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“Every moment I shape my destiny with a chisel. I am a carpenter of my own soul.”

 Following on from the success of our Forgotten Soldiers project, this year we are bringing to life the celebrated scholar, poet and Sufi most commonly referred to as Rumi. This heritage project focuses on Rumi in a multi-faceted and comprehensive manner – the man, his life, his work and his wider influence on different cultures.

Quotes attributed to Rumi circulate daily on social media and are widely used and shared in Western culture, offering motivation, solace, comfort and inspiration. His poetry is also recited at religious events, birthdays and weddings.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you ever get polished?”
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

Our vision is to add depth and context to Rumi’s teachings, to share the impact of his influence on Islam, global literature, and popular culture today.


Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi was a thirteenth-century Persian poet and Sufi master. Born over 800 years ago in 1207, his poems have sold millions of copies in recent years and is often described as the bestselling poet in the western world. We want to bring Rumi authentically to the west but more specifically, Manchester – with a historically accurate and culturally sensitive glimpse into his life and work.


Rumi is typically referred to as a mystic, a saint, a Sufi, an enlightened man. Curiously, however, although he was a lifelong scholar of the Quran and Islam, he is less frequently described as a Muslim. Our aim is to use this project as a platform for the BME community and especially the Muslim community, supporting them in reclaiming their heritage and preserving his identity.


Through delivering this interactive Arts Award programme (initially across Greater Manchester, with a view to rolling out nationally) we aim to educate the community about this great man and bring Rumi to a new audience. Through engaging young people we will research, identify and record this influential heritage so people from all communities appreciate the contributions of Rumi’s work.

A key aspect of the project will be to involve younger people from all backgrounds – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Volunteers of all ages will be invited to help with the research and interviews. University lecturers that teach about Rumi today will be interviewed for their insights and interpretations. This is a true celebration of the man behind the poetry, the meaning behind the translations, and what Rumi’s words mean to us – the myriad different ways in which they can be uniquely interpreted and shared.

We want Rumi’s poetry to unlock and influence a thousand adventures, empower a movement of social change and inspire a generation with a sense of identity, pride and belonging. Through the wisdom of poems written over 800 years ago, we hope to support the BME community in finding and sharing their voices.


We envisage this to be a 12-month programme that will have a variety of creative outcomes:


We’ll create a short documentary which interprets and explains the work of Rumi.


We will deliver 12 workshop sessions with young people in each of our three Arts Award hubs across Greater Manchester to engage people from all communities to appreciate the contributions of middle eastern poetry in the UK. There will be an option to create an end of project product such as a film, podcast or presentation.


We will create and host a touring exhibition to showcase at local Arts Centres which allows people to learn about this heritage beyond the term of the project. Titled ‘In Search of Rumi’, it centres around reclaiming the identity of a professor of sharia but also someone who could write some of the world’s most widely read and cherished poetry.


Through this web page we will share information and resources enabling people to learn about this heritage even once this project is over. As a further legacy of the project we will archive all project information and materials at libraries as a permanent resource for the general public.


Through crowdfunding and community fundraising events we hope to fund spaces on research trips to help participants to truly immerse themselves in the culture and legacy of Rumi. Taking participants of the project to Konya, the final resting place of Rumi will allow our volunteers to experience and understand the universal appeal and importance this personality has, not just in the east but also in the west.

Commencement date to be confirmed due to COVID-19 disruption. Please check this page and our social media pages for updates.

To learn more about this project or to enquire about involvement and volunteering opportunities, please contact us at