Friday 20 September 2013


The British Council’s UK – South Asia Season 2013 promotes opportunities to connect, create and collaborate in the fields of education and culture between the UK and countries across the region, namely India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Iran. At a time of rapid progress and growing challenges, there is an increasing need for us to come together to foster an exchange of knowledge and ideas and develop opportunities for future collaboration.



Public programme of events

GEM: Contemporary Jewellery and Gemstones from Afghanistan
8 October – 29 November, British Council, London
An exhibition of Afghan jewellery design and manufacture illustrating the richness of traditional Afghan skills, the role of the creative industries in improving livelihoods and the extent of UK – Afghan collaboration. (Public exhibition)
The Djinns of Eidgah
18 October – 9 November, Royal Court Theatre, London
New play by Abhishek Majumbar (India), directed by Richard Twyman (UK) that paints a tragic portrait of a generation and a landscape lost to conflict in Kashmir. The Djinns of Eidgah was developed in 2010 as part of a project in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre, Rage Productions Mumbai and the British Council, which challenged 12 writers from all over India to write a play asking urgent questions about their changing country. 
Battle of Ideas: Debating Matters Competition International Final 2013
19 October, 5.30pm – 6.45pm, The Barbican, London
The Battle of Ideas will host the fifth UK versus India Debating Matters International Final, a showdown between the winners of Debating Matters Competition UK 2012/13 and the winners of the Debating Matters India Competition 2012/13 organised in partnership with the British Council. Students from Bangalore, India and Manchester, UK, will debate the motion Megacities are bad for the developing world. 
BOOKED! Reporting Across Borders: India and Pakistan
26 October, 1.30pm, University of Westminster, London
Sixty six years after the Partition of the British Indian Empire, tensions between India and Pakistan still exist, but what role does the press play in this complex relationship? Join senior journalists from leading publications in the region as they discuss the preconceptions that writers work against on a daily basis and how seemingly unlikely bridges can be formed when a story is printed. Speakers include New York Times correspondent Declan Walsh.
BOOKED! "Bangla Sahityo" - Influences of Bengali Literature on both sides of the Border
26 October, 7.30pm, University of Westminster, London,
Bengali literature, be it from Bengal or from Bangladesh, is one of oldest and richest literatures in South Asia, giving the world intellectuals such as Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Rammohan Roy, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Join writers Kunal Basu and Professor Kaiser Haq as they come together to exchange thoughts, influences and more.
BOOKED! Epic Stories - From Mythology to Imagination
29 October, 7pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn
The Indian epics, such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Shiva stories, have been re-written for hundreds of years, each new interpretation bringing fresh interest in these ancient sources. Writers in India such as Ashok Banker and Amish Tripathi have given these myths a makeover and expanded the genre, reaching new readers and making this one of fastest growing areas of literature in South Asian. Join Ashok and Amish, as they share the stories of their successes for the first time in the UK.
BOOKED! Addictive Cities
1 November, 7pm, Venue: Free World Centre
Mumbai, Calcutta, Karachi. Certain cities in South Asia have long been inexhaustible sources of inspiration for several generations of writers who have chronicled these multifaceted metropolises through the eyes of everyday people. The story of each of these cities is entwined with the lives of those who live in the shadows. Drugs, and people's relation with them, have also inspired storytellers, travellers and literary historians for generations. Meet acclaimed writers Amit Chaudhuri, author of The Immortals and Calcutta, and Jeet Thayil, poet and author of Narcopolis, which was shortlisted for both the Man Booker and Man Asian Literary Prizes, as they discuss their work.
Not What, But How
8 November, 7:30pm, Screening & discussion evening; Architectural Association, London
16 November – 14 December, Exhibition, Architectural Association, London
A screening of documentary film ‘A Village in a School” and conversation between WORKSHOP ARCHITECTURE and Vicky Richardson in advance of the exhibition ‘Not What, But How’ featuring Project Hariharpur, India. The exhibition from 15 November is about WORKSHOP ARCHITECTURE’s work in the field with local communities in a responsible, inclusive and sustainable process in Philippines and in India. (Public event and exhibition)

‘21st Century Universities’ – The future of Higher Education in South Asia
28-29 November, Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, Dubai, UAE
South Asia is facing a demographic dividend but to reap the benefit of this, issues of scale, sustainability, capacity and relevance need to be addressed within higher education provision. This dialogue, which will bring together over 100 senior policy makers from South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East and the UK.  The theme of the policy dialogue is to explore what future models are emerging and their impact on the institution, students and academics.


