CAN took part in City of Languages event on Sunday 21 February!

CYA Museum-31

We shared a series of short films as part of the celebration of  International Mother Language Day, with Manchester UNESCO City of Literature, and created in partnership with Manchester Museum

Films were streamed live from Manchester Poetry Library

Our films explored both the importance of mother tongues and the artist’s connections with Manchester, where nearly 200 languages are spoken, more than any other city in the UK or the EU.

Almost all of the film material were gathered and edited during lockdown restrictions.

Our two contributions were:

Would you take my hand? by CAN Young Artists

“These words, off this tongue mean the world to me; the place I call home has the world  on its doorstep, the world in its heart….”

The young artists on our short film journey which has been inspired by the strength, power, and beauty they found when exploring Manchester Museum’s collections from across the world. We celebrated our city of Manchester – the wonderful multilingual city. CAN Young Artists is generously supported by BBC Children In Need.


CAN Young Artists – Abdullah, Alicia, Amir, Osman

Yusra Warsama  – writer and director

Clive Hunte of Busha Productionsvideographer and editor

Jaydev Mistrymusician


The Mother Tongue is Hungry by Abas Eljanabi, Farjana Kabir, Louison Kangombe

The Mother Tongue makes us hungry for home, for distant memories, for a time that no longer exists. The Mother Tongue is a craving, sometimes forbidden, sometimes slipping out of reach.

The Mother Tongue is hungry, hungry for change, hungry for revolution.

Three multi-lingual performers presented three short films as previews of their new collaborative performance piece which will be shown later in 2021: live or live-streamed depending on Covid restrictions.

Farjana Kabir presented a short drama. It’s 5 AM in Bolton. A single mother from Bangladesh finds herself in the UK but hungry for memories of home. Her best friend calls her from Bangladesh. She shared voice notes, pictures, and familiar sounds. The friends take a trip via video call to a national Martyr Monument, Shaheed Minar, reflecting on the history of their mother language through songs and poems.

Louison Kangombe presented a short lecture about Lingala, the most widely spoken language in the Congo and reflects on his feelings about his language. Lingala originated in a Congolese province and thanks to the army it became the main national language. Lingala has shifted over time, affected by the influences of other spoken languages of the Congo and it’s now transformed to a completely different language.

Abas Eljanabi’s short film explored the meaning and significance of language and its relationship with revolution, courage, and individuality. He reflected on language as an entire system of communication, a way of presenting a whole way of being. He also resurrected a short monologue from a play originally written in Arabic in 1969.

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Photo by Shirlaine Forrest



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