Working to help transform the intellectual landscape of the Bangladeshi community in the UK and discover and celebrate the shared common roots of Britain's diversity

Brick Lane Circle                                     

Welcome to website of Brick Lane Circle!

We hope you will find the website interesting, informative and stimulating. If you have any suggestions about how we can create opportunities for visitors to interact with materials posted and important debates and discussion we would like to hear from you.




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Fourth annual conference on

STORY OF BANGLADESH & BANGLADESHI PEOPLE, AT HOME AND IN THE DIASPORA

Saturday 17 May 2014, 2.00-7.00pm
Brady Arts Centre, 192-196 Hanbury St, London E1 5HU
 

Rohingya and their problem
  

 

By Nurul Islam, Chairman, Arakan Rohingya National Organisation

Nurul Islam was born in 1948 in Arakan, Burma. Actively took part in Muslim student activities and Rohingya movement while studying in Rangoon University. Worked as the President of the Rangoon University Rohingya Student Association in 1971.


Tears In The Fabric

A Documentary Film
           


By The Rainbow Collective

The Rainbow Collective: Hannan Majid and Richard York have been working together as documentary filmmakers since graduating (www.rainbowcollective.co.uk, raisingforrana.com)

In Savar, Bangladesh, Razia struggles to raise her 2 grandchildren after losing her daughters in the Rana Plaza factory collapse which claimed the lives of over 1000 garment workers. 1 year after the disaster, TEARS IN THE FABRIC follows Razia as she searches for resolution and answers through protest on the streets of Dhaka, in the education of her grandsons and amongst the rubble and torn fabrics of Rana Plaza.

Palace and Folk: Bengali Music's Past and Present



By Richard David Williams and  Priyanka Basu

When Wajid 'Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Lucknow, settled in Calcutta in 1856 he constructed a new musical court. Contemporary staging of “folk” performances post-Partition, performance genres such as Kobigaan have seen a constant debate between “authentic” and “curtailed performances” within the larger rubric of cultural politics in Bengal/Bangladesh.

Richard David Williams is a cultural historian of North India, and researches the interplay between religious traditions, music, and literature. He is currently finishing his PhD at King's College London. Priyanka Basu is a performer (in Odissi dance) and her research interests include Bengali theatre, music, and films, Marxist cultural movements, living ethnographies, and Dance Studies. She is in the process of finishing her PhD at SOAS, London.

The Road to Shapla Chottor: The State, The Academy, The Press and The Human rights Industry

By Puru Miah (The Brethren of Black Lotus)


Brick Lane Circle's events are is designed to
help improve our understanding of Bangladesh, the experiences of Bangladeshis around the world and the complexities and challenges faced by the country and its people.

All welcome! Free entry!

For more details or to book a place please contact M Ahmedullah, Secretary of Brick Lane Circle, on 07574224891 or email bricklanecircle@yahoo.co.uk


Download programme


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Battle of Plassey Day: 23 June every year


How should we remember 23 June 1757?  This day in June this year will be 254 years after the Battle of Plassey when the English East India Company conquered Bengal, under the leadership of Robert Clive.  The battle itself was quite an insignificant event, lasting only a day and fought on an unimportant field, about 100 miles north of Kolkata (Calcutta).  However, it was a highly momentous event, being the springboard for and the beginning of the British Indian Empire.  More ...



Walcot Hall, Shropshire
Robert Clive purchased Walcot  estate in 1764 for £90,000 from his Bengal loot


How should we remember the day?


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Muhammad Ali Goes East
Bangladesh I love You - Film Show and Q&A with Reginald Massey





Reginald Massey directed the documentary film made in 1978, which records Muhammad Ali's tour of Bangladesh

Bengal History Week - October 2012
The Rich Mix Centre, East London, UK
By Brick Lane Circle

Brick Lane Circle's third annual conference on the


STORY OF BANGLADESH & BANGLADESHI PEOPLE, AT HOME AND IN THE DIASPORA - 2013 



Saturday 27 April 2013, 11am-7.30pm

Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

The conference is designed to help improve our understanding of Bangladesh, experiences of Bangladeshis around the world and the complexities and challenges faced by the country and its people. Next

IT WAS A GREAT CONFERENCE - GREAT TURNOUT, GREAT SPEAKERS, GREAT PRESENTATIONS, GREAT AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION, GREAT INTERACTIVITY AND GREAT FEEDBACK. 



