Award-winning contemporary artists and poets will write and perform completely new work inspired by the 70th anniversary of the partition of India and Pakistan at a unique one-off event in Manchester.

Imagined Homeland (July 2nd, HOME), part of Manchester International Festival, will explore the ongoing impact of partition on South Asian communities in the UK and across the world.

Poets and performers will observe discussions led by leading Partition experts, and prepare new work in response to themes as they unfold throughout the day.

Curated by Alnoor Mitha, Senior Research Fellow in Asian Cultures at Manchester Metropolitan University, the event is an early curtain raiser for some of the ground-breaking events which will form the 2018 Asia Triennial in Manchester.

This novel approach to memory and commemoration is designed to provoke a different reaction to the historical event of Partition, and challenge the audience into considering how the events of 70 years ago are still pertinent today.

The event will centre on the historical journeys that formed the largest mass migration in human history, dividing the country into a nationalist struggle with mass abduction and savage sexual violence.

Mitha said: “The effect of partition on South Asian communities both in the UK and across the globe has been seismic.

“Partition displaced more than 10 million people, creating a huge refugee crisis. The effect of this is still being felt today – not least in the troubled relationship between India and Pakistan.

“This event will see prominent speakers who have an interest in South Asian culture reflect on Partition’s ongoing socio-political influence 70 years after the event occurred.”

The performers scheduled to appear include Yandass Ndlovu, a dancer from Manchester who is part of the Young Directors at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Elmi Ali, a writer, poet and performer who has had work featured at the British Library and is associate editor of Scarf magazine, and Isiah Hull, a 19-year-old slam poet and BBC Radio 1Xtra Words First finalist.

Keynote speaker for the event is Professor Yasmin Khan, Associate Professor in British History at the University of Oxford, whose work focuses on the history of the British in India, South Asian decolonization and the aftermath of empire.

Her books include The Great Partition: the Making of India and Pakistan, and she has written for The Guardian, New Statesman, Prospect and BBC History Magazine.

Talks and discussions throughout the day will be led by distinguished speakers including Dilip Hero, an author and journalist who has written extensively on South Asian issues and the award-winning Balraj Khanna, considered one of India’s most renowned artists in Europe.

Professor Richard Greene, Vice Chancellor of the Research and Knowledge Exchange and Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Imagined Homeland presents a unique way of engaging with the historical events that led to the displacement of millions of people and ultimately the creation of two independent states.

“It highlights the way researchers, academics and writers from a number of disciplines can come together to engage with a topic in innovative and challenging ways.”

For tickets please visit the HOME website.

The event will take place on Sunday 2 July 2017, between 10.00 and 18.00. It will be act as a trailblazer for the Asia Triennial 2018 at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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