The exciting Festival of Conversations was a pilot project exploring the power of words and simple conversations between diverse communities. It was intended as a series of conversations focussing on subjects and challenges that unite us, emphasising the similarities between communities rather than the differences.
The Festival was a direct response to the social environment post-Referendum that necessitated discussion, debate and conversations in the community. As part of the festival we devised a sound installation that captured sound bites from the conversations held in the community and combined this with field recordings from around Dewsbury town. The Festival culminated in a sharing event at Dewsbury Minster where the sound installation was launched for the local communities to experience and enjoy.
From early May to late October 2017, Supriya Nagarajan, the Artistic Director of Manasamitra, worked with communities, developing and leading a series of creative workshops that led to the Festival of Conversations, involving the community groups and families, friends and members of the wider community. Manasamitra and Supriya have been involved in the community for several years and have seen the impact of such work in the local area. Working with international sound artist Duncan Chapman, Supriya created the platform for the designated communities to meet, socialise and exchange stories which were recorded and compiled into the soundscape.