We would like thank all the speakers / presenters who gave up their valuable time to come and share their research findings with our audience. They are: José Mapril (Who sings for Sonar Bangla? (Trans) national imaginaries and political memories among Bangladeshis in Lisbon), Munsur Ali (Shongram - The movie. Trailer and Q&A), Shahida Rahman and Dr Nazneen Ahmed (Reimagining the Victorian East End: Islam, Lascar Seafarers and Subaltern Histories), Dr Anindita Ghosh (Bengali Pundits, the British and the Artificial Construction of the Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century), Dr Delwar Hussain (The Future that did not Happen: The Ruins of Progress on the Bangladesh-India Border) and Dr. Elora Shehabuddin (Developing the Modern Woman: Feminism, Nationalism, and Cold War Politics in East Bengal).
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Bengali Pundits, the British and the Artificial Construction of the Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century 

By Dr Anindita Ghosh



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Reimagining the Victorian East End: Islam, Lascar Seafarers and Subaltern Histories

Shahida Rahman and Dr Nazneen Ahmed




Shahida Rahman. She is an author, writer and publisher, born and raised in Cambridge. Her first historical novel, Lascar was published in 2012. She is the co-founder and Director of a print-on-demand book publishing company, Perfect Publishers. Shahida has a number of published articles and is currently writing her second novel.

Dr Nazneen Ahmed. She is currently working as Research Assistant on the Oxford Diasporas Programme project “Religious faith, space and Diasporic Communities in East London, 1880-present.”  Her D. Phil. in English Literature from Wadham College, Oxford, examined the cultural development of Bangladeshi secular nationalism through literature and cultural production from 1947-1971.
 
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OTHER VIDEOS

Thinking about Peace: Oral History and Testimony after the 1971 War of Bangladesh

We were all very pleased with the seminar on Thinking about Peace: Oral History and Testimony after the 1971 War of Bangladesh by Yasmin Saikia at Davenant Centre on Sunday 25 March 2012, 3-5pm.

The presentation was very interesting, which generated heated interactions during the Q&A session. Many new areas were explored and fresh ideas presented as possible solutions to unresolved issues caused by the 1971 war.  However, we could not take all the questions as we ran out of time. Hope we can continue the debate and discussion in the days, weeks, months and years to come.



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The Roots of Political Conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh




By Shapan Adnan


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Are we Bengalis, Bangladeshis, Muslims, British or something else? Role of history in identity formation: a panel discussion




Panelists: Dr Nazneen Ahmed, Dr Fuad Ali, Dr Georgie Wemyss and Ruhul Abidin

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Failure of the Pakistan experiment in East Pakistan:
Economic Growth and Political Crisis 1947-71


Part 1




By Professor Mushtaq Khan

Failure of the Pakistan experiment in East Pakistan:
Economic Growth and Political Crisis 1947-71


Part 2




By Professor Mushtaq Khan

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Channel S Awards 2011

On the evening of 7 April 2011 Channel S held its annual awards at their mega studio in Walthamstow, where guests, celebrities and presenters created an amazing must be at event. Brick Lane Circle was among 19 categories of winners. The award to Brick Lane Circle was for Achievement in Education Research / Teaching, which was in recognition for publishing the book called Plassey's Legacy, researched and written by eight young people aged 18-25.




This initiative was part of a project ran by Brick Lane Circle called the Battle of Plassey Young People's Project, developed to encourage more research and learning about the shared past of Britain and Bengal / Bangladesh - funded by Heritage Lottery Fund. Further details of the project can be obtained by visiting
www.the-eastindiacompany.org.



