The 2020 theme for Nottingham Arts Mela, 'Climate, Changed', is the premise which propels our festival this year. As the world changes and we are directed towards distanced and digital interaction, this year, our traditionally live festival will be experienced as never before. For it is not only day to day interaction which has been challenged, but this unprecedented global change means our environmental, social, artistic and political climates have been unimaginably altered.

The festival provokes a deeper reflection, considering and reconsidering the altered landscape we are living through. We explore change in arts practice, political thought, the need for a seismic refocusing of our behaviours with regard to the environment, and how we reframe social interaction in the foreseeable future. We probe into the practices and histories of our ancestors and those living on the peripheries to learn and unlearn the behaviours that have led to our current crisis.

What is justice? What is equality? To whom do we look for guidance, direction, and to feel safe?
It is in our hands – It is time for a new, braver truth.

Film Call Out

We are living through unprecedented times. With a pandemic that has swept our modern world to the brink of economic collapse and as a result, exposed failed leadership, it is noteworthy that this is just one calamity in a catastrophic trajectory underpinning events across the world. Nottingham Arts Mela 2020 seeks to examine our theme Climate, Changed through socio-political, ecological, and cultural shifts.

Our climate has, in fact, changed drastically, across all segments, from the bio-ecological crisis to the way politics has unraveled into polarizing and partisan modes, and to the subsequent effects on arts and culture in the collective imaginaries of our societies. In times of such seismic shifts, we find people and communities occupying extreme positions of thought and action. Through a curated programme of films and videos, comprised of both established and emerging filmmakers from the South Asian communities across the globe, curators Ashok Vish and Ritika Biswas are invested in unpacking these extremities through discourse around various ideas that essentially fall under the following two contemplations:

Kinship and friendships as a site for intersectional solidarity
Besides the family unit and kinship structures that form the basis of normative social relationships, how are different structures reconfigured in times of conflict and uncertainty?

The importance of platonic friendships in the development of identity and communities.

Strangers and the act of kindness in strengthening collaboration.

Non-heteronormative family units.

Dissent as a form of kinship.

The role of panic and fear in creating a sense of loneliness across all identity-based and geopolitical groups.

Ruptured communities as a site for unlearning
What markers of socio-political and ethnic identity are perceived to be a threat among different communities?

How does the ecological crisis manifest in our daily lives, especially within more vulnerable communities?

The vital role of class in times of conflict.

Patriarchy and the conditioned ways of being and thinking. How do we unlearn?

The crackdown on dissent, on radical voices and bodies; injustice in disproportionate amounts directed at marginalized communities.

The value of applying an intersectional approach to identity, ideology, and discrimination. Should we move away from trauma as a mode of cultural currency?

Monday 20 July
23:59 BST
Films should be between 5-30 minutes long.
Films should pertain to a South Asian context (however you interpret this) OR come from a diaspora or non-diaspora South Asian director.
Selected films will be available for viewing for 48 hours.
Selected films will receive a small participation fee.

Overall Rating
  • It was great to participate in Nottingham Arts Mela. All the films were very interesting. This curators were very communicative and helpful. This festival was a platform to showcase our work in front of huge audience. Thank you Nottingham Arts Mela. Best wishes.

    September 2020