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Transforming Narratives was founded in 2018 as a ground-breaking programme to support cultural and creative exchange between artists, creative practitioners and organisations in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Managed by Culture Central, supported by Arts Council England and the British Council, Transforming Narratives was delivered in association with The British Council and 10 Birmingham-based partners: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG)Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT)Birmingham Repertory TheatreIkon GalleryKalaboration ArtsLegacy West MidlandsMidlands Arts CentreSouth Asian Diaspora Arts Archive (SADAA)Sampad and Sonia Sabri Company.

Four years later, Transforming Narratives has supported and connected over 500 artists and creative practitioners from Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Commissioning new art and forging new connections 

Transforming Narratives brought artists, curators and organisations together, to promote new ways of thinking and working. Artists were supported to develop new work in an artist-led, trust-based approach.

R&D visits brought artists to Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In Birmingham, a series of community facilitator research reports were commissioned to better understand the context for people who identify as of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Kashmiri heritage living and / or working in Birmingham to develop our understanding of contemporary culture, people’s engagement with the city and experience of the city’s cultural life. 

When Covid hit, a new programme of Digital Collaborative Grants led to 17 new artistic commissions, linking the three spaces, and series of critical dialogue events encouraged debate.

The Transforming Narratives Mela & Symposium brought together artists and audiences in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh for a ground-breaking three day online festival, with 14 new commissioned projects.

Supporting professional development

The Cultural Leadership Programme brought forward a new generation of artistic leaders, from Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Cultural organisations were supported to programme new work 

10 Birmingham-based arts organisations formed a partnership, and curators and managers made new connections. 

This short film tells the story of Transforming Narratives, in the words of the artists we have worked with:

Read on: Timeline

Note: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed through projects funded by Transforming Narratives belong to the artists and organisations delivering these projects. They do not reflect the opinions or views of Culture Central, Arts Council England or the British Council, and their appearance on the Transforming Narratives website does not reflect any endorsement by these organisations. The topics and themes are chosen and expressed in these works by the artists and associated organisations, and are theirs alone.