TIDE Salon

TIDE Salon is an interactive multimedia collaboration between the ERC-TIDE project, the award-winning novelist Preti Taneja, six extraordinary sound and spoken word artists, curator and creative producer Sweety Kapoor, and critically-acclaimed filmmaker Ben Crowe (ERA Films).


Alien, stranger, foreigner, exile, citizen — these are among the many words and concepts that were shaped in crucial and lasting ways by travel, trade, and colonialism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, informing ongoing debates about belonging and identity.

TIDE Salon showcases the work of South Asian classical musicians and British Asian spoken word poets who responded to our TIDE Keywords, drawing on their own personal histories and stories to ask:

  • What do those words mean to us now?
  • How does knowing their meaning and migration change our social world?
  • Can we communicate across form, distance and time to explore the politics of translation and its lived realities?

From Drawing Rooms to Digital Realms

Taking the intimate ghar (home)-style salon as its inspiration, TIDE Salon evokes the creative atmosphere of early modern European or Mughal salons, with their mix of scholars, poets, and artists. While the collaboration originally entailed a one-off, ticketed event for a public audience, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued transformed the project in unexpected ways. The interactive installation that has emerged, created by Ben Crowe (director of ERA Films), showcases the pieces produced by the artists and spoken word poets while simultaneously offering an inside look at the process of collaboration and ‘doing’ history. The installation is a salon, port, and archive all at once: a place where different layers of source material mix and mingle, allowing visitors to hear new music, embark on a series of visual and textual discoveries, and gain behind-the-scenes access into the ideas and exchanges that produce creative work.

The installation is framed by three fragments by Preti Taneja, written as if found by an archivist and a translator working a century on from now. The fragments are in a unique form: part translation, part diary of desire; one is a ghazal. They are inspired by and include material drawn from the research process of the actual TIDE researchers, the keywords they collaborated on and material and music provided by the TIDE Salon artists. Working in oral puns, overheard lyrics, canonical texts, original ideas, the fragments can be read in any order – yet they speak to each other, forming a conversation across the installation and offering a story of TIDE, the Salon artists and our times full of isolation, digital connection and pixelated dreams.

Finding your way

The digital installation allows visitors to navigate their own routes into literature, music, and the historical archive. From the embarkation page, click the journey map and choose your own voyage through keywords, soundbites, video clips, images, poetry, and literary fragments. These interconnections are meant to replicate the messy, eclectic process of historical research itself, where different ways into source material can influence the stories we tell, and where archives often invite self-reflection and creative expression. No two journeys need be the same.

A link to the accessible text description of the installation can be found here.



Who is involved?

TIDE researchers
Preti Taneja, author
Ben Crowe, director ERA Films
Sweety Kapoor, curator/creative producer
Steve Chandra Savale, guitarist/founding member of Asian Dub Foundation
Sarathy Korwar, tabla and drums/critically acclaimed jazz music artist/trained in Indian classical
Shama Rahman, sitarist, vocalist, music artist/PhD in neuroscience of musical creativity
Ms. Mohammed, Trinidadian-Indian music artist/guitarist/lyricist/singer/music producer
Sanah Ahsan, award-winning spoken word artists/published poet/psychologist
Zia Ahmed – award-winning spoken word artist/playwright/Young Poet Laureate for London

The TIDE project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 681884). TIDE Salon was produced with additional funding from the Humanities Cultural Programme and support from TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities).