Bradford College was proud to host the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce Pakistan Calling event on Thursday 15th January at the new campus, The David Hockney Building.
"This event is great as it gives a different perspective on Pakistan through art. The need for art is so important as it tells us about beauty, love, joy and hope."
Cllr Alyas Karmani
Held within the Michele Sutton Theatre, the event featured key speakers, Anwar Akhtar, Director of The Samosa and co lead Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Pakistan Calling; Cllr Alyas Karmani, Chair of Just West Yorkshire and Cllr Ralph David Ritchie Berry, Children and Young People's Services.
RSA Pakistan Calling is an online film project showing links between civil and cultural organisations and communities in Pakistan and the UK. The event featured screenings from some of the films in RSA Pakistan Calling www.thersa.org/pkcalling. These films explored some of the many pressing social problems faced by Pakistan and shone a light on, and supported, some of the inspiring stories of people and organisations tackling these issues.
“I think this event is very important as it gives people a different take on issues to do with Pakistan, their identity and the links between the two countries."
Cllr Ralph David Ritchie Berry
Speaking at the event, Cllr Alyas Karmani said: “This event is great as it gives a different perspective on Pakistan through art. The need for art is so important as it tells us about beauty, love, joy and hope. It’s important that we create perspectives and views that change the perception of Pakistan and actually show what it really is. It is a country that is enormously vibrant, creative and has beautiful landscapes. When you do that, it opens people’s views, which supports social integration even more.”
During his presentation Cllr Alyas Karmani spoke about his experience as a British Pakistani growing up and the challenges that he faced relating to identity and belonging.
Cllr Ralph David Ritchie Berry said:“I think this event is very important as it gives people a different take on issues to do with Pakistan, their identity and the links between the two countries. It opens up a range of issues that would never be explored if we did not have the tool of film, Anwar’s work, The Samosa and the input of the RSA.”
The screening was followed by talks by the panel and a question and answer session. The event aimed to encourage young people from Bradford to engage with film and journalism skills, storytelling and media campaigning.
“We hope that students will use the films as a curriculum resource to encourage them to consider working in international development, international media or conflict resolution, whilst also engaging with the world and expanding their horizons."
The films also explored issues of identity, integration and the aspirations of British citizens with Pakistani heritage. Working with film makers from Karachi, Lahore, London, Luton and Manchester, over 60 films have been produced and curated looking at identity, education, equality, culture, health, development, conflict resolution, women, tolerance and minority rights issues in Pakistan and the UK. The film platform is a resource that can be used by community organisations, academics, students, women’s groups, teachers and youth workers.
Anwar Akhtar said: “We hope that students will use the films as a curriculum resource to encourage them to consider working in international development, international media or conflict resolution, whilst also engaging with the world and expanding their horizons. Sometimes people can be isolated in their communities so to have a polarity of views around race, culture, religion and development is really important as it gives them the tools to manage in a globalised 21st century.”
The project aims to increase awareness and support for Pakistani civil society organisations and activists’, working to tackle the country’s many pressing social problems. The project hopes to promote cross-cultural dialogue and community trust in the UK by profiling the many different faces of Pakistan and supporting filmmakers working in areas such as Arts, Social Welfare and Citizen Journalism.
Pakistan Calling builds on a project run by the RSA and www.thesamosa.co.uk in 2011. It provides a platform for filmmakers in Pakistan and the UK, and articulates the many relationships between Britain and Pakistan. Events in Lahore and Karachi affect families and communities in Bradford and Manchester and the project aims to build stronger links between Pakistani social projects, the British Pakistani diaspora and a wider group of social entrepreneurs in the UK, fostering positive dialogue about Pakistan in Britain.