Rishi Sunak Endorses 7th Annual World Music Conference

Hon Prime Minister, of Great Britain, Rt Hon Mr. Rishi MP, endorses the 7th annual World Music Conference on Music and Intelligence…writes Sruthi Ramakrishnan FRAS

The British Carnatic Choir hosted the 7th Annual virtual World Music Conference on 15th December 2023 under the esteemed patronage of the United Kingdom Commission for the UNESCO.

It is the flagship music conference in the Midlands, which aims to bring together artists and musicians of all ages, faiths, races, and cultural backgrounds, with the hope of sharing intercultural values, practices, knowledge, commonalities and to promote peace, harmony, and togetherness.

The conference is supported by the conference Chief Patron- His Excellency Dr. Shashank Vikram, IFS, Consul General of India in Birmingham, Cllr Chaman Lal, Lord Mayor of Birmingham and the Patron of the British Carnatic Choir, Mr. Andy Street, CBE, Combined Mayor of the West Midlands, Sir John Crabtree OBE, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Dr. Paul Sabapathy CBE, Former Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands and Patron of the British Carnatic Choir.

James Ömer Bridge, Secretary-General and Chief Executive of the UK National Commission for UNESCO says:

‘We were delighted to offer Patronage to the 7th World Music Conference held in December 2023. The conference brings together music communities from around the world to celebrate, share and learn from one another, thus upholding UNESCO’s constitution by building “…mutual understanding and a truer and more perfect knowledge of each other’s lives”.’

The WMC strives to create a platform that allows individuals and communities to develop musical skills, enhance cognitive competence and creativity, and ultimately foster a deeper appreciation of music.

Dr. Chithra Ramakrishnan, MBE, FRSA, FRAS, Founder, Director of The British Carnatic Choir, Founder, Curator of the World Music Conference comments on the theme of this year’s conference:

“The endorsement from our Hon Prime Minister, Rt.Hon. Rishi Sunak, MP is a tremendous honour and a testament to the significance of our most recent event. The Prime Minister’s recognition underscores the importance of exploring the intersection of music and intelligence, and we are grateful for the encouragement to continue our mission.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to the Right Honourable Prime Minister for supporting our cause. The endorsement not only adds prestige to our conference but also highlights the commitment to fostering discussions on the transformative power of music in enhancing intelligence and creativity. A Heartfelt Thank You to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP.

“It is our intention that this conference could springboard the redefinition of educational curriculums, positively impacting the way we currently go about teaching music to the younger generation.  our conference seeks to explore the synergistic relationship between music and intelligence, with focus on world music. The WMC seeks to respect intercultural variation and promote appreciation through music.

“This theme is topical at present, especially with the rapid growth of AI and its proliferation into various fields, from manufacturing to healthcare. This year, the conference vowed to examine the utilisation of AI into music practice and performance, considering how these situations can be enhanced for all stakeholders involved.”


This year’s goals were centred around the theme of “Music and Intelligence”.

Identifying and establishing the relationship between music and intelligence in various cultures, considering the following key themes:

  • The psychological and neurological impacts of music on the brain.
  • How practicing music can be modified to increase intelligence.
  • The role of Artificial Intelligence in music composition, appreciation, and understanding.

The conference aimed to achieve these through a series of interactive, hands-on workshops, performances, keynote speeches, by renowned global experts and professionals.

Some of the featured keynote speakers/presenters at the conference were

 Professor Francisco Tigre Moura, Professor of Marketing, IU International University of Applied Sciences, Germany,

Professor Nassim Aissa Belbaly, Empathetic AI Founder, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Australia

 Dr. Shantala Hegde, Additional Professor (Neuropsychology) National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, India

Professor Islah Ali-MacLachlan, Associate Professor, Audio Engineering and acoustics, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK

Dr. Lakshmi Balraj- Indian classical vocalist, Chief Officer and Head, Indian Dental Association, Mumbai.

Diamond Duggal, British-Indian music producer, composer, musician and AI researcher. London.

Dr. Ramya Palacholla, Director, Digital Science and AI, AstraZeneca, U.S.

The conference featured a special highlight called ‘Global Young Trailblazers’, a segment by young musicians  from different continents  showcasing  how they embraced AI in their music.

British Carnatic Choir Awards 2023-Celebrating Excellence in the Arts.

The 7th annual World Music Conference hosted the virtual awards ceremony of the 9th annual British Carnatic Choir Awards for arts and culture -2023.

The British Carnatic Choir (BCC) Awards for Arts and Culture honours individuals and organisations that have made a positive impact on society through their creativity and commitment.