Three of the eight young researchers attended the event to collect the award if successful. They are: Lothifa Chowdhury, Ruhana Ali and Atif Kazi,who were thrilled when they found out that we won.



You can get the full list of winners of the Channel S Awards 2011 by clicking below:

Channel S Awards 2011

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CONTEMPORARY GROWTH CHALLENGES IN BANGLADESH: THE CHALLENGE OF BUILDING ORGANISATIONAL CAPACITY

By Professor Mushtaq Khan

Thursday 20 November 2014, 6.30-8.30pm, Conference Room, Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU

He is Professor of economics at SOAS, who completed his PhD in Economics at Cambridge. Previously he taught at the universities of both Oxford and Cambridge. Information on his research interests are available on

http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31246.php



ALL WELCOME!

For further details or to book a place please email bricklanecircle@yahoo.co.uk  or phone 07914119282

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BENGAL HISTORY WEEK

18-26 October 2014



Full programme

Normally we hold the History Week during the first week in October but this year we have chosen the week 18-26 October 2014, partly due to the fact that 23 October this year is the 250 years anniversary of the Battle Buxur, when the victory of the East India Company resulted in the signing of a treaty with the Moghul Emperor Shah Alam II, which enabled the British to acquire the Diwani of Bengal, rights to collect taxes of the province.

Although as usual many topics will be covered during the next Bengal History Week the main focus however will be on East India Company, its wars and conquests in Bengal / India and their consequences.

LOOK OUT FOR AND MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS OUR EXCITING WEEK OF EXPLORATION INTO BENGAL’S HISTORY!Although as usual many topics will be covered during the next Bengal History Week the main focus however will be on East India Company, its wars and conquests in Bengal / India and their consequences.

LOOK OUT FOR AND MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS OUR

 

THE EAST INDIA COMPANY: COMMODITIES, CONQUEST AND CORRUPTION

By Nick Robins

Saturday 18 October 2014, 2.30-4.30pm, Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, 277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ

 

“The East India Company was founded in 1600 to trade with Asia - and grew to use its commercial muscle and private army to conquer Bengal, winning control at the battles of Plassey (June 1757) and Buxar (October 1764). In the process, the Company reversed the historic flow of wealth from Europe to Asia - using Bengal as the bridgehead for the conquest of India and the forced opening of China, using opium grown in Bihar as its lever. Nick Robins, author of the The Corporation that Changed the World, will present an illustrated lecture on the Company's rise and fall, its social and economic impacts and the lessons for international relations today.”

 

HISTORY, THEORY AND PRACTICE: CONTEMPORARY TRENDS IN SCHOLARSHIP ON BENGAL, AND IT’S IMPLICATIONS FOR ACADEMIA MORE BROADLY

By John Stevens

Monday 20 October 2014, 6.30-8.30pm, Lab 1a, Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU


The main focus of his research is historical, utilising source materials in Bengali and English in order to promote an understanding of the histories of India and Britain which places them in regional, imperial and global contexts. His PhD focused on the ideas and activities of the Bengali Brahmo religious and social reformer Keshab Chandra Sen (1838-1884), and his interaction with a range of British intellectual, political and cultural figures.

 

John Stevens is a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow. He gained his PhD in History from UCL in 2011. He is currently working on two books: the first is a study of political theology in India and Britain in the nineteenth century; the second is a biography of Keshab Chandra Sen. His research interests include: the interconnected histories of modern West Bengal, Bangladesh and Britain; comparative religion and political theology in India and Britain; postcolonial theory; the historical construction of gender, race, class and nation; social, cultural and transnational history. He is a regular visitor to India and Bangladesh for research purposes.