Invitation-only events

The events below are invitation-only, but we will endeavour to share content and offer discussion opportunities online during these events. Please follow @BritishCouncil on Twitter to stay up to date.
The Quest For Excellence: The Skills Revolution in the UK and South Asia
23-24 September, RSA London
This Policy Dialogue brings together tertiary and workforce policy-makers at national and regional levels, members of the business community and key practitioners from South Asia and the UK to examine current trends and best practices.
Future Collaborations in Design Education
11 October, 9am, British Council, London
From 7-13 October a delegation from leading universities in India will take part in a visit to the UK to share knowledge with their counterparts and explore possibilities for future collaboration. Join us to discuss trends and advances in design education and to engage in conversation about future opportunities over breakfast. (Invitation only)
Making a better world? A Re-Imagine Open Forum
30 October, Royal Court Theatre, London
An open discussion with experts from India and the UK to explore the underlying themes of The Djinns of Eidgah by Abhishek Majumdar. (Invitation only)
The changing shape of gender equality in South Asia; shifts, challenges and a new global partnership
4 November, 10am – 5pm, Asia House, London
This conference will explore the shifts that have taken place in South Asia as well as the challenges still to go. A stimulating panel of speakers from South Asia and the UK, led by Professor Naila Kabeer, LSE, will celebrate progress and plan action to remove the challenges. They will go on to create a platform to explore how a new global partnership can be mobilized to achieve gender equality in this exciting region. (Invitation only)
South Asia Forum
5 – 8 November, British Council, London
A week long programme of events addressing key issues in Education and Society, the Arts and English in order to strengthen the UK – South Asia partnership. (Invitation only)
Re-imagine: India-UK Cultural Relations in the 21st Century - book launch
5 November, 6.30pm – 8.30pm, British Council, London
A new volume of future-forging pieces by leading thinkers in India and the UK exploring the evolving relationship and tracing not only the shared history but also its contemporary ramifications will be presented by the editor followed by a panel discussion with several contributors. Edited by Shrabani Basu, the book includes essays by  Shrabani Basu, Mike King, Phillip Knightley, Indrajit Hazra, Tom Bird, Sanjoy K Roy, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Pradeep Kar, Sita Brahmachari, K. VijayRaghavan, Nirmalya Kumar, Jack Spence, Mihir S Sharma, Kapil Komireddi, William Crawley, David Page and Jo Johnson . Published by Bloomsbury India. (Invitation only)
UK – Iran Cultural Relations Roundtable
7 November, British Council, London
A roundtable discussion exploring the role of cultural relations in developing UK-Iran engagement. What can language, arts, and education contribute towards a refreshed and positive, forward-looking relationship? (Invitation only)
Raising standards in English language learning - New research and approaches from South Asia.
12 November, 10am – 2pm, British Academy, London
This half-day conference pulls together evidence and research generated from across the region to trigger a wider debate around the capacity and capability of existing educational systems to improve English language learning outcomes at school level.  The event will highlight research findings from studies conducted in India and Pakistan; the former a research collaboration between the British Council, the ASER Centre in India and the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism at Reading University; the latter a collaboration between the British Council, the Punjab State Education Board and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in Pakistan. (Invitation only)
Afghanistan – UK: strengthening cultural and educational relations post-2014
2 December, Houses of Parliament, London
Panel discussion on “The role of Cultural Relations in Afghanistan post 2014. (Invitation only)
Voices of Conflict and Resilience: Pakistan the Next Generation (report launch)
November / December, London
Will Pakistan receive a demographic dividend from its expanding youth population and how will the Next Generation shape the future of Pakistan? This Next Generation report examines personal stories of conflict and how individuals and communities develop resilience strategies. Working with partners and researchers we collected over 1800 individual stories. These stories illustrate key themes affecting the Next Generation and supported by 6 research papers, address the core issues emerging from them. The aim is to understand through issues of conflict, how individuals and groups have built strategies for resilience and to provide recommendations to frame policy discussions. Working with over 20 sector experts the Report explores both the personal narrative of conflict and the solutions available. (Invitation only)

Other events of interest

The events below are not organised by The British Council, but  we wanted to highlight other exciting South Asian events which are happening across London.


Dayanita Singh ‘Go Away Closer’, Photography Exhibition (India)
8th October – 15th December, Hayward Gallery
Dayanita Singh is internationally acclaimed for breaking away from the print-on-the-wall tradition of art photography and creating unique mass-produced artist’s books.
A Discussion about Western Artists and India (India)
10th October, INIVA, Rivington Place
A discussion from the author Shanay Jhaveri, who’s book identifies the cross-cultural exchanges that took place between India and the West after decolonisation.
Half of Heaven (Iran)
10th – 24th October, Chelsea Centre, Kensington and Chelsea College
A group exhibition of contemporary art produced by 5 female Iranian artists, with a panel discussion on Friday 11th. As part of the Nour Festival.
The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination (Iran)
11th October - 14th December, Brunei gallery, SOAS
The exhibition takes you on a journey from the earliest days of the religion to its emergence as the foremost religion of the empires of imperial Iran. 
Echoes of Silence, A tribute to female vocalists (Iran)
Friday 18 October 2013, Southbank Centre
A concert by Majid Derakhshani and Mahdieh Mohammed. The composer and instrumentalist is known for his innovative approach to traditional Persian music. 
Room 41: South Asia (Regional)
18th of October (Permanent Exhibition), The Nehru Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum
In an evocative architectural setting jewellery, textiles, furniture, arms and armour, metalwork and paintings of the Mughal and British periods (16th to 19th centuries) are displayed, together with the arts of the Rajput kingdoms of the north and the Muslim Sultanates of the Deccan.
Heart by Zendeh (Iran)
23rd to 26th October, Oval House Theatre
Heart by Zendeh, an explosive roimantic and political thriller of a play set against the backdrop of the Iran 1953 overthrow of Mossadegh.
Govinda Sah ‘Azad’, Lightness of Being, Painting Exhibition (Nepal)
31st October - 30th November, October Gallery
A solo exhibition by Govinda Sah 'Azad’ comprising of both small and larger-scale canvas paintings.
Tagore Distinguished Lecture Series (India)
6th to 8th November, India Institute
Professor Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard University, and one of India's leading architectural practitioners, will deliver the Tagore Centre's First Distinguished Lecture Series.  

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