Manasamitra is delighted to announce the Launch of the Festival of Conversations 2023, with In Conversation with Dame Evelyn Glennie on 11th May 2023 at Dewsbury Town Hall.

The Background

The Festival of Conversations was originally presented as a pilot project in 2017, exploring the power of words and simple conversations between diverse communities. A series of conversations focussed 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. We worked with international sound artist Duncan Chapman, who captured sound bites from conversations in the community and combined them with field recordings from around Dewsbury town, creating a sound installation at Dewsbury Minster.

Festival of Conversations 2023

Manasamitra is excited to be developing the Festival of Conversations for Kirklees 2023. We are currently leading conversation sessions with different community groups to see what is interesting, exciting, infuriating or amusing to the local people. These topics will inform the series of talks, seminars and forum events that will form the basis of the Festival of Conversations throughout 2023.

We started festival activities in 2022, engaging communities in Kirklees, West Yorkshire and Asia with our Terrarium project, focussing on the theme of water and the impact of flood and/or drought on communities and individuals. The stories we heard influenced the creation of MELTWATER, a concert performance which took place at Dewsbury Town Hall in December 2022.

Our pre-Festival programme included:

Ralph Dartford: Dewsbury Library, November 2022

Ralph read poems from his 2 acclaimed collections, ‘Recovery Songs’ and ‘Hidden Music’ and discussed the positive relationship to be found between mental health and creative writing.

Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy: Dewsbury Library November 2022

This talk focussed on sustainability as day-to-day practice, charting the challenging journey on what is currently considered to be sustainable practice in dance costume, drawing on ancient history, manufacturing, climate economics and performance.

Meltwater: Dewsbury Town Hall December 2022

Our multi-media performance based on ice-shelf ‘calving’ and influenced by community conversations.

Meltwater: Dewsbury Minster December 2022

An evening of extracts from the full concert, discussion about the project and a special guest appearance by Dr Natasha Barlow, Associate Professor of environmental and sea-level change at the University of Leeds. 

Festival of Conversations is funded by Taking the Lead, which is a Dewsbury Town Investment Plan project funded by through the Town Fund and aims to support a vibrant cultural community in Dewsbury and surrounding areas using a programme of events, skills development and participatory opportunities across music, textiles, visual arts and performance. Exploring heritage, community, culture and beyond with people living, working and studying in Dewsbury as they plan for the future together.

Watch this space for all Festival activities throughout the summer of 2023.

Further info:

Music in Kirklees

Woven in Kirklees

Temporary Contemporary