About us

Candlestar has built an unrivalled reputation in the production of major cultural events and exhibitions in the visual arts worldwide. Formed in 2003 by Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad, Candlestar has delivered innovative projects for a range of arts and educational institutions and corporate clients including London Business School, Condé Nast and the Pictet Group.

Globally respected authorities in photography and arts production, Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad began their careers in arts education. For 15 years they have been able to bring together bespoke teams of designers, project managers and external contractors to realise a diverse portfolio of projects driven by passion, expertise and commitment.

COMPANY MANAGEMENT

FINANCE
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING
ADMINISTRATION

PROJECTS DELIVERY TEAM

EXHIBITIONS

  • Director
  • Project Manager
  • Curator
  • Registrar
  • Head of Design
  • Project Coordinator

TRUSTED PARTNERS

  • Specialist Fine Art Shipping
  • Fine Art Insurance
  • Specialist Art Handlers & Installers
  • Artwork Fabrication
  • Lighting Design
  • Graphic Production & Installation
  • AV Production & Installation
  • Build Contractors

EVENTS

  • Director
  • Project Manager
  • Head of Design
  • Project Coordinator

TRUSTED PARTNERS

  • Specialist Fine Art Shipping
  • Fine Art Insurance
  • Specialist Art Handlers & Installers
  • Artwork Fabrication
  • Specialist Event Management
  • Custom Operations & Event Production
  • Lighting Design
  • Graphic Production & Installation
  • AV Production & Installation
  • Build Contractors
  • Security
  • Event Photography & Video

Founders

Fariba Farshad

Fariba Farshad worked at University of the Arts, London (ual) as an educator specialised and pioneered the applications of technology in art education with gender focus for over a decade. She spearhead the award-winning research centre responsible for production of more than 50 game based learning applications. Her innovative projects won her numerous awards including a BAFTA nomination.

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She co-founded Candlestar with Michael Benson in 2003. A company that specialises in design and production of new international initiatives in the cultural sphere. Candlestar is the producer of Prix Pictet, the most prestigious global photography prize with special focus on sustainability. Also, since 2015 Candlestar has produced Photo London which is now established as one of the world’s leading photography events.

As a curator Fariba is renowned for championing the work of contemporary Iranian artists since 2007. Her ground-breaking exhibition Burnt Generation showcased the contemporary life in Iran through the lens of eight major contemporary Iranian photographers, opened at Somerset House in 2014 and toured globally for 5 years.

Michael Benson

Michael Benson’s career in education and the arts spans almost 30 years. He is an award-winning writer and film producer. His videos with Gustav Metzger and John Berger were released in 2003 and 2004 respectively, and his book 1000Years1000Words won a D&AD award in 2001.

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For ten years Michael Benson worked at the London Institute, now the University of the Arts, where he developed the London Institute Gallery and its exhibition program showcasing the work of students alongside leading contemporary artists, designers and photographers including Julian Opie, Richard Deacon, Nicola Hicks, Mike Leigh and Tom Hunter. He led the campaign to secure a new home for Chelsea School of Arts alongside the Tate Gallery at Millbank. He worked with twelve of Europe’s leading contemporary artists to develop Signatures of the Invisible, a major touring exhibition in collaboration with CERN, Geneva. The tour ended with a major exhibition at PS1 MoMA in 2002.

With Fariba Farshad he founded the cultural consultancy Candlestar in 2003. Since then Candlestar has created projects for many leading organisations in the arts and education. In 2015, with the support of the Financial Times and Maja Hoffman’s Luma Foundation, Candlestar inaugurated the first edition of Photo London and in five years, the Fair has established itself as a key event in the international art world calendar.

He is Director of the Prix Pictet, the international photography prize founded by Pictet Group in 2008, for which Candlestar have curated over 90 exhibitions worldwide. Between 2011-2014 he also curated the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition. He is a member of the board of the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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