An interview with Yalçın Balcı, Founder and Chairman of IEG
The Istanbul Entertainment Group (IEG) is one of the biggest entertainment organizations in Turkey and manages Uniq Museum, recently home to the successful, and soon to be touring, Magnificent Century: The Exhibition. As local host and headline sponsor of this year’s Touring Exhibitions Meeting (TEM) in Istanbul, IEG’s founder and Chairman Yalçın Balcı talked with TEN about exhibitions in Turkey and the future.
TEN: Could you describe what a typical day at IEG is like for you, and what it involves?
Yalçın Balcı: We are a dynamic and close knit family at IEG, with the entire team working shoulder to shoulder, so a typical day would begin with an informal get together to discuss the day’s topics. Due to the size and number of projects on the go, a full day in the office is unheard of for many of the IEG team! Typically, our days are split between the office and outside meetings, and most of my time is spent on site at Uniq Museum where our Magnificent Century exhibition is housed.
TEN: What kind of exhibitions do you most enjoy bringing to Turkey through IEG?
Yalçın Balcı: I have always enjoyed exhibitions pertaining to cultural history, as is evident by my development of the Piri Reis and Canakkale exhibitions. In terms of international content, I am always on the lookout for engaging exhibitions that not only grab attention, but also give the viewer an insight into a certain cultural society.
In terms of international content, I am always on the lookout for engaging exhibitions that not only grab attention, but also give the viewer an insight into a certain cultural society.”
TEM: What do you think have been some of the most significant events IEG has brought to Istanbul in recent years?
Yalçın Balcı: Concerts under our “Good Music in Town” brand have been watched and loved by thousands, and especially for us to host Sarah Brightman, Placido Domingo and Andre Rieu in Turkey for the first time was a great experience for music lovers. However, the Magnificent Century exhibition is very unique in its significance. With the Magnificent Century TV series, Turkey had a chance to export one of its cultural productions to a wide international crowd. The touring exhibition is also a first.
Whereas once it was only the lucky few who could go abroad to see the works of Da Vinci or Dali, now companies such as IEG are bringing these important works to the masses.”
TEN: Do you think exhibitions play an important role in Turkey’s cultural life?
Yalçın Balcı: Turkey, and especially Istanbul, is multi-cultural, dynamic and vibrant, and more and more people are looking for new experiences. Exhibitions undoubtedly play an important role in cultural development and enriching cultural life. Whereas once it was only the lucky few who could go abroad to see the works of Da Vinci or Dali, now companies such as IEG are bringing these important works to the masses.
TEN: What ambitions do you have for the future of IEG?
Yalçın Balcı: We will continue to look for interesting, unique and top quality content that we can offer to our customers, and we will expand our business into new territories.
TEM 2015, like the years before it, is an invaluable source for both the developers and presenters of touring exhibitions.
TEN: IEG is headline sponsor of TEM 2015 in Istanbul, could you explain what it is about the conference that appealed to IEG?
Yalçın Balcı: TEM 2015, like the years before it, is an invaluable source for both the developers and presenters of touring exhibitions. As an internationally active company ourselves, the conference provides the perfect platform to meet and share ideas with likeminded companies and a diverse delegate community. It is always exciting to meet with exhibition producers and content providers and Istanbul will be the perfect location for this networking event as a city that prides itself on uniting different cultures.
TEN: What do you, personally, hope to gain from the conference, and what are you most looking forward to?
Yalçın Balcı: TEM is a very powerful networking activity and after a couple of hours you start to build strong relationships. So, I hope, we will get together with some familiar faces and have a chance to discuss what’s going around. It is always exciting to see new and innovative content that has been developed by fellow exhibition producers! I personally believe that this edition will be unforgettable.