Who Am I? AN EXPLORATION OF THE ARTS COMMUNITY
WELCOME. Who Am I? - An exploration of the Arts Community. What do these terms mean and how do they function in the creative industries and institutes? Weâ€™re talking diversity and equality; what do these terms mean not only to us, but to you as students and as creatives! How will you make an impact in your universities and in your industries? Whether you are a writer, photographer, designer, artist or musician - you have a unique perspective and voice. How can we ensure that every student gets the opportunity to shine? Who are you and what does your future look like?
Todayâ€™s Itinerary. 1800 - Pre-event Refreshments 1830 - Event Begins 1835 - Panel discussion starts 1905 - Open floor discussion starts 1930 - Event Closes.
Our Safe Space Policy. Shades of Noir is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive space for all attendees at our events. SoN believes all guests should be free from intimidation or harassment, resulting from prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, marital or maternity/paternity status, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, trans status, socio-economic status, or ideology or culture, or any other form of distinction.
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KEY QUESTIONS. What does diversity mean to you? What has your experience of diversity in school, university or industry been like? What does representation mean to you? Do you feel like there is a lack of representation in the arts? Why/why not? What are your future aspirations and how do you plan to achieve them? What kind of projects do you see yourself working on in the future? Have you ever had concerns about whether you will “fit in” in your industry? Are you aware of the Arts Council’s creative case? How do you use your art to express yourself?
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Danielle Scott-Haughton. Danielle A Scott-Haughton is the 27 year-old creator, writer, director and producer of the multi-award winning web based drama series “Dear Jesus” and its spin-off “The Alexis Show.” Produced by her production company WONDERLONDON FILMS “Dear Jesus” ran for 4 seasons while “The Alexis Show” ran for two. Having won Best Short Feature at the Jamaica International Film Festival in 2013, after 42 episodes, “Dear Jesus” won Favourite Web Series at the Screen Nation Digital Awards in 2015. The end of the two shows were announced shortly thereafter. Born to Jamaican parents in London, Danielle was educated at the University of Arts in London, Danielle A Scott-Haughton graduated with a BA Honors degree in Broadcast in 2010 and worked as the video director at fashion and lifestyle magazine SUPER SUPER where she produced videos for fashion and music brands Reebok, BoxFresh and Boy Better Know. SUPER SUPER magazine folded at the end of 2010 forcing her to work at her family’s Jamaican take-away. In 2011 she started WONDERLONDON FILMS and began building her own brand. Inspired by the success of Issa Rae’s “Awkward Black Girl” and British Web Series “Venus Vs Mars” and “Brothers With No Game” in 2012, Scott-Haughton created and self funded “Dear Jesus.” Currently development assistant for Bryan Elsley (creator of “Skins”) and Harry Enfield at their Indie production company Balloon Entertainment, Danielle has also secured her first broadcast title of script coordinator on an upcoming coproduction for Netflix and Channel 4.