 

THE JOURNEY OF ETHNICITY AND RELIGIOSITY AMONGST THE EAST END BANGLADESHIS: A COMPARISON BETWEEN TWO GENERATIONS

By Fatima Rajina

Tuesday 21 October 2014, 6.30-8.30pm, Conference Room, Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU

This study undertakes a critical analysis of the concept and the process of identity construction within the British Bangladeshi Muslim community in East London. Here in Britain, it was the events of 7 July 2005 (7/7) that gave rise to the attention given to the British Muslims because the attacks were perpetrated by home grown British Muslims as opposed to al-Qaeda operatives from abroad. Fatima aims to explore how two very different generations of British Bangladeshis deal with their identity - whether it is religious and/or ethnic identity - and to what extent they impact the integration, especially of the young Muslims, into the wider British society. She is hoping to look at factors that help structure an ethno-religious identity - e.g. language, dress, cuisine, and more - and how the British Bangladeshi community has developed this identity over time, considering the fact that the Bangladeshi community has been settled in East London since the late 1950s. This study also takes other issues into consideration to help identify boundaries created by the community in terms of sameness and otherness within the British society.

Fatima is currently a Nohoudh PhD Candidate at SOAS and is a German and Spanish teacher. She has an innate appreciation for the diversity of human nature, as evidenced in her choice of degree and in her desire to constantly engage with the complex and challenging facets of our global society. She speaks Bengali, German, Spanish and conversational Urdu. She is currently studying Arabic as part of her PhD.  Fatima is an active member in her local community and a radio show host at Betar Bangla 1503AM in London. Fatima was awarded the Princess Diana Memorial Award for her work in promoting diversity and social cohesion in a multi-cultural society.


 

UNTOLD STORIES: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF LASCARS

By Heloise Finch-Boyer (Curator) and Tracey Weller (Archive Learning Officer), National Maritime Museum

Wednesday 22 October 2014, 6.30-8.30pm, Conference Room, Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich holds a diverse collection of artefacts relating to the British maritime world. Of great importance to this world is the role of the lascar sailors of the Indian subcontinent who served on British ships and contributed to Britain's economic success. Despite the important role played by these sailors it is not always easy to find their stories amongst the museum's collections.

 


© National Maritime Museum

Heloise Finch-Boyer and Tracey Weller will describe how they unearthed previously unknown archival items and historic photographs relating to lascars. The objects will feature in a new community history and digital project opening at the end of 2015 that requires the help of the Bangladeshi community to help interpret the artefacts and contribute to an exhibition.


Come and find out more about the project and how you can become involved.

 

NEVER ALONE, THE MUGHALS, THE MARATHAS & THE EAST INDIA COMPANY IN 1764

By Dr Jon Wilson

Thursday 23 October 2014, 6.30-8.30pm, Lab 1a, Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU

The stories which imperial soldiers told in the 18th century suggested that India was conquered as a result of British heroism and valour. In fact, British action was shaped by Indian politics. The Mughals were symbolically still important; the Marathas were a powerful force which the Company was constantly afraid of. This talk will explain how Battle of Buxar led Indians to recognise the India Company as a major power throughout India for the first time. But it will also show that it didn't lead to the effective British domination of Indian land.

Dr Jon Wilson is Senior Lecturer in History at King's College London. His book on the beginnings of colonial rule in Bengal, The Domination of Strangers, was published in 2008. He is currently writing a general history of British rule in India, India Conquered. Britain's Raj and the Chaos of Empire to be published by Simon and Schuster in 2016.

 

POPULAR EAST INDIA COMPANY DOCKSIDE WALK

By Dr Georgie Wemyss

Saturday 25 October 2014, 11am-1pm. Places are free but advance booking only. Meeting place will be provided to those who are booked on the walk

Dr Georgie Wemyss is the author of The Invisible Empire: White Discourse, Tolerance and Belonging (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at UEL.

