebrated the cultural mosaic – a mix of creative people of different geographical roots, languages, and cultures that co-exist within today’s global society.

Featuring participants Abel Ferrara, Hussein Chalayan, Peter Beard, Tim Walker, Shirley Manson, JR, José Parla, Harun Tekin, Jamie Nares, Ayse & Ece Ege, Serdar Gülgün, Efe Cakarel, Beyhan Murphy, Pamela Golbin, and Liya Kebede amongst others. 

In collaboration with W Magazine.



Committing to creating a dynamic arts diplomacy program in the world and forging greater cultural relations, the third edition of IST. FESTIVAL brought together giants from both the Turkish and international creative worlds.

Among the roster of participants were Carine Roitfeld, Jefferson Hack, Mark Romanek, Mario Sorrenti, Ferzan Özpetek, Andrew Dominik, Meltem Cumbul, Cecilia Dean, Emre Arolat, Chiara Clemente, Nate Lowman, Robin Rhode, Zoe Cassavetes, and many others.

Realized with support from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Hosted by Demet Müftüoglu Eşeli, Alphan Eşeli, Cecilia Dean, James Kaliardos, and Stephen Gan. In collaboration with Visionaire.



This year’s festival opened with a private view of Being with You, a series of portraits over skype by the artist Sandro Kopp. 

All-star participants include Terry Gilliam, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stipe, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Taylor-Wood, Courtney Love, Sophie Calle, Haider Ackermann, Ryan McGinley, Serra Yilmaz, Reha Erdem, Marco Mueller, Dan Colen amongst others.

Presented by ISTANBUL’74 and AnOther Magazine, supported by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

ist. festval 2010



Cementing its position as European Capital of Culture 2010 with a festival of fashion, film, art, literature, and more, IST FESTIVAL launched featuring a three-day event series – from 2nd to 4th July – including exhibitions, film screenings, and literary talks and readings.

The first edition of IST. FESTIVAL featured Zaha Hadid, Nobel Laureate Sir V.S. Naipaul, Hanif Kureishi, Gore Vidal, Franca Sozzani, Elif Şafak, Terence Koh, Jefferson Hack, Stephen Frears, Taner Ceylan, Kim Jones, Daphne Guinness, Lily Cole, Philip Treacy, Bernard-Henri Levy, Leyla Umar, and Michael Nyman.

Presented by ISTANBUL’74 and AnOther Magazine, supported by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture.