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R&D Blog - Citizen's Archive of Pakistan visit to UK

The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the cultural and historical preservation of Pakistan operating in Sindh and Punjab.

Their three main goals are: to preserve and provide access to their archive, to build and support educational programs, and to develop educational products based on the testimonies they collect.

As part of the British Council Leadership and Development grant for Transforming Narratives, Aniqa Imran (General Manager, CAP Karachi), and
Hiba Ali (General Manager, CAP Lahore) visited Birmingham and London from 20th March to 3rd April, 2019.

Their visit started with a tour of IKON Gallery, where they briefly met with Linzi Stauvers, the Head of Learning at the gallery. Later that evening, they attended the Transforming Narratives launch ceremony at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

During their travels, Aniqa and Hiba met with multiple organisations belonging to Pakistan, Birmingham, and Bangladesh. One of said organisations was the South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive (SADAA), where they participated in an introductory workshop on 22nd March. On the weekend of 23rd March, Aniqa and Hiba attended a theatre performance by Kalaborations titled ‘Sigh of the Musaafir’, as well as an
immersive three-course dining experience, ‘Bangladesh to Birmingham’. They also met with Pilali Ray, the Director for SAMPAD- an organisation that supports, commissions, and co-produces a large variety of arts and heritage activities inspired by art forms originating from South Asia.

They began the next week at Stans Café, attending the ‘Small & Independent Arts Organisational Meet Up’ hosted by the Fierce Collective, and went on to attend a brainstorming session hosted by the Mohammad Ali, Director of Soul City Arts at the Moseley School of Arts. Following
was a heritage walk through West Midlands and Soho House with Aftab Hussain, the founder of Legacy West Midlands.

Part of CAP and R&D’s goal was to facilitate maximum exposure to Birmingham’s museums and art scene. This included giving Aniqa and Hiba
an insight to the way museums function in the UK- the two met with the Curatorial Team Leader of the Birmingham Museum Trust, Rebecca
Bridgman, and her team, learning about the archives through a tour and conversation. In the course of their visit, they toured the museum fully,
including a tour of the Birmingham Museums Collection Centre, one of the UK’s largest museum stores with stored objects dating back 5000 years.

Aniqa and Hiba had the chance to interview Pakistani artist Faisal Hussain at his studio in Minerva Works, Digbeth. They also interviewed the Director of Kalaboration and artist Mukhtar Dar. Their last meeting was with an award-winning artist, Sarah Maples. The conversation took place at Tate Britain in which they spoke about her family, contemporary visual art, and her life as an artist.

Their visit helped CAP understand museum culture, experience audience engagement, and share knowledge in a multi-cultural atmosphere.
This was one of the first steps in ensuring a long-term cultural relationship between Pakistan and Birmingham, especially in terms of forming contacts and pursuing potential collaborations.

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