The distinguished awardees for 2023 were-  

1. Professor Linda Merrick CBE- Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music.

2. Mr. Vibhaker Baxi- Chairman and Managing Director of UK-based Navras Records Limited

3. Professor Adam Palma- Professor of Jazz Guitar and a Voting member of The Grammy Recording Academy

4. Lucas Pedrosa – Guitarist, producer and arranger at Igreja Batista Nações Unidas – United Nations Baptist Church, São Paulo, Brazil.

Asia News Books FEATURE

PROFILE: Dr Abhinav Pandya

Asian Lite profiles Dr Abhinav Pandya, the author of new book Terror Financing in Kashmir which exposes the complex web of terror financing in Kashmir

Dr. Abhinav Pandya is a distinguished policy analyst with a robust background in counterterrorism, Indian foreign policy, and Afghanistan-Pakistan geopolitics. He holds a Doctoral degree from the Jindal School of International Affairs (OP Jindal Global University) and is a graduate of Cornell University in public affairs, with a bachelor’s degree from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.

As the founder, Director, and CEO of Usanas Foundation, a prominent India-based security and foreign policy think tank, Dr. Pandya has been at the forefront of shaping discourse on international security. In his capacity as CEO, he curated two impactful international security and foreign policy conferences titled Maharana Pratap Annual Geopolitics Dialogue in 2022 and 2023.

Dr. Pandya’s influence extends globally, as evidenced by his extensive contributions to esteemed publications such as the National Interest (USA), Vivekananda International Foundation, Observer Research Foundation, Haaretz (Israel), and many others. His insightful articles have also found space in peer-reviewed journals like Perspectives on Terrorism, CLAWS Journal, and Strategic Analysis.

A prolific author, Dr. Pandya has penned the authoritative work “Radicalization in India: An Exploration” (Pentagon, 2019), offering a comprehensive examination of extremist undercurrents in the Indian Islamic landscape. The book delves into specific cases, including an in-depth analysis of the ecosystem of extremism and terrorism in Kashmir and the rise of homegrown suicide attackers. Dr. Pandya’s work has proven prescient, indirectly forecasting events such as Pulwama-styled suicide attacks.

Dr. Pandya’s commitment to knowledge dissemination extends beyond the written word. He has delivered lectures on geopolitics and security issues to diverse audiences, including NATO officers, US Congressional Staff members, and various institutions in India and globally. His expertise has been sought by renowned organizations like the Central Reserve Police Force, the Indian Army, and the Jerusalem Institute of Strategic Studies.

In times of critical importance, Dr. Pandya has played advisory roles, notably offering insights on security issues during the revocation of Kashmir’s special status (Article 370) and contributing to the International Labor Organisation, UN, as a member of the national-level specialist team on MGNREGS. His rich experience encompasses a deep understanding of conflict situations and intelligence dynamics in Kashmir.

Dr. Pandya’s latest contribution, “Terror Financing in Kashmir” (Routledge, Taylor and Francis 2023), promises to be a seminal work. This book meticulously analyzes the intricate web of terror financing in Kashmir, shedding light on the multifaceted financial system involving various actors. Drawing on interviews with confidential sources within terror networks and inputs from security agencies, the book provides a foundation for a robust counter-terrorism strategy in Kashmir.

Dr. Abhinav Pandya

With a remarkable track record of research, publication, and advisory roles, Dr. Abhinav Pandya stands as a thought leader in the fields of security studies, military and strategic studies, politics, and international relations. His work is invaluable for professionals and researchers seeking deeper insights into complex geopolitical issues, particularly those concerning South Asia.

Arts & Culture Books FEATURE

‘Why Can’t Elephants Be Red?’: A Book By Vani Tripathi

A book feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Vani Tripathi Tikoo remarks, “Each book has a journey but this book has two. My first journey was while deciding on the title of the book. I wanted to remember all those little red elephants that you and I have tucked away inside us but have forgotten them because we think like adults now. The second journey was about this beautiful family of 12 people in COVID times, and my daughter Akshara who was just two and a half years old then and is the protagonist of this book, Akku. She was without me, her mother because I was with my mother in Delhi, and she was being brought up by these beautiful people in Singapore. So, these journeys were unique, and it took two different countries to bring up my child.”

Praising the book, Smt Smriti Zubin Irani had at the launch earlier in 2023  saidThis book is proof that a story can be written in pain. I stand here for the family that has kept themselves together irrespective of the pandemic and the challenges that were brought upon by geography. This book is a symbol of your tenacity, Vani, and that we stand shoulder to shoulder irrespective of our gender for those who need us the most.”

Dr Ramesh Chandra Gaur has said that , “This book is coming from a person based on her experience, exposure, and interaction; hence it contains a lot of practical thought; which is the beauty of this book. When you go through the book, you may also feel that you are going through the experience of your own parenthood.”

