August Programme – Peace after Partition

Thank you to everybody who attended our programme of events throughout August. It was a great success.

Wednesday 2nd August, 5.30pm: The Forgotten Experiences of Pakistani Women in West Yorkshire, 1960-1980


When historians have thought about Pakistani migrants to postwar Britain they have tended to privilege male migrant experiences and only added women into the narrative as ‘mothers’ and ‘wives’ who followed them. In our current climate, where Pakistani Muslims – especially from West Yorkshire – are deemed unassimable, ‘segregated’ and living parallel lives, this talk intervenes not only on historical oversight but contemporary prejudice too. Women are central to the contemporary narrative but missing from the historical one – and the excuse and explanation in both cases is ‘culture’.

By examining Pakistani women’s lives on their own terms, through oral histories and previously untapped archival material – including Urdu-language newspapers and local council records – this talk will contextualise women’s lives, uncovering the way that ‘culture’ has not, in fact, been the dominant and determining force in their lives. Instead, this talk will explore the ways that race, class and gender shaped many more of their experiences, as well as their own agency and survival strategies, leading to significant variation in women’s personal histories.

Speaker biography:

Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan is a Postcolonial Studies masters student at SOAS. She completed her undergraduate degree in History at Cambridge last year and now writes and speaks on topics of gender, race, intersectionality and decolonising epistemologies. Her writing can be found at her blog




Wednesday 9th August, 5:30pm: Peacebuilding across the Middle East and South Asia: A conversation

Despite the growing number of NGOs and peacebuilding professionals across the Middle East and South Asia, why do the prospects of a peaceful future seem to be diminishing? Having gained experience in both regions, Abdulla Saad seeks to engage in a critical discussion about their peacebuilding models and the structures through which real peacebuilding can and needs to take place.

Speaker biography:

Abdulla Saad is a Palestinian research masters student in politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where he is currently working on his dissertation, tentatively titled Collective Identity Among Jihadi Groups: The Effects of Transmission Networks. Before moving to London, Abdulla worked in youth development and peacebuilding, most significantly in Lebanon and Pakistan. His roles mainly consisted of carrying out research and writing grant proposals, but he also spent significant amounts of time on sites as a projects officer and planner. Alongside his role as a student, Abdulla is committed to freeing Palestine, fighting Orientalism and tweeting about Pakistani cricket. You can reach him .



Tuesday 15th August, 1pm – 4pm: Urdu Calligraphy of the Subcontinent **Registration required**

The Nastaliq Script is one of the major six Arabic scripts.  The flowing harmonies of the script are instantly recognisable and it’s use surpassed the Arabic language, becoming the favoured calligraphic form for Farsi and Urdu. In this fascinating afternoon, hear about the script’s history and have an introductory session at using traditional pens to write Urdu in the Nastaliq script. To register, please email [email protected] or reserve a ticket here.

Facilitator biography:

Razwan Ul-Haq’s interest in calligraphy was sparked through his Uncle, the Katib Fazal-Azeem.  He was initially taught by his father and after travelling the Middle East, he has gone on to draw from the minimalist tradition in Islamic Art. He is also a writer; two Art novels are in print, Black Taj Mahal and Sultan Vs. Dracula.  According to Hollywood Actor Sean Stone, (son of multi-Oscar winning Director Oliver Stone), “Sultan Vs Dracula is an important reimagination of the encounter between Islam and the West around the fall of the Byzantine Empire.” His work has appeared on Channel 4, ITV and the BBC.  Razwan has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums. Website:


Tuesday 15th August, 5.30pm: The Grand Truck Project #70YearsOn

As we mark the independence of India from the British Empire, join us for a panel discussion on whether the history of colonialism and Empire should feature within the national curriculum. Would a greater understanding and acceptance of British history contribute to peacemaking?


Kauser Jan is a Bradfordian single parent of two and proud grandmother. She has a wealth of experience and have held several senior posts such as Teacher Advisor and deputy Head. She is currently an Assistant Head teacher in a primary school of over 700 children and 98 staff. She leads the parents’ council, supporting an environment for parents to have a voice. Kauser sits on many boards and has many hats, including National Union of teachers school representative, International Solidarity Officer (NUT), Race Advisory Panel for the NUT (National), Chair of West Yorkshire Muslim community safety forum, Nisa Nashim – Jewish and Muslim Women Steering and Global Citizenship Steering Group.

Sasha Bhat was born and raised in Srinagar. She has a clinical background in systemic psychotherapy and has worked on community NHS programs for over 13 years. She has extensive knowledge of the voluntary and community sector and has managed patient engagement and service user initiatives with a strong track record of developing and delivering grass roots services. She currently works in Bradford.

