British Council to host ‘Transforming Narratives Mela & Symposium’ to celebrate contemporary arts and culture

Culture Central, in partnership with the British Council and Arts Council England and 10 Birmingham-based cultural organisations, is going to organise an event styled as ‘Transforming Narratives Mela & Symposium’ to be held from 19–21 March 2022 to celebrate contemporary arts and culture.

Transforming Narratives is an international programme designed to support creative and cultural practitioners and cultural organisations in Birmingham and engage in cultural and creative exchange with artists and organisations in cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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This will be a three-day online festival where new works including new art, music and film of the artists from Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh will be showcased along with critical discussion and reflections. It will take place from 10am–4pm GMT/3–9pm PKT/4-10pm BST.

Interested people can pre-book their tickets at www.transformingnarratives.com. For those who can’t join the full festival, the Mela will be live streamed on Transforming Narratives’ YouTube and Facebook channels.

There will be three simultaneous programmes over three days to experience for the participants. There will be a Mela where Dhaka Say Karachi Chapter Two, a film telling the parallel stories of Bangladesh capital Dhaka and Karachi in Pakistan, led by Ahsan Bari of Pakistan in collaboration with Sheikh Dina of Bangladesh, and Dear … Kindest, a film exploring personal feelings of home, belonging and identity created by Shehzad Chowdhury in Bangladesh in collaboration with Mahtab Hussain in Birmingham, will be screened.

In the symposium, there will be critical talks and debate, investigating how local infrastructure shapes global conversations in the arts to the importance of self-organised groups and initiatives within the arts infrastructure. On the final day, a series of one-on-one conversations (Alaap), bringing together artists, curators, and arts leaders from across the Transforming Narratives community, will be held.

Sophina Jagot, Project Director Transforming Narratives said, “The vision for Transforming Narratives was about creating a cultural exchange between Birmingham, Bangladesh, and Pakistan for the mutual benefit of all those places, the Mela and Symposium will be a culmination of all of the different elements of our innovative programme. We look forward to sharing the work, connections, and achievements of Transforming Narratives through the festival, we see this as being the beginning of future creative and cultural connections across the three locations.”

Sadia Rahman, Transforming Narratives Creative Producer, added, “Transforming Narratives has worked with more than 500 people over the last four years, and the festival aims to reflect that engagement. There is so much variation in Birmingham, as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the Mela & Symposium will feature a sample from across the board, not just in terms of locational perspective but also from a gender perspective and different economic classes. We hope to share the breadth of work created through Transforming Narratives as well as showcase its influence.”

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