Our Dreams of Jasmine

‘Our Dreams of Jasmine’ is a multi-lingual publication, sound piece, and project containing a collection of love poems selected by women with experience of migration and written by Jessica El Mal. 

The love poems span romantic desire and longing, peaceful admiration for flowers and spring, and deep, deep friendships. In the languages of English, Arabic, and Persian, even our very concept of love surpasses one meaning. 

In 2022, we invited artist and curator Jessica El Mal to create a commission with At The Library, working alongside community members. Jessica invited women with experience of migration to respond to nature through a series of workshops and trips, involving music, poetry, and sound.

In October, with support from our partners at Venus Charity, we visited Formby Woods and Beach, had a poetry breakfast, and visited Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral — a collective and exploratory experience across spaces, collecting photos, sounds and stories. To wrap up our time together, we transformed Bootle Library’s pod into a recording studio and invited the women to record selected poems from Arabic and Persian literature, before preparing and sharing a celebratory meal together.

The recordings from the project were lovingly organised and transformed into a sound work by Jessica, Yasmeen Soudani and Rita Kamale. Jessica worked with Heidi and Halah El-Kholy from Salt and Sister Studio to produce a publication containing the transcript and essay by Jessica.

Our Dreams of Jasmine the sound work will be available to listen to online for one week. Access here.

Video by Jenny Collins

Available at Libraries

Our Dreams of Jasmine the publication is available to loan from a number of libraries. The book if not for sale, as we want to keep art available and free to all. You can loan the publication from:

Bootle Library

Crosby Library

Netherton Library

Maghull Library

Formby Library

Southport Library

Stuart Hall Library

The Glasgow Women’s Library

Oldham Library

The Feminist Library

Sheba Arts

The Arab British Centre Library

Manchester Poetry Library

Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE (Race Archives and Community Engagement) Centre


‘Our Dreams of Jasmine’ is a project by artist and curator Jessica El Mal in collaboration with sound producer Yasmeen Soudani, musician and vocalist Rita Kamale, and co-producers Sohailla Mirzai, Shefaa, Aliya, Ayana, Fatimeh Al Sabty, Reem Alazemi, Fatima Aidarous, Soulaf Al Kort, and literary translator Noussaiba Roussi.

Production by Faye Hamblett-Jones for Rule of Threes, with support from Karema Munassar.

Special thanks to sound production support from Andrew Devine and Patryk Krol. The publication was edited and translated by Alireza Abiz and Nour El Safoury, with Arabic transliteration by Riwa Roukoz. 

Thank you to Lynne Rienner Publishers for granting permission to include poems by Nizar Kabbani, as printed in: ‘Arabian Love Poems’ by Nizar Kabbani, translated by Bassam K. Frangieh and Clementina R. Brown. Copyright © 1999 by Bassam K. Frangieh and Clementina R. Brown. Used with permission of Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.

If you enjoyed Nizar Kabbani’s work, you can order ‘Arabian Love Poems’ — a bi-lingual reader of his poems and work — from Lynne Rienner Publishers’ website here.

Song credits to Mohammed Abu Kayed. Abu Kayed, M. (2022). سلامه وسلمها سليم – سيل سيوف. [Sound Recording]. 4551016 Records DK. Available at: https://youtu.be/Rwqrd82IzuY [Accessed 30th January 2023]