Global Development Opportunities for Leaders Working in Arts, Screen, and Creative Sectors

Museum of Innocence

Profile: Esra Aysun, Director


Esra Aysun is a cultural operator, working as consultant and producer in the contemporary arts and a lecturer on cultural management in Istanbul, Turkey. She completed her BA at the Sociology Department of Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) and MA at the New York University, Administration of Performing Arts (New York). Having worked at eminent cultural institutions as Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Pozitif and Galerist in Istanbul and Brooklyn Academy of Music and Universal Music Group in New York, she has acted as the International Project Consultant for the contemporary theatre DOT (since 2005) and is currently the Director of the Museum of Innocence as of July 2012.

Aysun is also a lecturer on Arts Management at the Music Business and Management Department of MIAM / İTÜ, at Yeditepe University and at the Museum Studies Department of the Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul. Aysun’s several articles on art and philanthropy has been published in Turkey and European countries. Aysun is currently editing and writing for the Current Issues series of the Sanat Dunyamiz Magazine in Istanbul. She is an advisory board member of the IETM (Brussels); a board member of the Cimetta Fund (Paris) and AICA (Istanbul).

Company Profile: Museum of Innocence

The Museum of Innocence is both a novel by Orhan Pamuk and a museum he has set up. From the very beginnings of the project, since the 1990s, Pamuk has conceived of novel and museum together. The novel, which is about love, is set between 1974 and the early ’00s, and describes life in Istanbul between 1950 and 2000 through memories and flashbacks centred around two families – one wealthy, the other lower middle class. The museum presents what the novel’s characters used, wore, heard, saw, collected and dreamed of, all meticulously arranged in boxes and display cabinets.

It is not essential to have read the book in order to enjoy the museum, just as it is not necessary to have visited the museum in order to fully enjoy the book. But those who have read the novel will better grasp the many connotations of the museum, and those who have visited the museum will discover many nuances they had missed when reading the book. The novel was published in 2008, the museum opened in Spring 2012.


Marianne Maxwell