Raman Mundair - Leverhulme Artist in Residence
Raman Mundair was born in Ludhiana, India and came to live in the UK at the age of five. She was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and has performed readings of her work at numerous diverse venues in the UK and abroad. Raman’s work has been widely anthologized and received excellent reviews in publications including The Independent, The Herald, World Literature Today and Discovering Scottish Literature. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, ‘A Choreographer’s Cartography’ and ‘Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves’ – both published by Peepal Tree Press – and ‘The Algebra of Freedom’ (a play) published by Aurora Metro Press.
Recent work includes The Incoming Project, commissioned poetry for the Ilkley Literature Festival publication – Conversations about Empires and for the University of Edinburgh’s Writing the North project, and a public art poetry installation: Secrets of the Green, Aberdeen.
In 2009 Raman was chosen as one of two British writers to participate in the Word Express, Literature Across Frontiers project (Word Express took 20 young writers from 12 European countries by train through South-East Europe to Turkey where they spent five days doing readings, exploring the city, meeting young Turkish writers and then took part in the Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival and the Istanbul Book Fair). In 2008 she was appointed as a Scottish Poetry Library Poet Partner and was nominated for the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Award. Raman was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Award in 2007 and took up her appointment as Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow at Hotel Chevillion in Grez-sur-Loing, France in 2008. She has also been awarded the prestigious Arts Council England International Fellowship at the India International Centre in Delhi. In 2006 she was runner up in the Penguin Decibel Prize for Short Fiction.
Raman has worked extensively for The British Council, delivering her work in a range of venues from university lecture theatres to street cafes, in countries including Namibia, Bahrain, Italy and Sweden where she was Writer in Residence at Stockholm University. She has been awarded several residencies and fellowships including Scottish Arts Council Writing Fellow in Glasgow, Visiting Artist at Flax Arts Studio, Belfast, and the inaugural Scottish Arts Council Writer in Residence for the Shetland Islands. She is a sought after facilitator of creative writing workshops and her client list ranges from schools and universities to the British Council and Amnesty International. Raman is a member of Scottish PEN.
As a playwright Raman was awarded a mentorship with the Playwrights Studio Scotland in 2005. In 2007 her play ‘The Algebra of Freedom’ was produced to great acclaim by 7:84 Theatre Company. In 2006 she collaborated with the National Theatre Scotland and Òran Mòr - A Play, A Pie, A Pint – on ‘Side Effects’, a one-act play, which went on to tour Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin. Raman was one of the 24 writers chosen by the Royal Court Theatre and the BBC in 2008 for their 24 Degrees project which nurtures and develops work by the ‘next generation of promising new writers in Britain.’
As an artist she makes work that represents text and narrative in a visual form. Her work has been exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow, City Art Gallery, Leicester and the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin.
In 2008 Raman was invited to read at the Scottish Government EU office in Brussels and gave the ‘reply to the lads’ speech at their official Burn’s Supper. She was identified by a national literary survey of Scottish writing as being an exciting, new rising literary voice (Discovering Scottish Literature - A Contemporary Overview, 2008).
Poetry, Prose, Plays & Public Art
A Choreographer’s Cartography (Peepal Tree Press, 2007, ISBN 1 84523 051 5) – collection of poems
The Algebra of Freedom (Aurora Metro, 2007, ISBN 978-09551566-6-3) – play
Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves (Peepal Tree Press, 2003, ISBN 1900715805) – collection of poems
The Incoming Project – Some Shetland Voices (Shetland Museum and Archives / Shetland Heritage Publications, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9572031-4-3) – editor/contributor
Chattri Memorial, ArchiTexts 2005 - web installation
A response in prose and poetry to the Chattri Memorial, near Brighton, Sussex in memory of the Sikh and Hindu soldiers who died while in hospitals in Brighton and Hove during World War 1.
Secrets of the Green, public art: poetry & art plaque trail, The Green, Aberdeen, 2013
The Algebra of Freedom – produced by 7:84 Theatre Company, 2007. Text published by Aurora Metro.
