In the lead-up to the Lancaster performance of Dinner With America, Rajni delivers a free participatory experience taking place in St Nicholas' Arcade in the centre of Lancaster. Drawing on Shah's ongoing research into gift-giving as intervention in public space, this interactive performance takes place in busy communal areas.
As part of the Belluard Bollwerk International festival, Rajni will run a series of workshops which are open to everyone, during which participants will be invited to explore their personal relationship to and experiences of Fribourg.
"I was curious. What stops me from talking to strangers? What draws me to trust one person, to invite one person into my family and not the other? How can we re-find a way to talk? What would you say to a stranger?"
give what you can, take what you need is a playful exploration of notions of community and conversation through gift exchange.
Drawing on Rajni's research projects into gift-giving as intervention in public space, this interactive performance is designed to take place in busy communal areas. Passers-by are greeted by a large dinner table, where various other members of the public may be seated at any time. Newcomers are invited to take part by accepting a gift, entering into a relationship with the gathering for as long or as short a time as they choose.
During 2008 Rajni ran a series of workshops exploring gifting for an NHS harm reduction service for women who sell sex from the streets of London. This was continuation of the research series small gifts in which Rajni explored the potential role of gifting in opening up new conversations and perspectives in society.
The initial small gifts intervention series took place throughout 2006 and 2007, exploring the role of gift and conversation in public spaces. This research was funded by the Live Art Development Agency through their One to One Bursary scheme, and supported by the Nuffield Theatre in Lancaster, the Colchester Arts Centre and Alternate ROOTS. Continuations of this research included a commission from the Nuffield Theatre in Lancaster in association with Futuresonic, and a commission from The Chelsea Theatre in London. Scroll to the bottom of the page for PDFs related to this research. Watch a slightly random section from small gifts: glasgow here (you need to register and login to this site).