Series of online events showcasing female talent in arts launched

The Adab Festival Pakistan in collaboration with the Bradford Literature Festival (BLF) and the British Council spreading and sustaining the movement of literary festivals across Pakistan by engaging with women in Literary festivals.
‘Producers of the Future: From Keighley to Karachi’ is a groundbreaking international collaboration between the BLF and the Adab Festival. The Adab Festival and the BLF have created and developed a series of online events for the BLF’s winter strand, ‘Words in the Winter’. Both platforms launched these events at a news conference on Tuesday in Karachi.

The project tackled the under-representation of South Asian women in the talent pipeline and positions of leadership in the British creative sector through a digital exchange and development programme, bringing together South Asian women from diverse communities in Bradford and across Pakistan.

The British Council’s Digital Collaboration Fund, which supports organizations in the UK and selected countries overseas to collaborate digitally on international projects, backed this project.

Adab Festival Director Ameena Saiyid said at the news conference that ‘From Keighley to Karachi’ is of great benefit to Pakistani female talent in the creative sector. She pointed out that women in the creative sector in Pakistan, particularly in the rural areas, face enormous challenges such as gender discrimination, segregation, exclusion from the public space, lack of mainstreaming, exposure and empowerment, and an insistence on male dependence.

However, she said, despite women treading a painful course, with every small victory snatched, with great effort and courage, from the teeth of hardened male prejudices, women are not discouraged and are moving ahead as pioneers while smoothing the way for those waiting.

“This project provided a wonderful opportunity for the brave, pioneering, and struggling women artists and writers of Pakistan,” she added. In this project, they have curated five online sessions after six months and are available on online platforms. The trainers were from the UK, she added.

She said that in 2010, she and Asif Farrukhi Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), an initiation of a literary movement in the country. She also said that after the KLF’s launch, several literature festivals were held. This project by the Adab Festival is a continuation of the movement for the promotion of literature, she added.

BLF Director Syima Aslam said that highlighting the value and variety of careers in the creative sector is a key priority for the BLF and that it has been an honour to lead this talent development project in partnership with the Adab Festival.

“The women were recruited across the boundaries of class and geography, and their training will enrich communities. We’re incredibly proud of the work curated by this inspiring cohost, and the marginalized conversations they have pulled into the mainstream.”

She said that this innovative project has successfully highlighted not only the impact of the arts in connecting communities but also the dynamic potential of creative careers and the importance of developing a sustainable talent pipeline.

The co-produced digital sessions will be available on the websites of the BLF (bradfordlitfest.co.uk/event/from-Keighley-to-Karachi) and the Adab Festival (www.adabfest.com).

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