KARVAN: ‘together we travel’
Contemporary world events threaten our journey of ‘travelling together’ drawing lines of difference between cultures, practices and beliefs. The Black Lives Matter movement, forced migration from war-torn countries, varied notions of ‘free speech’, ideas around European identity/ies, sweatshop goods, fair trade mandates and how to live ‘together’ through a pandemic; all these urgent, often troubling topics and difficult debates surround our supposed ‘globalised’ lives. Indeed, it is these very topics and debates that touch and impact the lives – directly and indirectly – of the visitors/travellers that enter the KARVAN. In order to embrace such topics, engage in debate and explore ‘difference’, the KARVAN anchors itself in the experience of the caravanserai travelling along the erstwhile Silk Route. In an echo of this ancient journey the KARVAN only asks that you have a desire to travel off the beaten track, to follow a compass which may never settle for long in a single direction and be ready to question – everything.
The KARVAN lives by the notion of ‘travelling together’. As a creative space, it is inspired by the idea of the caravanserai and advocates multicultural encounters as a usual and established motif of human evolution. The KARVAN, in response to some of the most recent global crises is committed to its core value: KARVAN: ‘together we travel’.
The KARVAN warmly welcomes all. The KARVAN is brought alive by people’s languages, cultures, literary and visual mores. It celebrates difference, embraces the challenge of finding new ways to ‘travel together’ and the KARVAN remains hopeful in spite of widespread narratives of difference and exclusion.
Welcome to the KARVAN: ‘together we travel’
It’s been a pleasure to work with Emma on the Graphic Lives project. Not only does she have the academic background to contribute to the research we were doing, she also has excellent skills in engaging with community groups. She came up with a highly creative and effective response to the brief to help participants to think about ways of telling their migration narratives. Most importantly, our participants loved working with her! Using Karvan as part of our dissemination activities meant we were able to attract a wider audience and reach people who might not have found out about the project otherwise.
Sarah McNicol, Manchester Metropolitan University.