Mapping the sublime through Qawwali music, art, science & tech – open call for project participants

Are you interested in Qawwali music, whether it’s traditional, folk or modern Bollywood?

Are you curious about what happens to your brain and body when you listen to music?

Do you want to be involved in a cutting-edge, innovative arts & tech project?

Have you ever listened to a piece of music that has moved you so much that you feel like you’ve transcended into a state of enlightenment?

The Qawwali Shrine is a pilot project which is mapping emotional responses to Qawwali music and exploring whether states of enlightenment  and feelings such as Rasa,  Fana or ‘the sublime’ can be experienced, measured and artistically represented through new technology.

Participants will have the opportunity to work with artists and scientists within workshops, as well as making new friends, gaining confidence, meeting like-minded people and connecting with Sampad and the University of Birmingham for further opportunities.

Open call for participants

For the first stage we are looking to work with 3 groups of participants:

Group 1: Millennials

Young people between the ages of 18-29 who are interested, or familiar with Qawwali, whether you listen to it personally, or grew up hearing it played around you.

Group 2: Generation X

Individuals between the ages of 30-50 who have a connection to the music, the memories it holds for you and the nostalgia and emotions it evokes.

Group 3: The Elders

Individuals between the ages of 51 – 101 who are passionate about Qawwali music and can share and celebrate how Qawwali influences them and affects their lives when they listen to it.

We would like to invite anyone who fits into the categories above to join us for ONE workshop between mid October – mid November 2016 (you have a choice of the following dates and times).

Thursday 20th October 2016 – EITHER 3pm to 4.30pm  OR 5pm to 6.30pm
Thursday 27th October 2016 – EITHER 3pm to 4.30pm  OR 5pm to 6.30pm
Thursday 3rd November 2016 – EITHER 3pm to 4.30pm  OR 5pm to 6.30pm
Thursday 10th November 2016 – EITHER 3pm to 4.30pm  OR 5pm to 6.30pm
Thursday 17th November 2016 – EITHER 3pm to 4.30pm  OR 5pm to 6.30pm

Workshops take place at The Old Print Works next to Café Ort, Balsall Heath, Birmingham. (The Old Print Works, 506 Moseley Rd, Birmingham B12 9AH)

Artist Tasawar Bashir and scientists from the University of Birmingham will play some pieces of Qawwali and then ask simple questions to help to collect your emotional responses to the music. We need your help to identify and map that state of ‘the sublime’ or Rasa through your personal experiences and responses to music.

Participants who attend this workshop will then be invited back to the testing stage in February 2017 where we’ll be using new technologies to measure brain activity, facial expression and heart rate which will help us to measure how the body responds when listening to extracts of Qawwali music.

To sign up for one of the workshops or to find out more, please email or call Harmeet on 07448 267 243

Follow The Qawwali Shrine on Twitter! @qawwali_shrine

Photo: Cassipeia A: Cassiopeia A in Many Colors, Smithsonian Institution


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Tasawar Bashir is doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham. His adventures and studies in Modern Qawwali are funded by Midlands3Cities and AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership.


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