 

CINEMA IN BENGAL AND THE SUBJECT OF “FOLK” PERFORMANCES: 1940 -1980

By Priyanka Basu

Saturday 25 October 2014, 2.30-4.30pm. Venue 2, Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA

The subject of “folk” performances in Bengali cinema has remained somewhat unexplored in terms of analytical engagement as well as theoretical understandings. But  cinema itself seen in the earlier bio-scope) is indebted to the “folk” performance genres from which it has borrowed profusely with respect to music, dance, sound and even structure. This talk will focus on some of the films produced in between 1940 and 1980 to underscore a historical understanding of Bengali cinema’s handling of the subject of “folk” genres and the shifts, transformations and   stereotyping that are foregrounded in the process.On a broader reference frame, she situate these films within the political changes and crises in Bengal (like Partition) and the affect it had upon the industry and the viewership.

Priyanka Basu is a performer (in Odissi dance) and her research interests include Bengali theatre, music, and films, Marxist cultural movements, living ethnographies, and    gender histories. She is in the process of finishing her PhD at SOAS, London on the Felix Scholarship and has an MA and MPhil in English Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her current research addresses the song-theatre genre of Kobigaan within different sites, contexts and politics in West Bengal & Bangladesh.

MUHAMMAD ALI GOES EAST: BANGLADESH I LOVE YOU 

 

A documentary film made in 1978, which records Muhammad Ali's tour of Bangladesh following his defeat in 1977 by Leon Spinks. Directed by Reginald Massey.

Ali is taken to Sundarbans  (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Sylhet Tea Gardens, Rangamati and Cox's Bazaar. In Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, Ali is given a Bangladesh passport and made a citizen of the country by the then president of the country, Ziaur Rahman. The climax of his tour was a pre-arranged boxing match at Dhaka Stadium, where he lost to a twelve year old Bangladeshi rival through an amazing knockout.

Saturday 25 October 2014, 5.15-6.15pm. Venue 2, Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA

 

STAND-UP COMEDY

By Mixt Nutz

Saturday 25 October 2014, 7.00pm. Venue 2, Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA

Comedy hour hosted by:

MC Sejeela Kershi

and featuring:

Inder Manocha


Prince Abdi


Jasmine Choudhury
 

and others

 

THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S SEIZURE OF BENGAL AND HOW THIS LED TO THE GREAT BENGAL FAMINE OF 1770

By Roy Moxham

Sunday 26 October 2014, 2.30-4.30pm, Lab 1a, Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU

He recently retired from the University of London.  His most well-known book is The Great Hedge of India, part-travelogue, part-historical treatise on the author's quest to find a 1500-mile long customs hedge built by the British in India to prevent smuggling of salt and opium. His second book, Tea: Addiction, Exploitation and Empire focuses on the effect of British tea addiction on British policies in Asia and Africa, and includes the author's own experience as a tea plantation manager in Africa. His third book is called Outlaw, the extraordinary and true story of Phoolan Devi, India's famous 'Bandit Queen', and of a friendship that transcended borders, religion and language.

 

CONTEMPORARY GROWTH CHALLENGES IN BANGLADESH: THE CHALLENGE OF BUILDING ORGANISATIONAL CAPACITY

By Professor Mushtaq Khan

Thursday 20 November 2014, 6.30-8.30pm, Conference Room, Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, E1 1BU

He is Professor of economics at SOAS, who completed his PhD in Economics at Cambridge. Previously he taught at the universities of both Oxford and Cambridge. Information on his research interests are available on http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31246.php.

 


ALL WELCOME!

For further details or to book a place please email bricklanecircle@yahoo.co.uk  or phone 07914119282

          



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Images from Naveed Mahbub Standup Comedy Show



BENGAL HISTORY WEEK 2013

6-13 October 2013                                                          



                                                             Bengal History Week 2013

Sunday 6 October 2012, 3-5pm
East India Company Dockside Walk
(Free but advance booking only. Please email bricklanecircle@yahoo.co.uk for booking)
By Dr Georgie Wemyss. She is  the author of The Invisible Empire: White Discourse, Tolerance and Belonging (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009)



Monday, 7 October, 7.00-9.00pm
Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1BU
Rabindranath and Jibanananda Re-born
By Joe Winter.
He is a poet and school teacher. He taught in London comprehensive schools until the age of 50 when he went to live in Calcutta (Kolkata). There he taught part-time (Calcutta International School), wrote newspaper articles ('The Statesman' of Calcutta), and translated poems and some prose of Rabindranath Tagore, and poems of Jibanananda Das.



