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GemArts Masala Festival: Freespill: a night of unfiltered desi soul flow Hosted by Tahmina Ali

today July 18, 2024my_locationDivercity Hub

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Contributions from the South Asian communities within the UK have been profound and particularly important in shaping British culture including food, fashion, music, art and wider popular culture

Join us for an exciting evening of spoken word poetry, celebrating multi heritage and the vibrant South Asian diaspora communities in the UK. The night will be hosted by Newcastle’s very own Tahmina Ali and our line-up will include Brown Girls Write, Wajid Hussain and special guest Nasima Bee.

Presented by GemArts

GemArts award winning Masala Festival is back from 15 – 21 July 2024 celebrating a mix and blend of the finest South Asian Arts and Culture, packed full of performances, exhibitions, events, workshops, talks, pop ups and delicious Indian food in venues, places and spaces across the North East. For full Masala Festival 2024 programme visit

Tahmina Ali:
Tahmina Ali is a British-Bangladeshi, Geordie spoken word poet and creative facilitator. Poetry has played a significant role in Tahmina’s life, it gave her a the tools to navigate through extremely challenging times and became an anchor for her own mental well-being. Now through her work Tahmina aims to pass on those very tools to others.

Tahmina has headlined poetry nights across the region and performed on large platforms such as the BBC and The Glasshouse. She is the founder and host of poetry night, Freespill (formally known as Strictly Spoken). She has been awarded the ABC Arts and Culture Award’ twice for her innovative and thought-provoking creations, and commitment to supporting the community through her work. Tahmina uses her poetry as a means to encourage positive change, her writing is generally influenced by identity, culture, social events and life as a mother.

Brown Girls Write:
Brown Girls Write is a free and accessible writing group for all women of colour who are 16+ and are interested in nurturing their creative writing skills or want to give writing a go. It is an opportunity to try different types of writing and develop your own artistic voice. It is a place where women can come together to share ideas, develop their creative practice and produce new artistic work. Brown Girls Write provides a safe space and supportive platform for group members to gain skills, try new creative activities, develop social bonds and pursue creative and professional development opportunities. It is run by New Writing North in collaboration with group members. It is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Wajid Hussain:
With a dual heritage and an engineering background informing his creativity, Wajid brings his own unique perspective to being a Northern Poet and Artist.  Wajid’s creativity is expressed through stories, poetry, word streams, and abstract illustrations. Inspired by the power of words, he is dedicated to empowering others and nurturing creativity through workshops, open dialogue, interactive experiences and opportunities for meaningful engagement.

Wajid’s mission is to provide safe spaces that amplify voices and encourage individuals on their unique journeys of self-discovery, awareness and authentic self-expression.

Nasima Bee:
Nasima Bee is a performance poet, producer, actor and creative practitioner. Shes a trustee for Manchesters Young Identity, ( and a newly appointed patron for Contact theatre in Manchester. Nasima uses art as a means of activism and her work is an exploration of the everyday through a personal lens that connects to its audience. Nasima writes about navigating loss, the layers that we exist in and spirituality. Nasima champions community and was also the former Coordinator of Manchester based CIO Ananna – MBWO, ( which supports marginalised women through activities, volunteering opportunities and local policy change.

Nasima was 1 of 5 Greater Manchester recipients of the Jerwood Creative Fellowship with Manchester International Festival 2019. Recent works include an audio commission with New Creatives North entitled Salt’ released in 2022. This work is featured in the Manchester Open in 2024 at HOME. Nasima has also released her first solo short film titled fatihah, a poetic exploration of loss and losing as part of HOMEs Push Festival 2022. Nasima played a lead role in Halal Hens as part of Vignettes 2022 produced by HER Productions. Nasima explored the research and development of her first script take back my body’ looking at what it means to be a British Muslim Woman in the current political climate with the support of Factory International in 2023. She is part of the Poets of Colour Incubator collective with Manchester Poetry Library, Words of Colour and Manchester Metropolitan University. She is currently working on a short play titled Gains’ as part of Vignettes 2023 with HER Productions.

Begin July 18, 2024 H 18:30
End July 18, 2024
Location Divercity Hub
Address 120-126 Buckingham Street
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