The project tells the stories of women’s journeys from Bangladesh to Birmingham, capturing the stories through drama techniques and telling them through Nokshi Kantha, a centuries-old embroidery heritage art form notable to Bangladesh.
Project Partner: New Hope Global Project Lead: Rumena Ahmed Location: Birmingham
Over 12 months, around 50 women have worked with artists Fateha Begum, Haseebah Ali, and Abeda Begum who share their heritage and language, so opening up this creative opportunity to them. The project enables the women to inherit and practice a stitching tradition which resonates with them from their family memories. At the same time, the women have built their confidence by engaging in an artform that is new to them, drama. Adding storyboarding and design to the mix, the women have stitched their migration stories into a book, sari, and other pieces.
Visualise your story workshop
Birmingham Science Museum
Images credit: Salsabil Khalifa
In 2024, the project will culminate in the showcasing of the group’s individual and collective designs to the public drawing on participants’ visits to exhibitions and galleries to develop their ideas on how to organise and exhibit their work. The work will be exhibited in venues such as Aston Hall and the Library of Birmingham.
By blending heritage and other artforms, the women have been able to shine a light on their own stories as a minority within a minority in Birmingham. Their sessions together have built skills and confidence, broken isolation and connected Birmingham’s longer-established Bangladeshi community with newly arrived Bangladeshi-heritage migrants that came to the city in the run up to Brexit from across Europe. Exhibiting the work in mainstream locations will increase the presence of Muslim audiences in these spaces and provide rich opportunities for cross-community encounter.