Jagdeep Raina, Club Kali, 2020, embroidery thread, phulkari border on muslin. Courtesy of the artist and Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto, Canada. Photo: Emotive Eye.

Dream Baby Dream
Queer Worldmaking

Saturday 1 June 2024, 2-4.30pm

Free, all welcome.

Join us to celebrate the closing of our major exhibition The World that Belongs to Us. Through talks, poetry and performance bringing together cultural practitioners from all over the UK, this closing programme unravels the threads of queer themes within the project, which have been sustained through the decades of organising, friendship and worldmaking. We will contextualise the exhibition within a history of queer cultural production and organising in Britain from the perspective of South Asian and other diasporic communities. In doing so, we center dreaming as an act and strategy of making queer diasporic life possible and visible.

Speakers include Professor Rohit Dasgupta, Saima Razzaq from Birmingham Pride, curator and arts worker Yasmyn Nettle, artist-curator Candice Nembhard and poet/writer Jhani Randhawa.

The curators acknowledge the work Club Kali (2020) by the artist Jagdeep Raina, on display as part of The World that Belongs to Us, which has inspired the title of this convening.

2 – 2.45pm: Queer South Asians and Cultural Belonging in Britain: 1970s through today

Rohit Dasgupta in conversation with curator Aziz Sohail

In this presentation we contextualise the exhibition The World that Belongs to Us, examining how diasporic South Asians have shaped queer movements and communities in Britain from the 1970s through the present day. Rohit Dasgupta examines histories of landmark moments in British queer life and culture through a South Asian lens, illuminating British histories of colour through queer politics and creativity. 

3 – 3.45pm: Queer POC Organising, Activism and Curating in the Midlands 

Saima Razzaq and Yasmyn Nettle in conversation with Aziz Sohail 

The West Midlands has a rich and diverse history of queer community making through organising, activism and curating. In this conversation, we are joined by Saima Razzaq, the Director of Change and Communications at Birmingham Pride and queer artist-curator Yasmyn Nettle to discuss the current landscape and ecosystem in the region. What are the challenges of the current moment but also the possibilities of future worldmaking towards justice and equity in art and queer worlds?

3.50 – 4.10: Time Regime and Other Stories: Poetry readings by Jhani Randhawa

4.10 – 4.30: Sonic and performative responses by Candice Nembhard

Conclude the convening immersed in poetry and sound! Acoustic worldmaking is invoked through readings by poet and writer Jhani Randhawa and a musical response to the exhibition by Midlands based artist-curator Candice Nembhard. This moment is an opportunity to connect with community through deep listening and to celebrate the expansive and diverse possibilities of queer cultural life and worldmaking both as seen in this exhibition and in the Midlands. 


Dr Rohit K Dasgupta (He/Him/They) is currently a Senior Lecturer in cultural industries at the University of Glasgow. Dasgupta is the author of Digital Queer Cultures in India and the forthcoming Desi Queers amongst other publications. Dasgupta is also an elected councillor in the London Borough of Newham & Visiting Senior Fellow in Sociology at the London School of Economics.  

British-Pakistani organiser Saima Razzaq is the first queer woman to lead a pride parade in the UK and now works as the Director of Change and Communications at Birmingham Pride.

Yasmyn Nettle (they/them) is a dynamic curator and arts worker hailing from Enfield, North London. Picture them as a cultural magpie, collecting stories and inspiration from their mixed heritage of Arab, South Asian and Turkic cultures. Folkcraft, Queerness and dystopia are themes that often infuse Yasmyn’s work. Yasmyn studied History, Literature, and Culture at The University of Brighton. In Birmingham, they immersed themselves in the city’s arts scene for five transformative years, curating exhibitions, facilitating workshops and making short films. 

Their film ‘Property of the People of Birmingham,’ was acquired into the collection of Birmingham City Council. Yasmyn’s exhibition, ‘Woven Tongue,’ at Birmingham’s Eastside Projects, during their time as an artist curator trainee, wove together diverse voices and narratives from Yemen, Northern Cyprus, Pakistan and Wales. They also hosted a poetry reading, raising funds for Palestine in collaboration with Del Fina Foundation and the artist Harun Morrison.

They are a current bursary holder for an alternative arts MA in Food and Art with Gramounce. Their role at the arts charity Unlimited sees them championing the talents of disabled artists, fostering inclusivity and accessibility. As a non-binary, Queer, bisexual, autistic, polyamorous, Brown individual, their personal journey infuses every aspect of their work.

To learn more about Yasmyn, follow them on Instagram at @yasmynnettle. 

Jhani Randhawa is a non-binary Kenyan-Punjabi/Anglo-American collaborator, multidisciplinary maker, and project coordinator based between the UK and the US. Their work is interested in anticolonial methodologies, grief-work, fugue states, and formations of friendship across species and consciousness. Author of Time Regime (Gaudy Boy, 2022), which was awarded the 2023 California Book Award for Poetry, and co-founding editor of the experimental arts project rivulet, Jhani has participated in study and residence at Upaya Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Blue Mountain Center, Writers House Pittsburgh, Millay Arts, and the Wormfarm Institute. Their performance and literary work has been presented or is forthcoming in A Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid Lit Collection (de-Canon/Fonograf Editions, 2024), 128 Lit, O BOD, ASAP/J,  Czong Institute for Contemporary Art Museum (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea), Thymele Arts (Los Angeles, CA), and ONE Archives at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA), among others. Finalist for a PEN Emerging Writers Fellowship and a UNESCO Youth Grant, Jhani is the recipient of a Yasmin Fellowship. Currently in graduate studies at SOAS, University of London, Jhani is also a member of the May We Gather collective, a project of commemoration and healing by and for Asian American Buddhists and their spiritual friends. 

Candice Nembhard (okcandice) is a writer, artist-curator, archivist and musician between Birmingham and Berlin. They are the Digital Curator for Birmingham Museum & Gallery and 2023/24 Woven Foundation Curatorial Fellow; previously a Jerwood Arts Curatorial Fellow, Obsidian Foundation Poetry Fellow and artist-curator at Eastside Projects. Their practice is concerned with methodologies of grief through text, sound, moving image and collective performance alongside the production, preservation and maintenance of Black audio/visual archives and libraries. Elsewhere, they are the founder-director of all fruits ripe; an independent platform for queer filmmakers of colour and Bedtime Stories; a live radio club championing experiments in ambient, electronic(a) and downtempo music. Candice also hosts Must Be The Music on Refuge Worldwide and Bedtime Stories on Cashmere Radio.