Pakistan’s Best Kept Secret – Lahore Museum

Speakers: Edward Mortimer, Nayanika Mathur, Professor Dame Marina Warner, Aamer Hussein, Jim Harris and Anwar Akhtar

All Souls is pleased to give people in Oxford, from the university and beyond, the opportunity to see Anwar Akhtar’s film about the Lahore Museum and its remarkable history, and to join a discussion afterwards with expert panellists – especially in view of the increasing importance of South Asian history and culture in curricula for arts and the humanities, and the role that Anwar has played, through his organisation Samosa Media, in promoting a better understanding of South Asia within the UK and vice versa.

(See the trailer of the film here:

Lahore Museum has a rich, ancient and varied collection which demonstrates the historical wealth, religious and cultural plurality of Pakistan, one of the largest Muslim majority countries in the world, with large diasporic communities across the globe. The film explores the significance of the Museum in Asia, but also in Britain today. Its collection tells stories of ancient cultures: Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim histories, and those of empire, trade, the arrival of the East India company, the contribution of British Indian soldiers in World Wars I and II, the partition of India, and the creation of Pakistan. It also gives some insight into life in Pakistan today.

The film features Anwar Akhtar, British Pakistani journalist and director of samosa media, in conversation with the Lahore Museum’s ex-director Sumera Samad, and playwright Shahid Nadeem (Ajoka Theatre Company). They view the Museum's collection, and discuss the future role of the institution within Pakistan’s wider social, political, religious and cultural context today as well as Pakistan’s relationships with Britain.

The screening will be followed by a panel and audience discussion featuring Edward Mortimer Senior Program Advisor, Salzburg Global Seminar, Nayanika Mathur - Associate Professor in the Anthropology of South Asia , Professor Dame Marina Warner, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Birkbeck College, University of London, author Aamer Hussein, Jim Harris from Ashmolean Museum and Anwar Akhtar. The discussion will consider Lahore Museum’s collection within a global context. It will also ask how films like this can support and embed diversity in museums and the curriculum.

Anwar Akhtar  is the Founder/ Director of The Samosa Media project, and led The Royal Society of Arts & Commerce Pakistan Calling project, which produced over 70 films looking at education, culture, religion, development, conflict resolution, women, and minority rights in the UK and Pakistan.  He was the production consultant on the play Dara, working with Ajoka Theatre Pakistan and the National Theatre UK and Director, The Rich Mix Centre. is an arts and journalism charity that works to embed diversity in the arts and humanities curriculum and produces work that explores cultural and social issues.

The Samosa Media is grateful for the support of The Sir John Cass’s Foundation, The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, The John Lyon’s  Foundation and Sir Harvey McGrath.


Arrival and registration: 5:40pm

Film starts promptly: 6pm

The screening is free to attend, but booking is essential. Please book your tickets here:

Entrance is on a first come first serve basis so you are encouraged to arrive early. Late comers may not be able to enter if maximum capacity is reached.