About the Book

“So, isn’t it fun to think of a crab, who has a moustache, a fish who probably has a horn, a unicorn who doesn’t have a horn, and an elephant who is red? What a fun place that world would be!”

Akku is a lively, imaginative, and adventurous two-and-a-half-year-old little girl. Growing up partly in Gurgaon and mostly in Singapore, she is the darling of her big joint family. From playing with her fishy friends and beloved puppy to discovering the wonders of swimming pools, sea beaches, and malls, every new experience fills Akku with joy and curious questions. 

She loves to scribble, draw and colour and her imagination runs riot with elephants that are red, crabs that have moustaches, and unicorns that don’t have horns. But the biggest adventure of all awaits Akku — her first day at school.

About the Author

Vani Tripathi Tikoo is an actor and teacher who considers The Little Prince as the Bible for all adults who want to understand children. Keeping her work with children alive after having done theatre with kids for more than two decades at the National School of Drama, Theatre in Education Company and has written plays that turned into performances, she has finally forayed into writing for children. This is her first book as an author. She considers children to be the Gurus who saved us from adulthood!

Vani Tripathi

About Niyogi Books

 An internationally acclaimed publishing house, Niyogi Books, established in 2004, has more than 500 titles today. We not only specialize in textual context but also strive to give equal importance to visuals. We purvey a wide range of content on art, architecture, history, culture, spirituality, memoirs, and every aspect, which connects, with our rich heritage. Under our umbrella, we have fiction and non-fiction that cover books on social science, cookery, and self-help as well as the English translation of modern classics from different Indian languages. Niyogi Books have recently launched four new Imprints: Olive Turtle (English fiction), Thornbird (English Translation) and Paper Missile (non-fiction) and Bahuvachan (Hindi Translation: Fiction & Non-Fiction). Also, we have co-published a number of critically acclaimed books with reputed institutions like the British Library, Rietberg Museum Zurich, IGNCA, National Gallery of Modern Art, Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India), National Manuscript Mission, Sahitya Akademi, among many others.

Books FEATURE India News

Children’s Book Feature: CARROT SOUP by Sadaf Hussain

Yummy Soup and Tender Loving Care are a Sure Cure! Niyogi Books launched its second Children’s book under its imprint Perky Parrot, titled Carrot Soup by Sadaf Hussain. This is a heart-warming story about helping your family and loved ones. The book helps children (and parents) understand that tasks like housework are not gender specific, thus subtly conveying the message that both boys and girls can cook and do domestic chores. The book also conveys positive messages about teamwork, caring and sharing and contains Pankaj Saikia’s expressive illustrations and fun activities which make the book attractive for little readers. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

About the Book
Meet Phudku, Chamki and their parents—a happy bunny family. One day, Momma Rabbit falls sick. With Papa Rabbit away at work, the brother-sister duo must work together to run the house. Will teamwork and carrot soup save the day?

About the Author

Chef, author and podcaster, Sadaf Hussain wears many hats! When he isn’t chewing on food history or food stories, Sadaf likes to write and speak about culture and myth busting. This children’s book by him contains a heart-warming story and a recipe perfect for young bunnies and humans alike.

About the Illustrator 

Pankaj Saikia is an author and illustrator who lives and works in Assam. He has created many picture books, with both words and paint! While drawing his pictures, Pankaj takes inspiration from the people and areas he has grown up in. Apart from picture books, he also loves reading and creating comics and animated stories.

About the Publisher

An internationally acclaimed publishing house, Niyogi Books, established in 2004, has more than 650 titles today. Niyogi Books not only specializes in textual context but also strive to give equal importance to visuals. It purveys a wide range of content on art, architecture, history, culture, spirituality, memoirs, and every aspect which connects with our rich heritage. The house has co-published a number of critically acclaimed books with reputed institutions like the British Library, Rietberg Museum Zurich, IGNCA, National Gallery of Modern Art, Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India), National Manuscript Mission, Sahitya Akademi, among many others.

They also publish fiction and non-fiction that cover books on social science, cookery, and self-help as well as English Translation of modern classics from different Indian languages. Niyogi Books now has four more Imprints: Olive Turtle (English fiction), Thornbird (English Translation) and Paper Missile(English non-fiction) and Bahuvachan (Hindi Translation: Fiction & Non-Fiction).

ALSO READ: Oscar-Qualifying Animated Short Film AMERICAN SIKH

FEATURE Health London News

Release the issues in the tissues: The Rosen Method Bodywork by Francesca Stutely

The Rosen Method is hands-on bodywork that connects physical tension with emotional holding. The subtle touch allows your body to go into a deep state of relaxation, letting go of tension that may have been there for years, it creates a space for letting go. The Rosen Method is hands on touch that peels back the layers of protection, once released love and joy are found. A feature by lifestyle columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Our bodies have muscle memory and The Rosen Method encourages access to this space, creating a possibility for softening of the muscles, a release and a new space for change, both physically and emotionally. 

