The Transforming Narratives Mela & Symposium is a three day celebration of contemporary arts and culture in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh taking place 19 – 21 March 10am – 4pm GMT / 3 – 9pm PKT / 4 – 10pm BDT.  Register now, tickets are free but must be pre-booked at

For those who can’t join the full festival, the Mela will be live streamed on Transforming Narratives’ YouTube and Facebook channels.

Bringing together artists, organisations and audiences the Mela and Symposium is a digital festival, on a dedicated online platform for new art, music, film, critical discussion and reflection. Over three days there are three simultaneous programmes to experience:

Mela: Performances and presentations from artists based in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh. An opportunity to see new work and experience the theatre, music, dance and visual art being made across Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh, right now. Events include a screening of Dhaka Say Karachi Chapter Two, a film telling the parallel stories of Bangladesh capital Dhaka and Karachi in Pakistan, led by Ahsan Bari of Pakistan in collaboration with Sheikh Dina of Bangladesh, and Dear … Kindest, a film exploring personal feelings of home, belonging and identity created by Shehzad Chowdhury in Bangladesh in collaboration with Mahtab Hussain in Birmingham.

Symposium: A programme of critical talks and debate, investigating pressing subjects facing artists and arts organisations in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh from how local infrastructure shapes global conversations in the arts to the importance of self-organised groups and initiatives within the arts infrastructure.

Ālaap: A series of one-on-one conversations, bringing together artists, curators and arts leaders from across the Transforming Narratives community.

Sophina Jagot, Project Director Transforming Narratives said: “The vision for Transforming Narratives was about creating a cultural exchange between Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan for the mutual benefit of all those places, the Mela and Symposium will be a culmination of all of the different elements of our innovative programme. We look forward to sharing the work, connections and achievements of Transforming Narratives through the Festival, we see this as being the beginning of future creative and cultural connections across the three locations.”

Sadia Rahman, Transforming Narratives Creative Producer added: “Transforming Narratives has worked with more than 500 people over the last four years and the festival aims to reflect that engagement. There is so much variation in Birmingham, as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh and the Mela & Symposium will feature a sample from across the board, not just in terms of locational perspective but also from a gender perspective and different economic classes. We hope to share the breadth of work created through Transforming Narratives as well as showcase its influence.”

Pre-booked tickets allow for three days access to the Mela & Symposium online platform between 19 – 21 March. Once registered joining instructions will be provided allowing attendees to hop in and out of the Mela, Symposium and Ālaap to suit. Access will also allow attendees to network with other delegates and contribute to discussions. For those who can’t join the full festival, the Mela will be live streamed on Transforming Narratives’ YouTube and Facebook channels.

Transforming Narratives is an international programme, supporting creative and cultural practitioners and cultural organisations in Birmingham to engage in cultural and creative exchange with artists and organisations in cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Transforming Narratives is organised by Culture Central in partnership with the British Council and Arts Council England and 10 Birmingham-based cultural organisations.


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