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Ella December. Ella was born on the 24th of December 1992 in Fulham to Nigerian parents. Her father is a retired sub-editor for Thomson Reuters and her mother is an Assistant Head Teacher. She attended London College of Communication, where she graduated in BA Journalism. Ella has worked as a music journalist since September 2011 and written for urban media outlets such as Pardon My Blog, GRM Daily and Link Up TV. She is also the music editor for Amor Magazine. Ella regularly updates her own music and culture blog. Ella began her creative writing career in 2012, with short stories that she published on document sharing website Scribd. Her stories were illustrated by childhood friend and frequent collaborator artist MIkey Espinosa. She released her first novel Crossroads in December 2013. The novel revolves around four successful friends whose lives hit â€˜crossroadsâ€™ hence the title. In July 2015, she released her second novel Dirty Diamonds that follows the scandalous life of journalist Harley-Jade Diamond. Ella released her third novel Mimi Memoirs in December 2015. Mimi Memoirs centres around a young woman looking for love but also trying to find herself. Ella has been nominated for a BEFFTA award for Best Author three times. In November 2015, Ella was nominated for the Female Writer category for the Amor Lifestyle Awards elladecember.wordpress.com // @EllaDecember
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Hassan Mahamdallie. Hassan was born in London into a large IndoTrinidadian/English family in 1961. After completing an MA in Theatre Studies at Leeds University in 1984 he worked as an actor, devisor and director in Theatre in Education and Community Theatre, mainly in the north of England, with companies including M6 Theatre Co (Rochdale) and Pit Prop Theatre (Wigan). He then went on to work as a campaigning journalist, covering major events including the Stephen Lawrence public inquiry. He speaks regularly on issues of race and racism, black history, Muslims in British society and diversity and equality in the arts. He is a founder member of the campaigning organisation Unite against Fascism. Hassan was a senior strategist at Arts Council England for nine years (until 2013) where he was charged with drawing up and implementing ACE’s national Race Equality Schemes. He advised on and launched many equality projects, including the innovative Arts and Islam platform, Sustained Theatre, Inspire and Decibel before going on to develop, write and launch ACE’s unique and internationally recognised approach to art, society and equality – The Creative Case. He set up ACE’s Black Workers Group and mentored BAME staff. While at ACE he advised hundreds of individuals and organisations on diversity and equality. He is also the lead facilitator of the World Islamic Economic Forum’s MOCAFellows course: an annual week intensive workshop teaching young artists from all over the world to develop their business skills and creative vision. He advises renowned visual artist Rachel Gadsden. Hassan is a published author. He has contributed to many books and journals including Tell It Like It Is: How Our Schools Fail Black Children. He wrote a popular biography of radical Victorian artist William Morris Crossing the River of Fire and a popular series of monographs: Black British Rebels- Figures from Working Class History. He edited the well-received book Defending Multiculturalism. He is a governor of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance and on the board of theatre company 30 Birds Productions. He is Co-director of the Muslim Institute, a free-thinking Muslim organisation based in London and is deputy editor of the institute’s quarterly publication Critical Muslim. He also writes an occasional music blog on his years as a teenage punk-rocker in the 1970s. He has recently returned to playwriting with a one woman show The Crows Plucked Your Sinews, about Somalis in Britain and Britain in Somalia. It is on a UK tour in Spring 2016, performed by Yusra Warsama under his new production company Dervish..
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Nike Jonah. Nike Jonah works in strategic development across the cultural and creative industries worldwide. Since the early 90s, she has developed innovative approaches to a number of successful music, fashion, television, design, visual and performing arts projects for several influential organizations in Africa, America and Europe. Nike balances her time between various roles in the cultural sector. She is Director of Connecting Dots, an arts consultancy that works with a range of clients across the arts and creative fields. Nike is also the Director of Afrovibes, a UK based cross arts Pan African festival and is currently developing Pan African Interdisciplinary Performing Arts Marketing (PAIPAM) in partnership with the Vrystaat Arts Festival in Bloemfontein, South Africa. PAIPAM is a market place for African-based artists and arts organizations who wish to undertake international touring, increase their profile and develop national and international partnership opportunities. Between 2008 and 2012, Nike led the highly acclaimed Arts Council England’s Decibel Programme, which was designed to support and increase the profile of African, Asian and Caribbean artists in England. Through this, Nike delivered an ambitious programme of events and activities that included the showcasing of artists and companies, strategic bursaries and sector-specific communication aimed to effect positive, sustainable change across arts sector for diverse artists in the UK. Additionally, Nike has worked with several international biennale’s as an advisor and associate producer for a number of notable festivals and conferences across the world. Events include the Venice Biennial, Italy; Documenta, Germany; and the World Festival of Black Art and Culture, Senegal. In 2010, Nike was acknowledged as a Woman to Watch and an “outstanding!” leader in the diversification of the arts” by a panel of the UK’s creative industry luminaries. Nike is a Trustee on Boards of the European Cultural Foundation in the Netherlands and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and The Bush Theatre.
