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Exploring my recent diversity projects

Updated: Apr 24

The first quarter of 2024 brought some great projects as well as a generous helping of personal uncertainty. In this article, I'm focusing on the former, not the latter, as that's where the good stuff is!

Here's a look at what I've been up to...

Mama Afrika UK tour (PR)

Last year I was invited to provide the wonderful performer, Anna Mudeka, with PR support. I tend to only do PR campaigns for clients from underrepresented communities or projects that are linked to equality, diversity and inclusion.

So when the producer, Daisy Lees of Arts La-Olam, asked me to quote for Anna's first UK tour of Mama Afrika - a solo show about the South African music icon and Black rights activist, Miriam Makeba - I didn't hesitate. I knew the show was going to be special, knowing the quality of work both Daisy and Anna deliver, and that they had the backing of The Makeba Foundation.

A Black woman is on stage, sitting down with an old red telephone held to her ear. The background is black.anding in front of an old fashioned microphone with one hand on her hip. She wears a colourful tight African dress wit ha matching head wrap.
Anna Mudeka as Miriam Makeba by Sarah Hickson

I created the strategy for Mama Afrika hitting local, regional and national media. I also collaborated with another PR consultant on coverage for Mama Afrika as part of Certain Black's Soul on Ice festival in London.

Starting in January, I've secured coverage on BBC 6Music Cerys Matthews' show, regional and local BBC radio, lifestyle and culture press, and local print and online news. Using my knowledge of projects in the heritage sector, I connected Anna with the Anti-Apartheid Legacy (the organisation behind the forthcoming Centre of Memory and Learning in Islington). They have been supporting the tour wholeheartedly with publicity and coming to the London show.

The audience's reactions have been amazing with venues selling out around the country!

The tour ends in Diss, Suffolk on 1st June, but check out the remaining dates in case Mama Afrika is in your area in May.

National Horse Racing Museum (consultancy)

I've been working with the museum in Newmarket to provide consultancy for a new exhibition display about two trailblazing Black female jockeys. My ongoing work helps to ensure that the narratives are not only accurate but appropriate.

Often, when writing about people from diverse cultural backgrounds, it's very easy to miss key information. This is why cultural sensitivity - a combination of skill and personal experience - is essential. Plus, by involving a consultant from the same background, content can be more authentic and richer, offering visitors a deeper experience.

A young black woman wears a black casual outfit with trainers. She stands in front of a display of jockey clothing on mannequins. She is smiling.

C14o (project development)

Last May I started working on a heritage project for Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, which was mainly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Working alongside another project officer, I focused on researching and sharing stories from the migrant economy and women in business.

The outputs include a launch exhibition in Suffolk, an animated timeline and an online interactive exhibition.

Sourcing stories for underrepresented groups requires different skills to 'traditional' history. For instance, most stories tend to emerge during conversations as trust and rapport develops. Being a trained journalist, I love listening to people's stories. I valued the opportunity to discover stories of resilience and innovation of people from around the world and women.

What's next?

A black man dressed in a colourful casual African trouser suit is on stage, with a djembe drum. There are stage lights in the background. His left hand is held in the air with his hand in a fist.
Sidiki Dembele is one of the Wooden Roots Experience elite artists.

I'm PR-ing the wonderful Wooden Roots Experience taking place at the prestigious Snape Maltings, Suffolk, in August. With workshops led by West African drummers and a dancer who are among the world's elite artists, I'm thrilled to have been entrusted with this work. Founded in L.A., Wooden Roots made custom djembes for Marvel Studios' Black Panther movies - they have their own stories to tell!

I've become a new trustee of the wonderful theatre company, HighTide, which supports underrepresented playwrights across the East of England. Also, I have client training sessions booked. I'll share more on these developments another time.

My other work is not yet public, and I'll be available for speaking slots at conferences from September on topics including inclusive culture, inclusive community engagement, decolonising brands, tackling rural racism, and inclusive communications/ marketing.

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