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Digital Collaborations Showcase film encapsulates international artists’ lockdown creativity

Photo credit: Atik Zisan - Gully Collective 
  • New film showcases and celebrates the projects, artists and organisations commissioned through the Digital Collaborations Programme.
  • It features 17 online projects that connected more than 100 creative individuals and groups in Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transforming Narratives has released a short film celebrating the projects, artists and organisations commissioned through its Digital Collaborations Programme.

The film takes viewers into studios, villages and outdoor spaces in locations including Lahore, Dhaka and Birmingham.

The Digital Collaborations Programme was developed in order to allow the Transforming Narratives programme to continue to support artists throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants totalling £75,000 were allocated to initiate new online collaborations which saw 17 projects connecting more than 100 individuals and groups in Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The projects include film, music, dance, spoken word, crafts, visual arts, podcasts, photography and debates and the showcase film brings together all these projects. The film celebrates the creative work and connections that were developed and maintained in spite of the restrictions and limitations brought about through the pandemic.

Difficult time for artists

Sophina Jagot, Transforming Narratives Project Director said: “The pandemic brought huge challenges and we were very aware that it was a really difficult time for artists and creatives in Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan and we really wanted to spread a bit of hope and provide a space for expression.

“These projects resulted in such incredible work, we wanted to create something long-lasting with this film – something which shows what can be done. I hope these digital projects are the beginning of new collaborations which can be realised in a much bigger way going forwards.”

Birmingham-based Amrit Singh has created the film which features each of the 17 projects, including his own project CollaborArtists, which was commissioned as part of the Digital Collaborations programme and brought together artists from Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan to create a single artwork.

“You can’t tell the entire story of each project but it’s highlighting each one so the viewer can see who was involved and what they were doing and they can then go and view them in more detail on the Transforming Narratives website,” said Amrit.

“I’ve always wanted to do a collaborative project and the idea of working with artists across the world was a real opportunity, I have never done it before. It was a real learning curve and a massive experimentation to see what would happen.

Opportunity and triumph

“For me, the two words which sum up this project are opportunity and triumph. The biggest thing I have learnt is that the world is very small now, there is no reason we can’t commission artists from around the world. I think before this we always thought it would be too difficult to do that.”

Transforming Narratives is a ground-breaking project that supports creative and cultural practitioners and organisations in Birmingham, to engage in exchange with artists and organisations in cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is managed by Culture Central, supported by Arts Council England and delivered in collaboration with The British Council.

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