Melissa Owusu

Dr Katy P. Sian is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York. She completed her PhD in 2009 at the University of Leeds in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. From 2010-2012 Katy worked on the TOLERACE project (FP7) as a post-doctoral researcher in the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS) University of Leeds. She moved to the University of Manchester in 2012 where she held a lecturing position in Sociology before taking up a Hallsworth Research Fellowship in 2013. Katy has held visiting research posts at the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) and the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society (CSRS) at the University of Victoria, Canada. Katy is the author of, Conversations in Postcolonial Thought (2014) New York: Palgrave; Unsettling Sikh and Muslim Conflict: Mistaken Identities, Forced Conversions, and Postcolonial Formations (2013) Lanham: Lexington Books; and co-author of, Racism, Governance, and Public Policy: Beyond Human Rights (2013) London: Routledge. Her research interests include, postcolonial studies; critical race theory; inter-ethnic relations; Sikh studies; Islamophobia and the war on terror; religion and identity; migration and diaspora.

Manoj Joshi was born in Uganda of Indian origin, and came to the UK in 1973 as a refugee. He studied Pharmacy and Business Management and then worked as a Laboratory Technician in a small Manufacturing Chemist. He then spent 27 years at AstraZeneca, and started businesses in deprived areas of Bradford, increasing employment levels. He’s a founder of the Bradford Academy, a school of 2000 pupils. Manoj has taken a leading part in several voluntary, charitable and community organisations, continuing to create access for young people into employment, and support and care services for the elderly and vulnerable across Bradford. Among his many different roles, Manoj has been involved in Bradford Breakthrough, served as an honorary faith advisor at the University of Bradford since 2007 and is Chairman of the Lord Mayor of Bradford Appeal Committee. He’s been married for 37 years and has 2 children and 2 grandchildren.

Zain Haider Awan is a multi award winning campaign strategist and youth in development specialist. He was the first British Pakistani director of the British Youth Council where he was responsible for international representation. Whilst studying for his degree in Development Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS, Zain founded Dervish Creative, a boutique creative agency specialising in public sector campaigning and storytelling. Zain’s expertise has been sought out to work on development projects from Iraq, Kenya, Mauritius and other parts of South Asia for a whole host of partners including the Commonwealth Secretariat and the British Council. He was a strategist for the Ilmpossible campaign an advocacy youth led movement for primary education rights in Pakistan. In 2016, Zain is the producer docuseries ‘uprooted’ where he travelled to Pakistan and travelled across the country exploring issues of identity and diaspora imaginings. Zain is currently an Artist in Residence for Metal where his work centres around the first wave of Muslim migrants to Peterborough these being men predominantly from the Azad Kashmir. As a creative producer and spoken word artist, Zain engages with his identity and the layered, sophisticated and complex ways it interacts. Zain serves as a board member and creative director of the Grand Trunk Project – a peace and reconciliation project to build bridges amongst affected communities during the partition.

Thursday 17th August, 5.30pm: Gurmukhi Calligraphy of the Subcontinent **Registration required**

This workshop will consist of a brief introduction to Gurmukhi Calligraphy, a tutorial covering key letter formations and the use of calligraphy tools, and a practical session in which you will be able to practise writing. Suitable for both absolute beginners and more experienced writers. To register, please email [email protected] or reserve a ticket here.

Facilitator biography:

Amrit Kaur is a Sikh artist, calligrapher and interfaith activist. She leads calligraphy workshops around the country and has spoken at various interfaith events in West Yorkshire. She is a volunteer for the British Organisation of Sikh Students and is regularly involved in Sikh youth camps. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Optometry from the University of Bradford.



Wednesday 24th August, 5:30pm: Shy Radicals: The antisystemic politics of the militant introvert

In collaboration with Bradical Zine, join us for a conversation with author Hamja Ahsan about Shy Radicals.
The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear – Lao Tzu

Drawing together communiqués, covert interviews, oral and underground history of introvert struggles (Introfada), here for the first time is a detailed documentation of the political demands of shy people. Radicalised against the imperial domination of globalised PR projectionism, extrovert poise and loudness, the Shy Radicals and their guerrilla wing the Shy Underground are a vanguard movement intent on trans-rupting consensus extrovert-supremacist politics and assertiveness culture of the twenty first century. The movement aims to establish an independent homeland – Aspergistan, a utopian state for introverted people, run according to Shyria Law and underpinned by Pan-Shyist ideology, protecting the rights of the oppressed quiet and shy people.

This anti-systemic manifesto is a quiet and thoughtful polemic, a satire that uses anti-colonial theory to build a critique of dominant culture and the rising tide of Islamophobia.

Speaker biography:

 Hamja Ahsan is an writer, curator, activist and artist. He co-founded DIY Cultures Festival in 2013. He is a campaigner for prisoners, human rights and civil liberties under the War on Terror, and was shortlisted for the Liberty Human Rights awards for the Free Talha Ahsan campaign. He has presented art projects at Tate Modern, Gwangju Biennale, Shaanakht festival Pakistan and Shlipa Academy, Bangladesh. He was nominated for the Al-Hamra Award (Muslim News) Award for excellence in the Arts for the Redo Pakistan touring art project.

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