Nottingham Mela Festival 2021

New Art Exchange, Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 6BE
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Mela 2021


Nottingham Arts Mela
Events from Friday 10 September to Sunday 12 September 2021
New Art Exchange

Get ready for the 2021 Nottingham Mini Mela!

Enjoy a weekend full of music, dance, poetry, family friendly events, storytelling, workshops, art, giant puppets and more!

Scroll down to see a list of what is planned... or Download 2021 programme

Come and take part in free activities, or simply watch and enjoy while trying something from the delicious desi menu specially created by the New Art Exchange Cafe.

As well as working with local schools, the event will showcase local creatives and talent. Whether you want a party atmosphere or to chill out with something more relaxing - there is something for everyone!

Drop ins throughout each day are welcome for most of the activities but a few events have booking links to ensure you get a space and arrive on time.


4 -5.30pm The Politics of Reading and Writing, Online
The Politics of Reading and Writing is an online conversation between Hindi writer Anjali Kajal and English language writer Kavita Bhanot. The conversation encompasses a 15-year transnational friendship between the two writers, centred on conversations around politics (with a big and small P) including the politics and process of reading, writing and translation from a feminist and anti-caste perspective.

Please book your free space in advance HERE to receive the link

6 - 8.30pm, Mela Launch, NAE
Enjoy free refreshments and live music with Stringbeats as you arrive. Find out more about the upcoming Mela weekend and experience a beautiful ghazal performance led by local musician Sashwati Walia. A ghazal is a poem normally set to music, written in Arabic. Traditionally ghazals invoke melancholy, love, longing and metaphysical questions, often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians.

Please book your free space HERE


A vibrant day of family friendly activities including art and dance workshops, dhol demos, henna and more!

10 - 6.30pm, Mela Food, NAE Cafe
Relax in the cafe with a delicious desi menu, and an especially created Mela playlist to listen to.

10:30-12pm, Saturday Mela Art Club, NAE Learning Space
Ages 4-7pm, younger children are welcome too. Drop in between 10.30-12 and take part in a family friendly art activity with resident Mela artists Ismail Khokon and Shamila Chady.

11-3:45pm, Storytelling with Mashi Theatre,  NAE Main Gallery
Drop into our story den and join these family friendly sessions running through the day.
Ages 5 plus

11- 3.30pm Bollywood, Bhangra and Yoga workshops running all day, NAE Performance Space
Bhangra Tots with Sohan Kailey
, 11-11.30am and 1.45-2.15pm, ages 3-7
Family Bhangra, with Bhumika Nehra 11.45 – 12.30pm
Family Bollywood, with Bhumika Nehra 12.45 – 1.30pm
Yoga with Mr.Sohal, sessions between 2.15 -4pm

1:30-3:30pm, Gulabi Warrior Art Workshop, NAE Learning Space
Drop in art workshop for all ages, come and make banners for the Gulabi Warriors procession happening later in the day!

2.30-3.30, Live music, NAE Cafe
Relax and live tabla and sitar, performed by String Beats

4-5pm, Gulabi Warriors Procession,  NAE & into the Forest Rec
Join us and our giant puppets for a joyful, fun procession! Ages 0-100!

Between 11 - 3.30, Dohl demonstrations, outside the NAE building
Led by Harjinder Singh Matharu and students from NAAC School of Music and Dance

4:30-6pm, Song of the Caged Bird: Qawwali Performance and Q&A, Online
Song of the Caged Birds is a Qawwali performance presented by Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association, who will be performing from Hyderabad, India. Qawwali is a musical ensemble associated with Sufi culture. Originally performed by groups of men, the themes of the songs are generally linked to spirituality or love. The Shaheen organisation has successfully adopted Qawwali genre to break the stereotype of the Qawwals (singers) to be only men and to create social awareness in the patriarchal community, through its gender-sensitising lyrics.

Please book in advance HERE to receive the link

5 - 6.30pm, DJ Set, NAE Cafe
Join us for a energetic DJ set with Amrita Kaur Kalsi, and the cafe's Desi menu!


Sunday's Mela programme is relaxed and chilled, with something for everyone.

10-4pm, Mela Food, NAE Cafe
Relax in the cafe with a delicious desi menu, with a nostalgic Mela playlist to listen to

10-11:15am, Yoga & Live Music, NAE Performance Space
Begin the day with yoga and live tabla. Immerse yourself in the rhythms of the tabla as you're guided through a gentle yoga class. The class will be suitable for all abilities.
Please book your free space in advance HERE

12:15- 1.15pm, Raag Recital with live tabla and violin, NAE Performance Space
A beautiful collaboration between Mendi Singh and Olivia Moor. This recital will be a calming and serene sound experience.

Please book your free space HERE

11-4pm, Family Storytelling, New Art Exchange Main Gallery
Drop in for family friendly storytelling with Mashi Theatre and Peter Chand. Sessions will be happening throughout the day, suitable for ages 5 plus.

11-4pm, Visual Arts Workshop, New Art Exchange Main Gallery
Drop in throughout the day and add to our pop up exhibition, inspired by art traditions from Bangladesh, working with artists Ismail Khokon and Shamila Chady. Ages 0-100!

12- 3pm, Poetry and Spoken Word Performances, New Art Exchange Cafe
Relax in the cafe, sip a chai or nimbu pani, and listen to traditional poetry performed by Jai Verma's local poetry collective Kavya Rang, followed by a spoken word set by Jay Sandhu

12-1.30 Jai Verma / Kavya Rang
2 - 2.45 Jay Sandhu

2:30-4pm, Kathak Performances, New Art Exchange Performance Space
Drop in throughout the afternoon to watch a series of dance performances, with Manushi Dance and Ankita Sethi

2-3:30pm, Adivasi Life and Folklore: Short Films by Seral Murmu, Online
Seral Murmu is an Adivasi filmmaker from Jharkhand in India whose films draw on oral Adivasi narratives, magical realism and experimental cinematography. His film Sondhayni (2019), for example, is a modern folktale that critiques the exploitation and destruction of the forest. Dissatisfied with the way Adivasi or 'Tribals' are depicted in Indian film, Seral Murmu makes a powerful statement about the urgent necessity to shift our perspectives and embrace creatively the diversity of the world we live in, here and there, beyond discriminatory and oppressive discourses.Join us for a rare opportunity to see a selection of Seral Murmu's films, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker himself.

Please book in advance HERE


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