Join us for a fascinating panel discussion focusing on the resilience, rights and roles of Bangladeshi women from independence in 1971 to the present day. The film 'Jothorleena' by Bengali artist Dilara Begum Jolly that portrays the life of Roma Chowdhury will provide a starting point for discussion. The four internationally acclaimed female speakers will then move onto to examine and explore narratives of Bangladeshi women in South Asia and beyond. We will then open the discussion to audience members for a Q&A with the panellists.

Speakers for this event are:

  • Dilara Begum Jolly (b. 1960, Chittagong, Bangladesh) is an artist whose work touches upon themes of gender, trauma and the female body. Initially trained as a painter, she has expanded her practice to include various media such as performance, video and sound. Jolly has developed a signature practice of needling on paper and photographs – a painstaking process during which she draws motifs on paper, or highlights areas on photographs, through needle prickling. She recently debuted as a film maker by creating the film 'Jothorleena'.
  • Nobonita Chowdhury is the Director of Preventing Violence against Women Initiative and Gender, Justice & Diversity at BRAC. She became a household name as a presenter of radio and television talk shows and rose to nationwide prominence hosting her own primetime talk show Rajkahon- Nobonita Chowdhuryr Shathe on DBC News. Chowdhury has also worked at the BBC and Ekattor Television and received the prestigious ‘Anannya Top Ten Award’ in 2017 as a leading woman of her time.
  • Leesa Gazi is a British Bangladeshi writer, theatre-worker, award-winning filmmaker, and co-founder of Komola Collective. Gazi is the concept developer, co-writer and performer of the play Birangona: Women of War. Gazi recently directed a multiple award-winning feature documentary, Rising Silence, that sheds light on the lives of sexual violence survivors in the aftermath of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Since 2017, Gazi has started working with Global Survivors Network, Sema, established by Nobel Laureate Dr Denis Mukegwege's Foundation. The first-ever International public address by two Birangona women of Bangladesh, Anoara Begum and Jabeda Khatun was made possible by Gazi's efforts. They joined fellow survivors in an international call at the Hague for global reparations schemes to address the consequences of rape as a weapon of war. Gazi is now working on the Collective Memory Group at SEMA.
  • Catherine Masud is an award-winning filmmaker working in both documentary and fictional genres. She produced and co-wrote the acclaimed feature Matir Moina (The Clay Bird, 2002), which won the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes and many other awards. Other notable productions include Muktir Gaan (Song of Freedom, 1995), A Kind of Childhood (2002), and Runway (2010). Thematically many of her films address social justice issues and the conflict between religious and cultural identity. An American citizen by birth, Catherine spent much of her adult life in Dhaka, Bangladesh, working together with her late husband and filmmaking partner, Tareque Masud. Since her relocation back to the US in 2015, she has divided her time between teaching, writing, and film production.

This panel discussion will take place as an Zoom webinar. Once you have registered for the webinar, a link to Zoom will be sent to you with instructions on how to log on.

Free event. Registration is required - book a ticket online. Tickets available until 12pm on the day of the event.  

The film 'Jothorleena' is being screened from 26th to 28th March, further details can be found here: Film screening of 'Jothorleena' by Dilara Begum Jolly.

This event is part of a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bangladeshi independence, delivered in collaboration with the Dhaka-based Bengal Foundation. It is funded by a grant from the British Council’s Digital Collaboration Fund and hosted through British Council Arts.

British Council and Bengal Foundation (logos)

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