Tell Us About The Journey Of Transformation? (What Do You Do As A Organisation)
“The Journey Of Transformation” is a tag line I created for my organisation Alchemy Arts Limited because I felt it encapsulated everything we were trying to achieve. Alchemy Arts is an expressive arts production company, that specialises in using drama and other Art forms to create space for seldom heard voices. We work predominately but not exclusively with young people using drama as a tool to explore and tackle issues that affect them in today’s society.
We use creative, interactive methods and are influenced by the teachings of Augusto Boal and Paulo Freire, focusing on liberation, empowerment and anti oppressive practice.
We work creatively to develop positive communication skills and explore issues around self-respect and actively promote self-awareness, self-confidence and participation. Alchemy Arts also specialises in working with young Muslims, exploring identity, culture, politics of difference within communities and promoting community cohesion.
In addition to drama, Alchemy Arts also makes short film’s documentaries as well as offering dance, media and music sessions to engage participants enabling them to make positive transformational change in their lives as well as their communities.
Was That You In The Four Lions? (A Bit About Yourself)
Adil Mohammed Javed – BA (Hons) Performing Arts – Founder and Artistic Director, Alchemy Arts
Haa haa yes it was, It’s funny because I very nearly never made the film, I was told I had got the part and was obviously delighted to be working with Chris Morris but when I was told it was only a small part and that it was a “Comedy about suicide bombing” I said no and went to off to Spain to do street theatre with some hippies around Europe. Fortunately for me Chris was a really persistent director and was protective and really passionate about the project and so standing on one leg struggling to get signal on a mountain top in the south of Spain I got a call from Chris Morris and I accepted the part of Nabeel, and I’m so happy I did because we all know the success that it went on to be. My profession is as a professional actor, scriptwriter, researcher and workshop facilitator and I have been fortunate in my career to have featured in some of the most high profile films over the last 25 years such as Bradford Riots (Neil Biswas 2006) as well as BAFTA award winning films like Britz (Peter Kosminsky 2007) and as mentioned earlier Four Lions (Chris Morris 2010). I have worked as a workshop facilitator both nationally and internationally working on issues of identity, community cohesion and inter-faith dialogue.
From 2008-2011, I performed the lead role of Asif in four national tours of ‘Hearts and Minds’ and a DVD adaptation for the award-winning Khayaal Theatre Company. The critically acclaimed play follows a young Muslim’s struggle with identity and his relationship with his faith, culture and wider society. I was fortunate enough to have led workshops and Q&A sessions for audiences after shows.
I was part of the writing and devising process for the Muslim Identity Project called ‘Salaam’ working in association with Fairgame Theatre Company, which I then toured to schools and theatres in Gloucestershire to rave reviews.
During my travels around Europe and my own ‘Journey Of Transformation’ I began to think about the role creative arts can play in the empowerment of young people and the essential life skills that are developed through this medium, which ultimately inspired the birth of Alchemy Arts.
I am currently the Director and Operations Manager at Alchemy Arts. My role is to Develop and establish a variety of creative and innovative projects that build relationships with the community & secure their participation and meaningful engagement. I lead on and develop an effective team of part-time and volunteer staff focusing on achieving the companies’ mission statement. Build positive working relationships with other agencies.
It Sounds A Bit Scientific? (Why Did You Chose The Name)
That’s because it is, Alchemist traditionally were scientists that would manipulate base metals and transform them in to noble metals like turning copper into gold. I like to think I’m following in the footsteps of great ‘Social Alchemist’s’ that have gone before me, but instead of manipulating metals I’m actually playing a part in the positive transformational change in human lives.
I’ve always been a deeply spiritual person and have been influenced greatly by mystics like Jalaluddin Rumi, Imam Ghazali, Ibn Arabi and the great Saint Syed Abdul Qadir Al Jilani (As well as many more) and it was while I was travelling that I thought of the name Alchemy Arts. While you travel from city to city you have a lot of time to read and at the time I was reading two books simultaneously one was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and the other Rumi’s great work the “Massnavi” in which there was a story “In Baghdad, Dreaming Of Cairo: In Cairo, Dreaming Of Baghdad” I was so moved by this magical story that was written over 800 years ago by Rumi and at the same time astonished that the exact same story written in modern times was gaining so much success with no mention of the original author. I decided I wanted to create a platform that would allow me to reclaim some of our great heritage and celebrate it to benefit the community. And so I suppose I was driven a little by inspiration as well as a little of social activism but mostly by Islam and the many mystics that have inspired people before us.
