Manasamitra is excited to be developing the Festival of Conversations for Kirklees 2023. The Festival will connect with different community groups, leading conversation sessions to discover what is interesting, exciting, infuriating or amusing to the local people and to hear their stories. Each session will include a creative activity, focussing on sound, music, writing and/or crafts.

As we discover the things that you are really talking about, we hope to programme a series of talks, seminars and forum events that will form the public element of the Festival of Conversations.

Activities to Date

Festival activities began in 2022 with our Terrarium project engaging communities in Kirklees, West Yorkshire and Asia. These focussed on 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.

Festival of Conversations Fun Palace

23 November / 11am – 3pm / The Howland Centre

The Festival of Conversations ‘Fun Palace’ invites you to join us in a day of fun-filled activities, run by and for local community groups.

The Weirdness of Water: an Evening with Alok Jha

15 June / 7:30pm / Dewsbury Town Hall

Alok is a journalist and author who will speak about his work and read from “The Water Book”.

Jan Courtney and Juicy Crones

9 June / 7:30 Dewsbury Town Hall

Jay will read extracts from her book “Juicy Crones” and will talk about the challenges of being an older woman in society today.

In Conversation with Dame Evelyn Glennie

11 May / 7:30 / Dewsbury Town Hall

A fascinating dialogue exploring the wealth of Evelyn’s experience as the first full-time solo percussionist in the world and her unique approach to sound.

Meltwater — Evening of extracts and talks

7 December / 7:30pm / Dewsbury Minster

Dr Natasha Barlow, Associate Professor of environmental and sea-level change, University of Leeds.

Dr Barlow runs a major European research project which is investigating how fast ice sheets melted, and how fast sea level rose, when the Earth’s climate was last warm (around 125,000 years ago).  She has conducted fieldwork at sites around the North Atlantic and Alaska, and has been involved in research from Greenland to South Georgia, a small sub-Antarctic island. She is leader of the international PALaeo SEA level and ice sheets (PALSEA) working group and her research has been included in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. 

Meltwater Performance

2 December / 7:30pm / Dewsbury Town Hall

The MELTWATER performance is the culmination of Manasamitra’s ‘Terrarium’ project, which worked with local communities in the UK, India, Indonesia and Portugal to elicit personal narratives of the impact of flood and drought.  MELTWATER focuses on the melting polar ice-caps, using the amazing diversity of sound created by ice sheets turning back into water; drips, running streams, crashing ice, to create a haunting and evocative performance.

Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy

29 November / 6:15pm / Dewsbury Library

This talk takes the audience on a quest to understand sustainability as day-to-day practice. It charts a challenging journey on what is currently considered to be sustainable practice.   The result is an exciting discovery about materials; their use, heritage and embedded sustainability practices.

Drawing on ancient history, manufacturing, climate economics and performance, the talk weaves together a narrative on the Bharatanatyam costume. What will it take for a dancer to stop buying new costumes, and yet sustain a vibrant and stimulating practice? 

Ralph Dartford

Tues 15 November / 6:15pm / Dewsbury Library

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

Ralph’s talk will end with a Q&A.