Tuesday 8 October, 7-9pm
Jagonari Centre, 183-185 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DN
Migration from the Bengal delta to Britain - recovering the less known as well as recording the well known
By John Eade. He is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology (University of Roehampton) and   Visiting Professor (University College London).  He completed a doctoral thesis on Bangladeshi   community representation in Tower Hamlets in 1986. Since then he has been researching identity politics, the Islamisation of space and global migration in London. He has published and edited / co edited many scholarly papers and books.



Wednesday 9 October, 7-9pm Jagonari Centre, 183-185 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DN
Rahimunnesa (1763-1800) and Dilwar Husayn Ahmad (1840-1913): two Great Bengali Scholars
By Muhammad Mojlum Khan.  He is an award-winning writer, literary critic and research scholar, and author of the bestselling The Muslim 100 (2008) and The Muslim Heritage of Bengal (2013). He has published many articles  his writings have been translated into many languages including Bengali, Indonesian and German. He is a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Founding     Director of Bengal Muslim Research Institute UK.



Thursday 10 October, 7-9pm
Kobi Nazrul Centre, 30 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR
Introducing the Heritage Lottery Fund
By Norma Pearson.  She is a Development Officer  at the Heritage Lottery Fund. She will make a presentation on the Heritage Lottery Fund, followed by a Q&A session. There will be an opportunity to have a one to one with her if you have a project idea that you want to discuss. 
All welcome but spaces for one to one is very limited and strictly by advance booking (first come first serve).
Heritage Lottery Fund can help communities and groups discover and share their past, and make life more rooted and interesting.


Saturday 12 October 2013, 2.00-7.30pm
Brady Arts Centre, Hanbury Street, London E1 5HU 2.15pm
Desh bidesh revisited: An exploration of the British Bangladeshi social field
By Benjamin Zeitlyn. He is a lecturer in International Education and Development (University of Sussex). He convenes the Masters in International Education and Development.

CELEBRATION EVENTS FOR THE CENTENARY OF RABINDRANATH TAGORE’S AWARDING OF THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE 1913

3.30pm
The Centenary of Tagore’s Nobel Prize and his Relevance to Today
By Xiaoyu Zhang (Bristi). She gained her master degree at South Asian Area Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS in London), and her bachelor degree in Bengali Language and Culture from  Communication University of China and Dhaka University.



5.00pm
A fully staged reading performance of Tagore's The Post Office



Translated by William Radice
Directed by Valerie Doulton. She is the Artistic Director of The Live Theatre Company. www.theliveliteraturecompany.co.uk

                                                           Full programme

Sunday 13 October 2013, 2.00-9.00pm
The Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA 

                                                           Full programme

2.30pm onwards:
Showcase of recreated British costumes made from muslin fabrics in the 18/19th centuries



3.00-6.00pm
Seminar / Panel Discussion on historical Bengal textiles trade and fashion
Speakers details TBC

6.15pm
Short performance on “Fabrics of slavery”
By Rez Kabir, Mustak Chowdhury and others



Please click above to watch the video of the seminar.


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Bengal History Week - 6-14 October 2012

BENGAL HISTORY WEEK 2012



BENGAL HISTORY WEEK 2011


 
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Story of Bangladesh and Bangladeshi People at Home and in the Diaspora

Annual Conference

Brick Lane Circle initiated an annual conference in 2011 with a major two day weekend conference during 23/24 April 2011 to celebrate the 40th Birthday of Bangladesh. Our aim was to bring people who have undertaken researches on Bangladesh and Bangladeshi people, together with the wider community, to facilitate exchange of knowledge and help promote networking.

The second conference was held on 28 April 2012.

All the videos of presentations and discussion will be posted in due time.

Conference videos