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Hansika Jethnani is UALâ€™s Education Officer, born and raised in Indonesia, then China and currently based in London. Hansika is a recent BA (Hons) Photography graduate from London College of Communication. As Education Officer, her priorities for the year include reducing the cost of materials, pushing the university to internationalise our academic staff & curriculum and demanding longer opening hours for workshops & studios. As a photographer, Hansika aims to explore the notions surrounding existence using concepts like the four elements and mindfulness. She hopes that her work makes people realise how minuscule we are in comparison to the universe. A lot of Hansikaâ€™s work is about letting go; letting the elements take over and letting what is meant to be created, create itself. She sees herself as merely a mediator between the artwork and the elements.
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KEY TERMS. Bigotry
Complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own
A member of a dark-skinned people, especially one of African, Australian and Caribbean Aboriginal ancestry. A term used in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity.
Critical Race Theory
A theoretical framework in the social sciences focused upon the application of critical theory, a critical examination of society and culture, to the intersection of race, law, and power. CRT proposes that white supremacy and racial power are maintained over time, and that the law may play a role in this process and investigated the possibility of transforming the relationship between law and racial power.
Cultural Appreciation is learning about another culture with respect and courtesy. It is appreciating a certain culture enough to take time to learn about it, interact with people among the culture, and actually understand the culture
When a person of the dominate culture borrows something of cultural significance from minority groups, whilst lacking a contextual understanding of what makes the cultural symbols, art forms and modes of expression significant.
Diversity is recognising, respecting and understanding the value of peopleâ€™s differences, and allowing their full potential by promoting an inclusive culture.
in general terms, consists of China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan,South Korea and North Korea; sometimes, Mongolia and Vietnam are included in the definition.
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a state in which all individuals or social groups are treated fairly, equally and no less favourably; be it by virtue of their race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. Equality stands for inclusion and is against discrimination.
Repeated performances of the female gender; these performances reproduce and define the traditional categories.
Fight for equality of genders.
Accounts for the intersectionality of the feminist movements and histories culturally and globally.
Gender is a an expression of the reenactment of certain roles. it may differ from time to time.
The belief that people can only fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with fixed traditional gender roles. It assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or the only norm.
A term coined by KimberlĂŠ Crenshaw which examines how social identities are used as a way to discriminate against marginalised groups who experience multiple forms of oppression simultaneously. Specifically women of colour who suffer from both gender and racial discrimination.
The prejudice, hatred, or bigotry directed towards Islam or Muslims.
The combination of socially-defined and biological factors, distinct from the definition of the male biological sex
Bias toward the observation of/interviews with males in a culture.
A form of gender identity which reject the gender binary.
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When a person or a group of people are subjected to unfair treatment by those in position of power.
Person of colour
Hatred towards someone based on their identity. Example: An oppressed person of colour can be prejudice against privileged races but cannot be racist.
A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.
A word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself and that refers either to the participants in the discourse. People with various gender identities choose pronouns they feel comfortable with; some people may have more than one pronoun.
An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual and/or cisgender
The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
Refers to equality in opportunity and visibility. For example, representative media is media that is reflective of the variety of races, cultures, genders or religions that its entire readership belongs to.
Self Defining women A person who identifies as a woman, regardless of what gender was assigned for them at birth Sex
Denotation of human females and males depending on biological features (chromosomes, sex organs, hormones and other physical features)
Sexual Orientations A personâ€™s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted
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Refers to a personâ€™s sexual orientation/preferences in terms of sexual activities
A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity.
Trans man (Or FtM/MtM) is a term which describes someone who is both a man and transgender/transsexual. Trans men were assigned female at birth, but their gender identity is male. They also may be referred to as transmasculine. Trans men can have any sexual orientation.
A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity.
The term transsexual predates the term transgender, but has become less popular as it may imply that sex characteristics are more important than gender identity.
A term which describes someone who is both a woman and transgender/transsexual. Trans women were assigned male at birth but their gender identity is female. They may also be referred to as transfeminine. Trans women can have any sexual orientation.
The term transgender is an umbrella term for anyone whose internal experience of gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth .
Prejudice against the Trans community
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Information Technology Management for Business, Queen Mary University of London.
