top of page


JAAG: Panjabi and Pahari-Pothwari Language and Literature Festival is back in Handsworth, Birmingham, bringing together academics, writers, artists, performers and activists from across Birmingham, the UK and the subcontinent. The day will be filled with talks, discussions, workshops and performances, an all-day creche and events for children, stalls and free chai. 

JAAG emerged in response to a growing desire amongst young people to (re)connect with languages, literatures and cultures that have been lost due to the legacies of colonialism, migration and class aspiration. Meanwhile, we have found that older generations who were caught up in struggle and survival, are also keen to share their experiences, languages and knowledge. We never saw this as a one-way exchange, however. There’s a lot we can continue to learn from young people, particularly as they confront and call out everyday exclusions and oppressions. We can’t inherit the past uncritically. In this context, we set out to create a unique and much-needed intergenerational and intercultural space, platforming Panjabi & Pahari-Pothwari Language and Literature. Rather than performing for the mainstream, we wanted to use this specific focus to go deeper - amplifying lesser-known voices and marginalised perspectives while interrogating the ways in which we relate to our languages, literatures, cultures and each other. While honouring our emotional connection to these fragile and precious languages and literatures that are so often devalued, we wanted to go beyond simple nostalgia and celebration to also consider how and who these languages and literatures might hurt. 

The resounding success of our inaugural JAAG festival, held in the heart of the Handsworth community in May 2023, filled us with joy and gratitude. The day jam-packed with talks, discussions, workshops and performances, welcomed over 300 people across different ages, religions, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds in collective conversation. As we came together to learn across our similarities and differences, we didn’t brush over hierarchies. Instead, we tried to face and centre these with compassion and self-reflection to form meaningful connections, deeper solidarities and long-term collaborations. We loved the enthusiasm and warmth that was apparent throughout the day. It confirmed our belief that there is an interest in, even thirst for, physical spaces of connection and learning across generations and communities that allow for nuance and critique alongside celebration. 

As we look ahead to JAAG Festival 2024, we acknowledge the violence and trauma we have witnessed unfolding across the world, from Palestine to Sudan. This year’s festival centres resistance and solidarity through art and writing, along with focusing on mental health, neurodivergence and well-being as inseparable from structural inequality and oppression. We are excited at the prospect of another day filled with impactful talks, discussions, workshops and performances, bringing together academics, writers, performers and activists doing meaningful work, from Birmingham, the UK, and across the world. We have endeavoured to keep ticket prices reasonable and free for those for whom fees might be an obstacle, as well as centring other access needs. Our intention is to offer our communities the thoughtful, high-quality event that they deserve.

JAAG 2024 - Programme Poster-1.png
bottom of page