Skip to main content Skip to navigation

SMLC - News and events

Show all news items

Waswasa - A Soul City Arts Production For the Birmingham 2022 Festival, with contributions by Dr James Hodkinson.

SMLC's Dr James Hodkinson has been working with Soul City Arts to co-deliver a series of workshops throughout June. Financed by the Enhancing Research Culture Fund (Research England) these events not only gave Warwick researchers a chance to watch community engagement in action, but also helped to build a crucial part of the project.

Members of the public were invited to contribute in the lead-up to the Waswasa by taking part in a series of events at the new Soul City Arts studio space in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. These events placed community voices at the heart of the show and encourage Muslim and non-Muslim groups to share and inscribe real prayers, hopes and dreams on specially provided prayer mats which will then be exhibited in the Waswasa performance space.

Hundreds of prayer mats are being created for the lead-up events which will act as a way to create moments of gathering where meaningful conversations will take place, where food will be eaten and where films will be played.

Waswasa is the Arabic word used to describe distractions from prayer. In these busy, tech-driven times many seek that elusive ‘flow state’ in other ways, whether through the gym, mediation, or yoga, but also fail because life is simply too busy.

Waswasa will draw parallels between the act of personal faith and the quest to achieve that calm. In this age of distraction, a simple act of worship can become a revolutionary act, a time to let go of ego and clear our minds of ‘waswasa’.

In Waswasa, the audience will have time to explore the art installation of Islamic prayer mats from within the community before entering an intimate theatrical performance featuring music and film further exploring the theme of prayer, the physical act of Islamic prayer, the triumphs, and the struggles. Finally, the audience will have time to pause, reflect or pray and to see up close a replica of the famous Birmingham Qur’an, considered to be one of the world’s oldest manuscripts dating back to the 6th or 7th century.

Why not book here with the Birmingham Hippodrome to attend one of the Waswasa shows, Aug 25-Sep 3, 2022.