Transforming Narratives’ Cultural Leadership Programme provided a unique opportunity for artists and creative professionals in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh to meet with each other and contribute to the curation and delivery of new projects within a ground-breaking international partnership.
Taking place in two distinct phases during summer-autumn 2021, the programme built skills, confidence and knowledge, and extended professional networks for emerging and established cultural leaders. The CLP participants learn about the challenges and opportunities in leading collaborative, international, cultural activity.
Phase One of the programme was delivered Culture in Flux and a team from the Institute of Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths College, University of London alongside Culture Central.
Phase Two of the programme was delivered by Hybrid Consulting with Culture Central. Read Dr Samina Zahir's insights into the programme in this interview.
24 people took part in the programme, all of whom are emerging and established leaders from Birmingham, Pakistan or Bangladesh, who have experience of, or an interest in, the arts or creative industries. Here’s more about some of the participants:
Jafrin thrives in a multidisciplinary cosmos of making art, art writing and research. Her work encompasses personal experience and collective activism that expressively engages the everyday circumstance of life. Most recently her work has focused on art collection management and archiving at the Bengal Foundation.
Masudul is a Bangladeshi freelance filmmaker, photographer and storyteller. He is former Co-ordinator of the International Children's Film Festival of Bangladesh. From 2017 to 2019 worked on national newspaper The Daily Prothom Alo as a photo-journalist and documentary film maker, where he gained experience of working in rural areas with different NGOs. His work currently is focused on developing his own creative advertising agency, Beetoqs.
Jesmin is head of the department of Art and Design at BAF Shaheen College, Dhaka. After receiving both Bachelor and Masters degrees in drawing and pinting at Dhaka University, she started her early career as an animator, where we worked on a production of Sesame Street for Bangladesh TV. Besides painting she loves puppetry, illustration, installation, fashion design, mural, ceramics and craft.
Salma Jamal Moushum
Salma develops and directs projects at Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts, which is based in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh. Her research interests revolve around the concepts of participatory art, art in public sphere, social practice and community art.
Proggna Paromita Majumder
Proggna is an educationist and cultural practitioner. She is deeply passionate about promoting art and cultural exchange. Through her management of art projects, she aims to develop truly talented artists, giving them a platform to worldwide audiences. She also enjoys reading, writing and translating novels.
Ayreen is a visual artist, writer, researcher, musician and social actor from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her work portrays visions of spiritual awakenings through mystical states, exploring life and asking questions. Her work is described as her personal journey of healing, awakening, becoming and unbecoming. She loves to travel to connect through nature and collects human stories to experience different emotions.
Hira is an architect and an interdisciplinary research-based artist. Her practice is an exploration of places and people in relation to context, history, cultural heritage and nuances of the city. She travels to get inspired and writes to share her voice amongst other musings.
Sana works to support widows, rape victims, acid victims and transgendered people. As a writer, her short stories have been published in leading magazines of Pakistan. She is co-founder of clothing brand Estillo Attire, which has a vision to provide economic empowerment to marginalised women of Pakistan. She also likes to travel, read and try different cuisines. Twitter: @sananoor83
Shama has been associated with the performing arts for the last twenty years. She has worked with various mediums within the discipline, including dramatised readings, and next aims to explore the field of translation as a means of connecting and communicating with a wider audience.
Sakshi is a visual artist living in Karachi, Pakistan. She has recently graduated from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture with a bachelors degree in Fine Art. Her work is experimental and revolves around various mediums and artistic techniques, such as miniature, painting, photography, computer graphics and digital art. Sakshi is currently working as an Assistant Project Coordinator at Vasl Artists’ Association.
Ahsan Iqbal Bari
Ahsan is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Karachi, Pakistan. He works across film, music, theatre and poetry, and works actively as a collaborator and a mentor. He is the founder of world music ensemble Sounds of Kolachi. Currently Bari is serving as Director of Special Programs for Music at the Arts Council of Karachi, Pakistan.
Noor Ul Ain
Lahore and Gilgit
Noor graduated from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2017 and trained as a conservator at at Agha Khan Culture Service, Pakistan. She is now a professional visual artist. Inspired by historical sites, her work has multiple layers of interventions. She particularly enjoys exploring and experimenting with organic mixed-media on a huge scale canvases.
Fiha Barkat Ali
Fiha’s work is focused on the majority-minority politics of our everyday lives and surroundings. Through her work, she aims to creating dialogues around unquestioned aspects of society that primarily affect over-looked genders, disadvantaged religious groups and marginalised ethnicities. She believes such conversations would be a step forward to a more inclusive living system.
Asma is an Architect and an interdisciplinary research based artist. Her practice is an exploration of places and people in relation to context, history, cultural heritage and nuances of the city. She travels to get inspired and writes to share her voice among other musings.
With over 30 years’ experience of working in the creative sector, Mukhtar is an accomplished artist, creative producer, artistic director and festival organiser. He is the artistic director of Kalaboration Arts, a Birmingham-based arts development agency, and of Simmer Down Festival, one of UK’s biggest reggae music and arts festivals.
Abeda developed an interest in creative sewing at a young age, exploring embroidery and needlepoint as a means to create artworks with decorative stitches and beading. She has been involved with community projects creating textiles and mixed media canvases, and particularly enjoys the therapeutic benefits of creativity.
As a diaspora visual artist, Makbul Chowdhury is well known both in England and Bangladesh for his work, which is deeply rooted within his community and culture. Makbul’s short and documentary films have been shown in many international festivals. He is an active community activist in his home town of Birmingham, and is the founder member of Bangla Connection, a community organisation that promotes art as a medium for change and raising aspirations.
Fateha has over 20 years of experience in arts and education as a drama practitioner. Working with local and national organisations, she has delivered programmes of work to engage and increase participation from disengaged and diverse participants. As a British Bangladeshi, Fateha sees herself as a positive role model for young women who would not traditionally consider the arts sector as a career option.
Omar is an independent film producer, writer and arts curator, and also a practicing lawyer. He has worked extensively with the BFI, Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council, championing diverse artists and human rights activism. His latest projects for 2021 include the FILM/GAGE Film Festival, Small Heath Voices, Lockdown Diaries and the Kashmiri Arts Forum.