Side Effects – a site/cast specific collaboration with and produced by the National Theatre Scotland, 2006.
The Orange Sari – (a play for 7 – 12 year olds) produced by Blue Elephant Theatre, London, 1999
Prizes and Awards
2008 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Award (nominee)
2007 Robert Louis Stevenson Award (winner)
2007 Penguin Decibel Prize (Short Fiction) (shortlist)
2007 Arts Council England Visiting Fellow, India International Centre (winner)
2005 Playwrights Studio Scotland, Mentee Award (winner)
Fellowships and Residencies
Leverhulme Artist in Residence, Shetland Archives, Shetland Museum and Archives, 2013-2014
Reader in Residence, Aberdeen Libraries, 2012
Allegories of Power residency, Ilkley Literature Fesitival, October 2012
Leafing The Green, Aberdeen, 2010-2012
Word Express, Literature Across Frontiers Residency 2009
Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, 2008
Scottish Poetry Library Poet Partner, 2008-2009
Arts Council England Visiting Fellow, India International Centre, 2007
Scottish Arts Council Writing Fellow, Glasgow, 2004-2007
Visiting Artist, Flax Arts Studio, Belfast, 2004
Scottish Arts Council Writer in Residence for the Shetland Islands, 2002 – 2003
British Council Writer in Residence at Stockholm University, 2001
Raman’s writing has been anthologised in the following:
Archipelagos – poems from Writing the North, (University of Edinburgh, 2014)
Conversations About Empires, (Ilkley Literature Festival, 2012)
Out of Bounds, (Bloodaxe, 2012)
The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry, (Harper Collins India, 2012)
The New Shetlander, Yule Issue (SISS, 2011)
ImagiNation, Stories of Scotland’s Future (Big Sky Press, 2011)
These Island We Sing, (Polygon Birlinn, 2011)
Departures and Arrivals, (Scottish PEN, 2009)
Red, (Peepal Tree Press, 2009)
The New Anthem, (Tranquebar Press, 2009)
One Poem in Search of a Translator: Re-writing ‘Les Fenêtres’ by Apollinaire, (Peter Lang, 2008)
Atlas 02, (Aark Arts, 2007)
Addicted to Brightness, (Long Lunch Press, 2006)
Sable – Autumn/Fall06 Issue (Sable Publishing, 2006)
60/60, Daemon 7 &8, (Survivors Press, 2005)
Freedom Spring (Waverley Books, 2005)
Poetry Scotland, Summer 2005, (Diehard publishers, 2005)
Acuman, New Voices, Issue 51, (The Ember Press 2005)
Kavya Bharati, Poetry of the Indian Diaspora, No16 2004, (The Study for Indian Literature in English and Translation, 2004)
Swedish Reflections, (Arcadia, 2003).
Markings - New Writing and Art from Dumfries and Galloway: Volume 16, (Kirkcudbright/Scottish Arts Council, 2003)
The New Shetlander, Hairst Issue (SISS, 2003)
Sable – Spring/Summer03 Issue (Sable Publishing, 2003)
Calabash, Winter 2002, (Centreprise, 2002)
The New Shetlander, Voar Issue (SISS,2002)
The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry, (Redbeck, 2000)
Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women's Poetry, (The Women's Press, 1998)
The Fire People: A Collection of Contemporary Black British Poets, (Payback Press/Canongate Books, 1998)
Here Now, There Now, (Exhibition Catolgue, 2009)
Literatur Und Migration – Indien, (Edition Milo, Austria, 2008)
Contemporary South Asia, 14 (1), March 2005, (Routledge 2005)
South Asian Popular Culture, Volume 3, No1, April 2005, (Routledge, 2005)
Red Threads, P.Desai and P. Sekhon, (Diva/Millivres, 2003)
Sister Namibia, Vol.12, 3 and 4, (Sister Namibia, 2000)
Front Seat, Issue 4, (Black Theatre Forum, 1997)
2011 A Servant’s Tale at Coast Festival, (site-specific installation for the Coast Festival) a collaboration with artists Margaret Stewart and Elspeth Winram from the Itchee Wasp Collective. The work was exhibited in the East Pavilion of Banff Castle, Scotland and draws on the perceived history and hidden narratives of Banff Castle.
