City to City: Poetry from Lahore and Glasgow

From 22 to 25 November 2014, the British Council, Highlight Arts, and Sang-e-Meel Publications brought two poets from Lahore, and two from Glasgow together in Lahore, Pakistan for a four day residency of translation workshops and collaborative poetry experiments. Through the act of translation, the poets Khalid Javiad Jan, Jim Carruth, Afshan Sajjad and Katherine Sowerby were able to re-interpret the meaning of each poem, their traditional history as well as the social and political contexts they were written in each city.

The project concluded with a recital at the Al-Hamra Arts Council, where each of the poets’ presented their work, followed by a musical performance by Rafaqat Ali Khan, who turned the translated poems into songs. For audiences in Lahore, this experience allowed the presentation of poetry in a new way, where they were able to appreciate the similarities of expression between to the two languages.

Building upon the success, in May 2015 the project moved on to stage two, where four poets from each city met in Glasgow along with two musicians. Kishwar Naheed, Khalid Javaid Jan, Afshan Sajjad and Ali Akbar Natiq were able to engage with Jim Carruth, Gerry Cambridge, Vicky Husband and Katherine Sowerby alongside the musicians, Sara Kazmi and Sarah Hayes. The second residency culminated with presentations at the Alchemy Festival, with an event at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the South Bank Centre in London.