Francesca Stutely “I was fortunate enough to be in Marion Rosen’s class, learning from the founder herself and I enjoy passing on this knowledge to my clients. There’s strength in vulnerability. Once you allow yourself to be vulnerable – you don’t have to pretend anymore. This is where the truth lies. The Rosen Method Bodywork releases trauma from the body, softening muscles and creating peace and space, in the body and the mind’ Francesca Stutely

A session takes place, on a massage table, wearing underwear, covered with a sheet and blanket and lasts for one hour. This is not a pamper massage, it’s an extremely powerful tool for self development.

‘This work takes u from who you think you are to who you really are. In the end you can’t be anyone else’ said the method founder Marion Rosen once.

The Rosen Method Bodywork allows you to be you- not who you have become or who people expect you to be. The healing is in the feelings, allowing the tears to flow creates space for inner peace. There’s no more delicious place to be, said Francesca Stutely.

About Francesca Stutely:

At age 21 Francesca, born and bred in London, travelled through India and Nepal, where she contracted amoebic dysentery, then a viral illness, which resulted in reactive arthritis. Unable to walk properly it set her on a path to her own healing.

Absolutely determined to get well, with a mixture of dozens of holistic therapies, and a different mental attitude, she changed her diet, and her party lifestyle.

On her path towards healing, she discovered The Rosen Method bodywork, a very powerful hands on technique that connects muscle tension with buried emotions. She was so fascinated by the mind-body connection, that she stayed and studied at The Rosen Institute in Berkeley California with Marion Rosen herself. After 4 years of studies, she became a practitioner herself (1994).

In California, she also started practicing Yoga and was hooked, later deciding to become a teacher. She studied at Yoga Center Madrid qualifying as a Sivananda Hatha Yoga teacher 2005.

The Rosen Method connected Francesca to the unconscious body, and she wanted to know more about the unconscious mind. This led her to study NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), and she became a Practitioner, and then a Master Practitioner at The NLP School in London in 2011, with Robbie Steinhouse.

Francesca has been crew at both Tony Robbins’ UPW, and various Hay House events in London.
Francesca truly believes it takes a continuing combination of disciplines, both mental and physical to achieve ongoing health and wellbeing.

Francesca wants to share her knowledge and experience with the world so they can obtain the same inner peace that she feels so blessed to have found.

ALSO READ: KINARA: Top-Notch Indian Cuisine in Dubai

FEATURE Lite Blogs London News

Bloom Boutique Official: Luxurious Eternal Roses

Bloom Boutique Official is a London-based brand offering elegant and sophisticated luxury eternal roses ethically-sourced from South America. The company was founded in 2020 by Tia Singh, whose love for creating beautiful things in life reflects the company name. A feature by lifestyle columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Tia’s passion for floristry and extensive experience working within the beauty industry has influenced the development of these luxurious floral arrangements, each being the result of the highest quality combined with unique design.

“Luxury Eternal Roses create a memorable keepsake that our close ones can value for years to come without any maintenance. 

Our highly skilled artisans work with passion to create your perfect arrangement that displays beauty at its best.” Said founder Tia Singh.

While real roses only last around a week, eternal roses can last up to three years. The roses are preserved with a non-toxic proprietary solution which helps to reduce the negative environmental impact and enormous carbon footprint created by the fresh flower industry. 

Thanks to these innovative procedures, Bloom Boutique Official’s precious arrangements maintain freshness for several years, allowing clients to experience the luxury, elegance and beauty of the roses without the maintenance.

Tia had been searching online for artificial floral arrangements for her home, similar to what she had seen in 5-star luxury hotels in London, but was not able to find elegant arrangements that satisfied her taste.

Given her creative skillset, Tia decided to purchase some unique vases and flowers and was inspired to have a go at making them herself – and being very home-oriented she soon realised that this had the potential to be transformed into a business that those with a taste for the finer things in life would love and appreciate.

Tia started exploring other types of long-lasting sustainable flowers and arrangements which led to the discovery of Eternal Roses. After many months of researching, Tia announced her first product line in May 2020, which rapidly flourished and since then has added further product lines to meet the requirements that have been requested such as personalised boxes.

Bloom Boutique’s Timeless Rose collections are handmade in London. They are all about creating the feel of a gift of luxury and love that will lasts for years. All of their products are handcrafted ensuring the utmost attention is delivered on every arrangement.