What does diversity and equality complexions - to combat the mentality and draw to attention the majesty of mean to you as an artist? I am a lover of melanin and I enjoy capturing the various skin tones that are present in the black community. I do not believe that beauty should determined by the shade of skin that a person has. Colourism within the black community is something that we often witness, with a very strong presence on social media. Itâ€™s upsetting to see that some shades of melanin are glorified and deemed as more attractive while others are frowned upon and depicted in a negative light. This is why I make an effort to work with people of darker
dark skin. No one should be made to feel as though they are unworthy or less than. I believe that there is equal beauty in the diversity of our melanin. I believe that we are all regal. As well as being a lover of all things melanin, I am also a big enthusiast when it comes to vibrant colours. I often like to incorporate bold flowers in my work, as well as headwraps and jewellery that are vivid in nature. I feel as though they serve as a further complement to the radiance of the black skin.
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WHO AM I?: CHAPTER ONE.
By Charisse Chikwiri. BA Journalism,
London College of Communication, UAL. 2015-18 Twitter @CharisseeC
“ACHAZVICHINJA.” “She’s going to change things”
Achazvichinja, shortened to Acha, is the name of the main character in this narrative. Acha zvichinja is shona (one of the main languages spoken in Zimbabwe) for “he/ she is going to change things.” In other words “she is going to revolutionise.” Acha is a determined woman, a woman with a lot of profound things to say. She represents the thought processes that someone in the fight for diversity and equality may have. She is also a woman who has struggled with an identity crisis, as a result of a lack of representation. Diversity and Equality are topics that Shades of Noir will be addressing as part of their event titled ‘Who Am I?’ An Exploration of The Arts Community’ on the 28th of September. I wrote this play script as a response to the topic, it is very much open to interpretation.
Steve: Good afternoon, ma’am. I’m sure you know why you’re here today! We are the men responsible for selecting who will be the Influential Voices of the Nation, in the year of 2017. My name is Steve and this here, is my co-partner Barry. So erm…ach…acha… Achazvichinja: It’s pronounced achazvichinja, but most call me acha anyway. My parents are strong believers in the power of prophecy! Steve: “Ah! Right, yes. Apologies. I’m absolutely terrible with names! Right, where were we… ah yes Acha, you have been shortlisted for the Influential Voices of the Nation 2017. As our co-ordinator, Sally, will have explained to you, the purpose of this meeting is to allow us to get to know you a bit better and see if you are the right person for the job! Barry here, has some questions prepared for you, are you ready to get started? Acha: Yes, of course! 14 // WHO AM I? - AN EXPLORATION OF THE ARTS COMMUNITY.
Barry: Right erm, ach-ar. Nice name, Nigerian is it? Acha: Er no, I’m Zimbabwean actually. Barry: Ah great, so let’s get this show on the road! You strike me as an intelligent young lady, so I will start off with two questions! Who are you and why do you think your voice is important? In this moment, Achazvichinja has an outer-body experience. She steps into a parallel universe, and from here she is no longer the girl sat in the boardroom, she is now watching the girl sat in the boardroom like she would a character in a sitcom. Real time freezes, and her sub-conscious has a moment to speak. Acha’s sub-conscious: Shit. Well, what do they want to hear? No, what do they need to hear? Who am I? Achazvichinja. Well, that’s my name anyway. I thought we’d covered this already? “Who are you” that’s not exactly a question with a straightforward answer, I am a lot of things all at once. Every woman, like my name’s Chaka Khan. Yeah sorry, that was a very dead bar. Anyway! I am also a black woman, that is part of why me being here today is so significant. But do they even recognise that? Maybe I’m just a percentage for their diversity quota. A feminist is also who I am, if I address that mightn’t that scare them away? Ha, probably! Would it even make a WHO AM I? - AN EXPLORATION OF THE ARTS COMMUNITY. // 15
difference either way? I could write a 2,500 word essay supported by evidence and statistics that show how black women are very much underrepresented. I could explain how that affects many young girls like me, girls who don’t see themselves as having the power to be influential. How it affects the women who don’t see themselves stepping into positions like this. I could talk about how I’m here today, not for myself alone, not only to be a motivation speaker for “the youth”, but for my little sister. For my younger self, the little girl who lacked self-esteem. For all that are like me really, ‘cos boy, I’m looking around and there aren’t really many of us around here still. What does any of this even mean to a Steve? Anyway, it’s not about what it means to him, it’s about what it means to me.