What’s In The Pipeline? (Your Future Plans, Events)
It’s a very exciting time at the moment for us because we have several projects running simultaneously. We are currently in the process of delivering the following projects:
AWARDS FOR ALL 2014/15 – Digital Engagement (Longsight)
A 12 week ‘Digitalising the Community’ programme working with the local community in the Longsight and Levenshulme area. Participants involved in this project had no access ICT or internet connection, leaving them feeling isolated and unable to keep up with the ever changing digital world.
The project has supported individuals in building basic ICT skills, setting up email accounts, learning how to attach documents to emails and also how to connect onto Skype. The project has enabled individuals to make contact electronically with family members abroad.
BBC CHILDREN IN NEED – Be Who You Want To Be Alchemy Arts Film Project
The project has supported disadvantaged young people from the Whalley Range area who attend the Youth on Solid Ground (YSG) Project
In setting up and managing their own film project. The project was supported by professionals from the film industry and the young people were trained to write, direct, film and edit their own short films.
The films made are currently in the post production phase. Once completed, they can be shown in local schools, local community halls and at The Manly Park Community Centre. All films will be available to view on You Tube or via the Vimeo Films link on our home page.
DEMENTIA PROJECT – Raising Awareness of Dementia in The BME Community
Alchemy Arts has been funded to make a film which aims to raise awareness of dementia, in particular within the Black and Minority Ethnic community. Our objective is to break taboos on the illness within the community and encourage people to discuss it openly.
The film will have a positive message that action can be taken to make people’s lives better.
DIGITALISING COMMUNITIES –
Working in partnership with Manchester City Council and the Crime & Disorder Team we are setting up digitally empowered hubs in North, Central and South Manchester that work towards reducing social isolation, create socially empowered and informed individuals and also create a space for intergenerational engagement.
This project is similar to the one delivered by Alchemy in the Longsight area of Manchester but with the focus on promoting safety for young people who could be vulnerable to radicalisation (Digital Engagement)
DRUGS & ALCOHOL TRAFFORD – Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies
The project looks to open dialogue with those in the Black and Minority Ethnic communities who may not wish to enter formal treatment but can make informed choices about their behaviour, based on the risks.
Alchemy Arts, working in partnership with Trafford drugs services, Phoenix Futures and the local Council will be delivering an interactive, innovative program which will explore with participants attitudes towards Health & Wellbeing in Ethnic Minority communities with particular focus on Drugs and Alcohol.
Heritage Lottery Fund – Forgotten Soldiers
The aim of this project is to raise awareness of the Muslim Soldiers who fought in the World Wars.
As part of this programme Alchemy Arts will be creating a community engagement programme, which will entail collating
Pictures/interviews and collections of memorabilia of 4-5 families’ ancestors who were involved in the World
Wars and how this impacted on their lives today in Britain.
The programme will look at commemorating the “Forgotten Muslims” who died in the First and Second World War creating a local archive as well as delivering an exhibition in our local arts centres & places of worship.
We will also be taking participants of the project to the 2015 remembrance Sunday to take part in the local
event and gather information on key poets and literary greats during the time.
PEOPLE’S HEALTH TRUST – Her Say Project
Alchemy Arts have been funded by the Peoples Health Trust to create a safe environment for the local women (South Asian) of Old Trafford. The aim of the project is to build confidence, skills, knowledge and importantly new friendships.
Participants will have an opportunity to work towards gaining an Arts Award qualification, which will be led by professional actors and fully trained wellbeing facilitators. This project will eventually be peer led and our aim is to empower the group so that the project continues after our exit.
Hate Crime Project – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El7YMCOGpbs&feature=youtu.be
Soap Pod – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2A4gvmB_a8
Voice Of Trafford Muslims – http://player.vimeo.com/video/75288645
Adil Mohammed Javed – Acting Show reel – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq-KVT6-Y6M
Haider Mohammed Javed – Acting Show reel – http://fishestit.wordpress.com/tag/haider-mohammed-javed/