In November 2018, research grants were offered to cultural organisations and individuals wishing to undertake research in Birmingham, Pakistan or Bangladesh.
The selected applicants began their R&D programmes in spring 2019, including visits from Birmingham organisations to Bangladesh and Pakistan, and a curated visit of organisations from Bangladesh and Pakistan to Birmingham.
Together they will lay strong foundations for artistic projects that could take place between in the future involving partners in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The R&D projects included:
Mohammed Ali went to Bangladesh, where he used the painting of the mural to draw people in and find connections. Read more.
Aftab Rahman visited Bangladesh to explore the theme of 'Waterways', a heritage shared by both Birmingham and Bangladesh. Read more.
Linzi Stauvers from Ikon Gallery visited Lahore in Pakistan, to visit contemporary artists and curators relevant to the Ikon Programme. Read more.
Masuma Khwaja from I Am Karachi visited Birmingham with a view to inviting a Birmingham-based artist of Bangladeshi origin to Pakistan for research and participation as part of a public art festival titled “Postcode” in Karachi.
Lynette Dakin & Ruth Harvey from Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Artist Manjeet Mann, visited Bangladesh in April 2019 as part of the R&D for the Who Run The World audio theatre project.
Marvi Mazhar and Marium Hanif from Pakistan Chowk Community Centre visited Birmingham in March 2019, to collaborate with Legacy West Midlands and Sampad to exchange methodology and frameworks on community outreach. Read more.
Sonia Sabri and Musical Director and Co-founder of SSCo Sarvar Sabri conducted a 14 day visit to Bangladesh, forging links to inform R&D and build meaningful relationships for the longer term.
Aniqa Iqbal and Hiba Ali from the Citizen's Archive of Pakistan visited Birmingham in March 2019 with the aim of furthering CAP's legacy of community engagement by helping Transforming Narratives to create greater interest in, and deeper engagement with, contemporary arts by the South Asian community in Birmingham. Read more.
Kalaboration directors Mukhtar Dar and Bob Ramdhanie visited Pakistan, as part of their collaboration with community arts space Peace Niche/T2F in Karachi. Following this, artists from Peace Niche performed Sigh of the Musaafir at Birmingham Repertory Theatre as part of the Transforming Narratives launch weekend in March 2019. Read more.
Maryam Wahid visited Pakistan in May 2019, where she developed new photography work through conversations and exchanges with women in Pakistan as well as artists and community members.
Dipa Mahbuba Yasmin and Akramul Momen from Epiphania Visuals in Dhaka came to Birmingham, looking to collaborate with artists and organisations working on themes of religious fundamentalism, social and political crisis, marginal sexuality and gender discrimination.
Deborah Kermode from mac and Sooree Pillay from Sampad both visited Bangladesh, to establish relationships with artists and organisations, and reciprocal exchange of contemporary cultural practices.
Electronic music producer Dr Shayekh Mohammed Arif from Dhaka and vocalist/flutist Ifti Chowdhury from Dhaka/New York, performed at Bangladesh To Birmingham at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, as part of the Transforming Narratives launch weekend in March 2019.
Bengali artist Nafis Ahmed visited Birmingham to collaborate with the new generation of Bangladeshi-Birmingham musicians, learning about their culture and laying foundations for a future live music & multimedia project.
Murad Khan of Purbanat CIC visited Bangladesh to exchange views and share ideas that would lead to the production and showcase of meaningful, on-going and quality art works between Birmingham and Bangladesh
Arieb Azhar of Peace Niche visited Birmingham for R&D phase of 'Sigh of the Musaafir' in order to develop a working relationship with partners and other arts organisations in Birmingham.
Selected creative practitioners and cultural organisations from Pakistan and Bangladesh also visited Birmingham on a curated trip in order to explore Birmingham as a creative city, form connections for future projects, and attend the launch of Transforming Narratives.
Delegates were from Faiz Foundation Trust from Lahore; Olomopolo Media, Lahore; National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi; Tehrik-e-Niswan, Karachi and Walled City of Lahore Authority, Lahore; Britto Art Trust, Dhaka; Uronto Art Exchange, Dhaka; Bengal Foundation, Dhaka; Bengal Foundation, Dhaka; Jothashilpa, Dhaka and Shezhad Chowdhury, Artist & Independent Curator, Dhaka.