Maybe I should talk about everything that I’ve achieved? The certificates and awards attached to my name, are they what make my voice qualify? Are they the things that I need to be validated? My voice is important because I’m human, first of all! Human rights and all that. There is nobody on this earth who is exactly like me, both spiritually and genetically. (She laughs) bloody hell, why can’t I just answer the question?. Why does everything have to be so damn deep? Who the f**k are Barry and Steve anyway, and what am I trying to prove here? Wait, so they’re picking three of us today and we’re supposed to represent the entire nation? Okay, well that’s it then. I’m here for diversity. I’m here for representation. I’m here for myself. I’m here because I have ideas and I need an influential platform to host them. I’m here to revive the vibrancy and cultural variety that may die out in London in, let’s throw a random figure out there, 50 years? These are the men who have the power to undo cultural gentrification, aren’t they? Alright, let me tell them what they need to hear, and then proceed to do what I need to do. What’s my name again? Acha chuckles, just as she finds herself repositioned as the girl in the boardroom once again. Barry: It’s not a trick question, don’t worry! Acha: Yes. My name is Acha and I applied for the Influential Voice of 2017 because…
END OF SCENE ONE
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Textiles Design, London College of Fashion, UAL.
What does diversity and equality mean to you as an artist? As an artist diversity and equality means having the freedom to create whatever is it that I want to create, especially given my race, sex and background. It means accepting all of those parts of me, which help to make up my work, without marginalizing or putting ‘who I am’ and ‘what I create’ in a box. It means being given the same respect whether or not my work is the ideal work of an African black woman. It means being able to be Chiizii.
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WHO AM I? MELODIE HOLLIDAY.
Written by Mica Schlosser, Content Developer, Shades of Noir.
Delicate, a Born and raised in Rugby during the 1970s and 80s, Melodie grew up feeling out of place in the small Midlands town. Her father, and her step father, both passed away when she was in her teens. Her mum was a constant source of support and encouragement. As a teenager, her mum gave her a sewing machine so that she could take her work home with her from art classes. “I started to alter clothes, and I would simultaneously alter clothes and be experimental—and experiment with what I wore, and the way I looked.” She told me, “It was lovely because my mom could see that there was something—she could see that I had taken that sewing machine up all by myself, and it was something that had developed in school that I was happy to take home.” Melodie’s mother and father came to England from Jamaica—“kind of [from] the Windrush generation.” Her mother worked hard to keep them clothed, dressed and fed. “She had a sense of: ‘push yourself’. Because there was a lot of fight to that journey—to survive. Especially because they called [England] the Mother country— the Jamaicans. And I suppose coming to England and finding out they weren’t liked—that must have taken an enormous amount of courage to do that. So you know mum would encourage me with the knowledge that she had, just saying: ‘look, grasp the opportunity to learn, embrace what you’re good at.’” But some things took a bit of getting used to… “I liked punk as well. I was interested in changing my body, changing my appearance. The machine, and art, and wearing florescent makeup, shaving my hair, piercing my ears, [was] expressing myself.” Her mum, now 73, still recounts “walking through the town centre with me dressed—I had a shaved head, which I have now (I’ve had different hair styles), I had a tutu on, and I had Doc Marten boots. She said ‘I remember when you wore that tutu, and those doc marten boots’”, Melodie laughs, “and one day she threw out all my wardrobe!” reliving her teenage outrage all over again. “It was the whole thing of coming from Jamaica and ‘you dress smartly, you show people’. Because there was that hostility [in England]—‘you dress smart, you presented yourself well’. And of course with Punk, it was about going against the whole ‘do this because you have to, or it’s expected’. So buying those second-hand clothes—for me—was expressing myself. But to mum it was just ‘you’re wearing other people’s dirty cast offs! I haven’t worked all my life and got this house and the car so that you could wear other people—dead men’s clothes’—she would say. But I called it style.” 18 // WHO AM I? - AN EXPLORATION OF THE ARTS COMMUNITY.