2008 Here Now, There Now, (site-specific, text/performance/installation) a collaboration with artist and Creative Scotland award winner Pernille Spence (Scotland), exhibited along Scot Rail routes in Scotland in June 08.
2007 Amygdalae, (text/performance/installation) a collaboration with artist Maedhbh McMahon (Ireland), Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
2005 Voice/Over, (text/film installation) a collaboration with artist Lotta Petronella (Finland) as part of the ‘Rule of Thumb’ exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
A Choreographer's Cartography, (new media/text installation) a collaboration with Sean Clark (England), Leicester City Gallery
Black Pepper Dreams, (text) billboard exhibit as part of ArchiTexts 2005
2004 Awarded Flax Art Studio Residency, Belfast. Residency resulted in Answer Me A Question, a text piece, disseminated throughout the city using a series of postcards.
Participating artist (text/photography/video installation) in the Rule of Thumb exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
2003 TXT ME, (new media installation) [part of 'FOLD'], at the Leicester City Art Gallery
2000 Let Me Hold You, (installation) – [part of YOTA funded 'Fragments of Identity' exhibition, at The Generator Gallery, Loughborough] - Virtual tour of exhibition under construction at www.cuttlefish.com/fragments
The following links take you to websites that allow you to view text, images, film and an overview of creative work Raman has made:
Writing the North
Conversations About Empires
Norn But Not Forgotten – BBC radio 4
A triptych of three short films: Pavor Nocturnus, Apnea & Cataplexia explore the effects of domestic violence on sleep. The films were originally exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow as part of the Elbow Room season. A collaboration with Finnish filmmaker Lotta Petronella.
A Choreographer’s Cartography
A collaboration with multi-media artist Sean Clark using my poem – A Choreographer’s Cartography - was the starting point for an interactive installation using sound, light and movement.
Fragments of Identity
A multi-media art installation exploring the relationship between grief, memory and loss.
Here Now, There Now
Text works and performances that explore the space between departure and destination.
4-6 June 2008
Over three days subtle changes took place in the landscape, visible only to passengers on trains, along some of Scotland’s busiest commuter routes.
4 June Aberdeen - Dundee
5 June Dundee - Edinburgh
6 June Edinburgh - Glasgow
Devised by Pernille Spence, Here Now, There Now was the culmination of a Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award 2006.
The text works on this project were created by Raman Mundair.
“Raman Mundair’s signs along the railway track provided a different kind of slogan for commuters, in essence, cartography for thought and the imagination to traverse. She describes the signs as being ‘mediations for meditation’. Rather than being a train sign directing to a platform they directed the viewer back into themselves and an inner space for contemplation. The sign is normally used to quantify, name or fix something. Mundair’s signs operate in reverse, expanding the meaning and in doing so making how we think about movement, space and time, in relation to ourselves, more elastic. With an economy of language she has separated out phrases, onto separate signs to be viewed concurrently.
timeline deadline trainline lifeline
The separate units of these words begin to resemble railway carriages ready to be linked by the viewer. Situated on the Aberdeen to Dundee route was the sign:
Train your eye to sea
Its double meaning, to take in fully the sight of the sea at that very instant, and to see things afresh, highlights one of the main messages of Here Now, There Now, with its live performance and glimpses of something out of the ordinary, which is for us to consider our capacity for how we can fully inhabit the moment and the space we move through.”
Full documentation can be found at:
You can view some of Raman Mundair’s text works below:
Leafing The Green project, Aberdeen
Photos/images of some of the community project work:
Secrets of the Green, Aberdeen
The Green Aye!