“Bloom Boutique Official seeks to become an essential lifestyle brand to customers in UK and abroad by providing a variety of sustainable luxury products that elevates style quotient and creates lasting memories. We at Bloom Boutique pride ourselves on delivering exceptional customer service and this is reflected by our online glowing customer reviews and feedback which means so much to us.” Tia Singh, CEO.

ALSO READ: Masala Zone Soho: Regional Indian Food At It’s Best in London

Arts & Culture FEATURE India News

Mewari Miniature Paintings Retell Epic Mahabharata

The Mahabharata, Mewari Miniature Paintings (1680–1698) is a Grand Visual Retelling of the Great Indian Epic. An exclusive feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

The collection Showcases nearly 2000 never-before- published miniature paintings of the Mahabharata by Allah Baksh, from late 17th century Mewar. Features fine translations of the Mahabharata from Mewari into Hindi by Chandra Prakash Deval and English commentary by Alok Bhalla. Insightful introductions by Alok Bhalla on each of the parvas, provide a comprehensive understanding of this great Indian epic.

Allah Baksh’s magnificent miniature paintings of Vyasa’s great epic, the Mahabharata, were commissioned by Udaipur’s Maharana Jai Singh, and painted between 1680 and 1698.The selection of nearly 2000 paintings, published in four volumes, are from a folio of more than 4000 extant works illuminating the Mahabharata.The fifth volume of 500 paintings devoted to the Gita, has already been published.

These radiant miniatures, which follow almost every story in every chapter of the Mahabharata, have no precedent in India’s art tradition.The emphasis in these paintings is not on heroic posturing and spiritual pride, but on the pain that the earth and its creatures endure when human beings tragically fail to fulfil their dharma.The images in the paintings are symbolically charged, their colours are clear and luminous, their lines are restrained and precise. Allah Baksh’s art of visionary thoughtfulness deserves an honoured place in the great library of Indian scriptures and their visual interpretations.

Introductions to the parvas illuminated in these four volumes offer reflections on the moral resonance of the stories, as they reveal the fate of a civilisation from its divine beginning to its fateful destruction.The Hindi translation

of the Mewari text in the colophons, describing the story being illustrated, furthers our understanding of the history of cultural exchange between the different religions, regions and languages of India. Comments on the paintings in English enable the reader to decode the images and follow the narrative grandeur of this great Indian epic.

Chandra Prakash Deval says, ‘The Hindi text, published below the reproductions of the paintings, is a faithful translation of the original Mewari version. There are, however, some instances where additional information has been provided to help the reader follow the storyline and make the necessary narrative links.’

Chandra Prakash Deval

Alok Bhalla says, ‘When I first caught a glimpse of more than 4000 magnificent miniature paintings of the Mahabharata and the Gita by Allah Baksh in the State Museum of Rajasthan, Udaipur, I understood what Plutarch meant when he exclaimed, ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. Our hope is that readers will find, in these miniature paintings, an exciting dialogue between the verbal and the visual imaginations of the poet and the painter; between the grandeur of Vyasa’s epic and the vision of Allah Baksh who draws upon an endless store of images, designs and colours to offer his own discovery of moral truths in old fables.’

Alok Bhalla

On publishing the set Bikash De Niyogi, Managing Director, Niyogi Books says, ‘When I first heard about the magnificent miniature paintings eight years ago depicting the Mahabharata, commissioned by Udaipur’s Maharana Jai Singh, and now in the collection at the Udaipur Government Museum, I was full of curiosity to go and see them. When I saw the paintings, I was filled with wonder at their fine artistry, the depth of detail and the richness of the colours. Publishing this four-volume compendium for me has been a labour of love, which showcases the richness of Indian culture and craftsmanship. It is the biggest and the longest project taken up by Niyogi Books so far. This is our humble contribution in bringing the Mahabharata to discerning readers.’

About the Authors

Alok Bhalla is a widely published critic, translator and poet. He has taught in various universities in the US and India, and has held Fellowships from different academic institutes in France, Italy, England, Germany, Canada and Israel. His books include Stories about the Partition of India (4 volumes), Partition

Dialogues, Shades of the Preternatural, among others. His verse translation of Dharamvir Bharati’s play, AndhaYug, is a recognised classic.

Chandra Prakash Deval is an eminent poet, fiction writer, translator, bibliophile, and cultural historian. He has published 14 collections of poetry in Hindi and Rajasthani. He has also translated the works of Ashok Vajpeyi, Ramakanth Rath and others into Rajasthani. He has been the recipient of many

prestigious awards like the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri.

About the Publisher

An internationally acclaimed publishing house, Niyogi Books, established in 2004, has more than 700 titles today. Niyogi Books not only specializes in textual context but also strives to give equal importance to visuals. It purveys a wide range of content on art, architecture, history, culture, spirituality, memoirs, and every aspect which connects with our rich heritage. The house has co-published a number of critically acclaimed books with reputed institutions like the British Library, Rietberg Museum Zurich, IGNCA, National Gallery of Modern Art, Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India), National Manuscript Mission, Sahitya Akademi, among many others.