When she came home with piercings all over her ears, Melodie recounts her mum saying: “‘I can’t even be bothered. I can’t be bothered to get angry with you.’” Melodie imitates her mum’s look of resignation with another chuckle. “You know this is my mum from Jamaica—and given the fact that it was about: ‘you’re proud, and you’re doing alright’, she was very accepting of me. I did push the boundaries quite a bit. Because I was Black British. I grew up in a town with a small black community, and I wanted to get into—I got into the British music. I loved it, I wanted to express myself. So in terms of art—my mum was brilliant. I think there would have been families that would definitely not have been that patient with me at the time.” To the question, what was it like growing up in Rugby?, Melodie replied “I didn’t really like it to be honest. Didn’t like school, didn’t like living in a small town—everybody knew your business. I was just—I was dressed quite alternatively. Quite a lot of racism. It’s a funny place.” Her style inspirations were Leigh Bowery and Trojan—“big boots and bicycle shorts, big eyebrows…” She laughed. Because Rugby was so small, to a certain degree people had to mix together and accept one another—but Melodie feels much freer today in London. “I like,” she paused, “all the communities, different nationalities, living together. I like being able to wear what I want, see people express themselves. I like the fact that there’s all kinds of different people—into whatever they’re into—living together. I like the open-mindedness of the city.”
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FURTHER READING. Richards, Aisha & Finnigan, Terry. ‘Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum: An Art and Design practitioner’s Guide’ <http://shadesofnoir.org.uk/ wp-content/uploads/2015/06/EEDC-Art-and-Design-Hyperlinks-Footnoted_ NM.pdf> Bailey, D.A., I. Baucom and S. Boyce (eds), (2005), Shades of Black: Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain, Durham and London: Duke University Press. Crenshaw, K., 1991. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford law review, pp.1241-1299. GILROY, P. (1987). “There ain’t no black in the Union Jack”: the cultural politics of race and nation. London, Hutchinson. Schiwy, F., 2007. Decolonization and the question of subjectivity: gender, race, and binary thinking. Cultural studies, 21(2-3), pp.271-294. Strayhorn, T.L. and Mullins, T.G., 2012. Investigating Black Gay Male Undergraduates’ Experiences in Campus Residence Halls. Journal of College & University Student Housing. The Battle for British Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism - 2016. Udgivet af Saqi Books. Bogens
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HELPFUL ORGANISATIONS.. Arts Council Grants for all creative practices, individuals and organisations www.artscouncil.org.uk/
Disability Arts Online Transforming and enriching arts and culture through nurturing creativity and discourse from a disability perspective. http://www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/about
Black Blossoms Highlighting the Voices of Black Women blackblossoms.org
Black British Girlhood Connecting and showcasing Black British girls and young women in the arts. Sharing and archiving the narratives of black women. http://www.blackbritishgirlhood.com
Runnymede Trust The UKâ€™s leading independent race equality think tank. Generating intelligence for a multi-ethnic Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement. http://runnymedetrust.org
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WITH THANKS TO. OUR PANELISTS & CONTRIBUTORS. Panelists: Danielle Dash. Nike Jonah. Hassan Mahamdallie. Ella December. Hansika Jethnani Contributors: Nicole Osula. Chiizii. Charisse Chikwiri. Mica Shclosser Melodie Holliday Jay Lee
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W: shadesofnoir.org.uk E: email@example.com Tw: @shadesofnoir • Fb: shadesofnoir
WE SALUTE YOU!
Who Am I? © Shades of Noir 2016 24 // WHO AM I? - AN EXPLORATION OF THE ARTS COMMUNITY.
Published on Sep 28, 2016
What do these terms mean and how do they function in the creative industries and institutes? We’re talking diversity and equality; what do t...