Countdown to Transforming Narratives Mela & Symposium

Wed 16 March 2022

With days to go to the Transforming Narratives Mela & Symposium there is still time to register for your place. A three day celebration of contemporary arts and culture in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The Mela & Symposium is FREE to attend, register here. Pre-booked tickets allow for three days access to the Mela & Symposium online platform between 19 – 21 March.

The Mela & Symposium will feature artists and cultural organisations from Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan, including new artistic work. See the full programme here.

Artists include: Shehzad Chowdhury & Mahtab Hussain, Ahsan Bari & Sheikh Dina, Mukhtar Dar & Arieb Azhar, Fateha Begum & Sudip Chakroborthy, Tahia Farhin Haque, Shaheen K. Ahmed & Saba Khan, Adam Lewis Jacob, Rinkoo Barpaga, Arfun Ahmed, Kamruzzman Shadhin, Salma Jamal Moushum & Gidree Bawlee, Half Moon Collective, Maryam Wahid, Shallum Xavier, Labik Kamal Gaurob, Armeen Musa, Alycia Dias, Jenaan Hussain, Abdul Rafay, Ghaffar Ghani, Shariyar Rahman Sakib & Lisa Kim Candara, Nafis Ahmed & Yas Lime, Sara Mia.

Artist, curator and Festival contributor Sara Mia said: “I am pleased that the Emergency Jaruri জরুরী year-long exhibition will launch as part of the Mela & Symposium.  Jaruri is digital presentation of artists work from Bangladesh focusing on the complexities of the environmental crisis, including the climate emergency, pollution, habitat destruction and loss of species.

“The news, media, and frames of reference that most people who live in the UK have, are dominated by content from the Global North. I wanted to change this narrative by championing the work of pioneering artists who are making projects about this complex and emotional topic. Nature has influenced Bengali culture historically and continues to do so in the contemporary art scene.”

Sophina Jagot, Project Director for Transforming Narratives added: “The Mela & Symposium is an opportunity to see new work being created in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as an opportunity to engage in a series of talks and exchanges exploring issues facing artists and arts organisations across the three countries.

“The Transforming Narratives Mela & Symposium is the first event of this kind focusing in on artists and creatives across Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Festival feels like it’s just the beginning, in a really wonderful way, for the creative and cultural connections we’ve been fostering and encouraging through Transforming Narratives. We look forward to audiences experiencing something new and engaging in new conversations.”

Over the three days, there are three simultaneous programmes to experience:

  • Mela: Performances and presentations from artists based in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is your chance to see new work and experience the theatre, music, dance and visual art being made across our three locations, right now. (audio described)
  • Symposium: A programme of critical talks and debate, where we investigate pressing subjects facing artists and arts organisations in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Ālaap: A series of one-on-one conversations, bringing together artists, curators and arts leaders from across the Transforming Narratives community. The word Ālāp has two meanings: it refers to unstructured, improvised movements found in musical traditions across South Asia, and is also the word for first-meeting and free-flowing conversation between friends and new acquaintances.

Transforming Narratives is an international programme, supporting creative and cultural practitioners and cultural organisations in Birmingham to engage in cultural and creative exchange with artists and organisations in cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Transforming Narratives is organised by Culture Central in partnership with the British Council and Arts Council England and 10 Birmingham-based cultural organisations.