Niyogi Books also publishes fiction and non-fiction that cover books on social science, cookery, and self-help as well as English translation of modern classics from different Indian languages. Niyogi Books now has four more Imprints: Olive Turtle (English fiction), Thornbird (English translation) and Paper Missile (English non-fiction) and Bahuvachan (Hindi translation: Fiction & Non-fiction).

ALSO READ: Stellar Cast For ‘Passing’ World Premiere Announced

Events FEATURE London News

Unrivalled shopping and a wealth of festive inspiration – This year, Christmas starts at Spirit!

Festive inspiration from over 700 exciting independent brands at the Spirit of Christmas Fair, 30 October – 5 November at the iconic Olympia London. An exclusive preview feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Discover a diverse collection of carefully curated gifts from small independent brands and designer-makers each one picked for its originality and quality, brought together for this seven-day event. Discerning shoppers can expect a diverse collection of curated gifts to shop from to satisfy all their gifting needs including toys, fashion, homeware, and stylish décor as well as the finest food and drink from award winning artisans and producers.

New official restaurant partner this year is acclaimed Spanish chef, José Pizarro who has curated a special Tapas menu that showcases his signature dishes alongside exclusive creations designed for the show. Prepare yourself for a Spanish twist on a traditional afternoon tea that promises to be an unforgettable experience. These dishes are perfect for sharing with friends or family at the Fair in this new restaurant, ‘José Pizarro at Spirit of Christmas’.

2023 sees the return of the popular complimentary, creative Workshops offering inspiration to visitors who can enjoy a range of interactive sessions including Jemma Cotterrell, The Shoe Loving Stylist on ‘How to dress with positivity and confidence this festive season’, ‘Biscuit decorating’ from Honeywell Bakes, and ‘Spanish party food inspiration’, while in conversation with José Pizarro himself.

Fair Director, Mary Claire Boyd comments “The Fair is a guaranteed place where visitors know they can leave brimming with festive inspiration to help them start planning their festivities and this year is no exception. They can truly curate their own Christmas from exquisite tablescaping, joyful décor and stylish partywear to uncovering the most original gifts for all their family and friends. We have an exceptional line-up of workshops with top chefs including José Pizarro, florists including Paul Thomas Flowers and renowned chocolatiers; Prestat. We champion British craftsmanship from ethical and sustainable brands and our specialist team have been busy sourcing new businesses and uncovering emerging talent that visitors will relish amongst the treasure-trove!”

The gallery level Food Hall offers visitors the opportunity to buy foodie treats and discover new artisans from whom they can source the best for their guests this Christmas including Great Taste Award-winning produce. The Fair boasts four Louis Roederer Champagne bars providing a relaxing place for visitors to rejuvenate with a glass or two in-between shopping. Two adjoining Fairs can also be enjoyed whilst visiting; the Winter Art & Antiques Fair taking place on the Grand Hall gallery, and The Luxury Travel Fair, taking place 2-5 November on the National Hall gallery.

The Fair provides the perfect social occasion and festive ambiance to enjoy with friends and embrace the season of festivities and gifting. With creative workshops, demonstrations, live music, endless festive inspiration and an unforgettable atmosphere, this year, Christmas really does start at Spirit.

Highlights of the Spirit of Christmas Fair will include:

• 700 independent small businesses and designer-makers to shop from

• Brand new restaurant partner: acclaimed Spanish chef, José Pizarro

• Return of inspirational creative workshops hosted by experts including, The Shoe Loving Stylist, Prestat Chocolates, José Pizarro, Paul Thomas Flowers, Honeywell Bakes, Bettina’s Kitchen, Louis Roederer

• Visitors can enjoy a glass of the finest Champagne in the stylish Louis Roederer Champagne Bars  

• The Food Hall hosts an entirely delectable mix of leading artisans, independent producersRoyal Warrant holders and Great Taste award-winners

• Late night shopping Thursday 2 November 10am – 9pm

• Enjoy complimentary entry into the Winter Art & Antiques Fair from the 30 October – 5 November. Presenting a collection of the finest specialist dealers, offering a wide choice of high-quality, vetted art and antiques spanning centuries

• Condé Nast Traveller presents the Luxury Travel Fair also takes place alongside the Spirit of Christmas Fair from 2-5 November 2023. Offering a collection of the finest bespoke and immersive travel experiences

With this unmissable shopping experience spreading over two halls, shoppers may need to pace themselves. Those wanting to peruse the Fair more than once can upgrade their tickets and make the most of a Premium, Weekend or Unlimited Pass!

Opening Times

Monday 30 October 10am – 6pm ***OPENING DAY***

Tuesday 31 October 10am – 6pm

Wednesday 1 November 10am – 6pm

Thursday 2 November 10am – 9pm ***LATE NIGHT***

Friday 3 November 10am – 6pm

Saturday 4 November 10am – 6pm

Sunday 5 November 10am – 5pm

About The Spirit of Christmas Fair  

• The Spirit of Christmas Fair first launched in 2001 

• Visitor numbers were circa 45,000 in 2022

• Organised by Clarion Events and home to unrivalled shopping from small independent brands, inspirational workshops, and exceptional dining

About Clarion Events  

Clarion Events organises more than 200 events each year across the globe, ranging from exhibitions, conferences and seated events.  Well-known for identifying high-value, niche audiences in difficult-to-reach markets and building them into market-leading products, over 12,000 companies trust them with their custom each year, with more than 700,000 people attending their events.

ALSO READ: ‘Let’s Do London’ Nets £162 Million

Fashion FEATURE Lite Blogs

Unveiling the Beauty of Traditional Craftsmanship: Roohme Chikankari Couture

A magnificent work of art, the Roohme Chikankari outfits capture the spirit of Indian culture and workmanship. These stunning masterpieces by Roohme, a brand committed to conserving and promoting traditional craftsmanship, is sure to enthrall both fashionistas and craft meets heritage lovers. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

In the spirit of summer talking with a spotlight on the brand’s Chikankari outfits, it is a testament to Roohme’s dedication to preserving this aspect of rich Indian culture. By working with regional artisans from Lucknow who have a long history of mastering Chikankari embroidery, Roohme protects the integrity of this traditional trade and gives talented artists more opportunities.

Their signature kurti, which is made of high-quality Viscose Georgette fabric, emanates a classic elegance. The great craftsmanship of Mughal hand embroidery is seen in the delicate Chikankari work that is accented with Mukaish details. The garment gains a touch of regal beauty from this fusion of artistic styles, truly elevating it to masterpiece status.

The Roohme Chikankari Blue Ombre Kurti is created with easy elegance to suit a variety of events. This kurti transforms into a picture of style and refinement, whether it’s worn for a casual excursion or a semi-formal occasion. The classic Chikankari style is given a contemporary twist with the ombre effect in blue colors and the round neck and wide sleeves.

The variety of sizes provided by Roohme demonstrates their commitment to inclusion as their couture is for all, it guarantees that wearers of any body shape and size may appreciate the beauty of their garments. Wearing it even all day long is a pleasure because of the fabric’s unmatched comfort.

With Roohme, embrace the fascination of Indian workmanship and let the Chikankari enchantment weave a message of timelessness and national pride into your clothing.

Roohme aims to also spread the Indian craftsmanship around the globe. Fast fashion is taking away the authenticity of designs and the cultural aspects of art forms like chikankari. They work with local artisans from Lucknow, coming from families who have been designing Chikankari for generations even. They aim to bring Lucknow’s age-old hand-embroidered Chikankari to every home. Unique embroideries straight from the traditional weavers, to your doorstep, on pure Georgette and Chiffon is their vision. Great packaging, great designs and colours, great fit and finish … highly recommended!

ALSO READ: ‘Fashion has the power to transcend boundaries’

Asia News FEATURE World News

INDIAN SCIENCE CONGRESS: Scientific temper brings inclusion in society

To develop science in a way that it becomes India’s strength will be crucial to India’s story of development over the next 25 years i.e. the Amritkaal. In that context, the 108th Indian Science Congress at Nagpur was inaugurated on the onset of this year to boost India’s scientific strength and meet the needs of India, becoming the root of all inspirations for the entire scientific community … writes Dr Remya Ajith. Scientific temper and inclusion in human society can significantly empower individuals and communities to take control of their lives and make informed decisions. Scientific temper refers to a mind-set and approach that is rational, objective, and evidence-based, where individuals evaluate evidence critically before making decisions or forming opinions

As the strongest pillar on which our ancient as well as modern societies have found support on, science as a profession has had a lasting impact on humanity by transforming people’s lives, driving economic growth, healthcare & wellness, enhancing the quality of life and providing solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges.

Scientific temper and inclusion in human society can significantly empower individuals and communities to take control of their lives and make informed decisions. Scientific temper refers to a mindset and approach that is rational, objective, and evidence-based, where individuals evaluate evidence critically before making decisions or forming opinions.

Inclusion, on the other hand, aims to create a society where everyone can participate fully and equally by ensuring that the benefits of these advancements are accessible to everyone regardless of their background, ethnicity, race, gender, culture, caste, religion or abilities. When the passion for science and welfare of the humanity intersects with each other, the results have been nothing short of spectacular. However, even with the use of novel technology and rapid advancements in the field of education, research & development in India, there has been less than expected progress in the scientific temper over the past many decades. Nevertheless, there has been a renewed vigour on those lines over the last decade is bound to yield results sooner than later.

One of the key resolutions for the Government of India has been that India makes its place in the top 10 countries of the world in the field of science. For any community to make progress, it becomes imperative to collect and analyse data at every step, especially in the new era of the 21st century where there is constantly churning and changes taking place every moment. Within the country, there are two things in abundance: data and technology. With the massive potential to take India’s science to new heights, the newly[1]assigned role to the scientific community in India has been to make the country Atmanirbhar (self-sufficient) in every sense of the word.

Developing science in a way that it becomes India’s strength will be crucial to India’s story of development over the next 25 years i.e. the Amritkaal. In that context, the 108th Indian Science Congress was inaugurated on the onset of this year to boost India’s scientific strength and meet the needs of India, becoming the root of all inspiration for the entire scientific community.

The Indian Science Congress is a premier scientific event that brings together scientists, researchers, and academicians from various fields to discuss and disseminate recent advances in science and technology. The congress provides a platform for sharing knowledge, collaboration, and networking, which can empower individuals and institutions in the science community. Keeping in mind that 17% of the world’s population is rooted in India, it makes sense that any scientific work that fulfils the needs of the society would give momentum and mean progress to the world as its impact will be on a substantial chunk of the entire humanity naturally. Within the Indian Science Congress, the major focus has been on the Children’s Science Congress with more than 7000 students participating and the Women’s Science Congress where a large number of women scientists have participated from various organisations. These communities i.e. women and students have historically witnessed abysmally low interaction and participation in sciences, and therefore the focus has been to ensure that the same is given a major fillip. In addition, a new entrant within the setup has been the Tribal Sciences Congress – a platform for the scientific display of indigenous ancient knowledge systems and studies, and the Farmer Sciences Congress – a platform to improve the bio-economy and attract the youth towards agricultural science as well.

Along the same, an exhibition pride of India depicting the lives of personalities who have left an indelible mark in the field of sciences across the globe and in India has been put in place. As the nation increases its tally and share of PhD scholars across the globe as well as the number of start-ups, the focus has also been on the level of progress made in terms of innovation with the Global Innovation Index of 130 countries showing India ranked 81st in 2015 and making its place up to the 40th spot by the year 2022.

With the traditional Vigyan Jyoti – the flame of knowledge – being a significant part of the Indian Science Congress, the attention has shifted to building the scientific temper with an inclusive approach in society and among the youth as well. Science has the potential to bring out cataclysmic changes with its impact percolating from the global to grassroots level, its ambit increasing from journals to zameen (land) and changes are quite perceptible from research to real life.

In consonance with the theme this year ‘Science & Technology for Sustainable Development & Women Empowerment’, the exhibitions and sub-programmes have been carefully curated to shift attention towards the same. Any kind of sustainable development can only take place if and when 49% of the global population i.e. women are empowered enough in every field exuding a new momentum to research as well as a society too. Science enables women’s empowerment by providing access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities, leading to their economic self-sufficiency and social independence.

Women’s participation in science and technology fields is growing, and programmes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana and Digital India have made exemplary efforts to encourage girls and women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. In tune with the idea of shifting focus towards women, W20 (a sub-group within the G20 setup that is being hosted in India this year) listed that W20 India’s vision was to create a world of equality and equity with the removal of all barriers to ensure women-led development. Enabling an ecosystem where women feel empowered and secure enough to thrive, transcend and transform their own lives and that of others, the W20 shall focus on bringing out white papers, policy briefs, video documentaries, opinion pieces, handbooks and communique with the purpose of influencing G20 nations and leaders to make women’s agenda at the core of G-20 deliberations.

Science also plays a significant role in empowering marginalized and underprivileged individuals by providing access to resources and opportunities as well. For example, initiatives like the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) aim to provide education and training opportunities for all, regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status.

India has been able to solidify its stronghold on the sciences with new efforts being made on the innovation front nowadays. Science and technology have the potential to improve human lives and promote the well-being of society, but this potential can only be realised if science and technology are applied in an inclusive manner. Inclusion means recognising and respecting the diversity of all people, including their opinions, perspectives, needs, and contributions. It also means fostering an environment where everyone feels welcome and can participate fully in the process of scientific discovery. In this way, science and technology can help create a more equitable and just society for all. Therefore, this urgency to become self-sufficient can serve as a major boost to the livelihoods of the people as well as ensure the larger collective progress of humanity.