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Hello, new season! And a quick update.

A group of children of different ethnicities sit in two rows playing djembes.
Credit: Britten Pears Arts.

Here we are in mid-September already. I hope you had a great summer break and the transition back to 'normality' has been smooth (and Raac-free). If you haven't taken a break, I hope you've had a healthy and happy few months.

As we move into a new season, it feels like a good opportunity to offer a bit of an update of my work, and a little preview of what's coming up.

First, some background

If you don't already know, thanks to becoming involved in a groundbreaking project in Ipswich during the pandemic, my career took on a fresh direction.

Completely unplanned, I spent 2020 to early 2023 working with museums and the Black community in Ipswich and Suffolk on the award-winning Power of Stories, which featured original costumes from Marvel Studios' Black Panther 1, whilst launching a community interest company, Aspire Black Suffolk (with thanks to the backing of Suffolk County Council and the Association for Suffolk Museums).

This activity changed the course of my work, leading me to a rewarding, progressive new professional practice: combining EDI and activism with storytelling. My work takes me into cultural and heritage organisations, as well as business and not-for-profits.

Caption: video of Power of Stories exhibition at Snape Maltings.

Whirlwind of action and impact

The last few years have been a whirlwind of action, resulting in me winning the Museums Association's Museums Change Lives Radical Changemaker award and Aspire winning a BBC Suffolk's Make a Difference Award last year. I was also part of the team that scooped the prestigious Museums + Advisor Award 2022 for Power of Stories too.

After 25 years in communications, winning awards for work I'd created from scratch, in response to an urgent need to improve Black representation in arts, culture and heritage was truly very surprising. And I feel very honoured to have been entrusted with such work.

After wrapping up the Power of Stories tour in February, I took some time to rest and take stock. And I was surprised to see what I'd achieved!

To give you an idea of what I've been up to, here's a summary of activity since earlier in the year.

  • I had the privilege of producing an online Q&A with the Black Panther movies' djembe maker, Wooden Roots, and a master drummer for both Black Panther scores, Magatte Sow Fall, in association with Britten Pears Arts. check it out to get an idea of how important the djembe is in West African culture and our thoughts on cultural appropriation.

  • I became a member of the Norfolk and Suffolk Culture Board, contributing my expertise in inclusion and engagement.

  • I was made a new Honorary Commander (a kind of community liaison) for the USAF at RAF Mildenhall. There's a great backstory to this - more in the future!

A white woman in uniform and a Black woman in a green patterned dress stand opposite each other holding a wooden flagpole. They both smile into the camera.
Credit: RAF Mildenhall.

Collaborating with Britten Pears Arts, we produced the Power of Stories tour's closing celebration at the prestigious Snape Maltings.

  • I began a part-time role as project officer with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce for its 140th anniversary project, Chamber 140. I focus on an initiative called Celebrating Diversity, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players. I'm researching and will share untold stories from the county's migrant economy and women.

  • London Business Partnership recruited me to work as their EDI Engagement Manager, enabling them to engage with a greater diversity of business owners across all London boroughs for a UK government funded project.

  • Cultural consultation for arts organisations in Woodbridge, East Suffolk to help them engage more effectively and authentically with diverse communities, with a focus on Windrush 75 celebrations.

A young Black man in a 1940s suit looks into the camera in a crowded train station.
Credit: Howard Grey/ Woodbridge Festival of Art and Music.

I have spoken and delivered training for...

I've also been plugging away at some cultural PR for local summer events, developing on my new brand messaging (coming soon...).

I have more talks and workshops lined up

for the rest of the year in London, Norwich and Cambridge.

Look out for another round-up in a few months' time!

If you'd like to have a chat about anti-racism training, community engagement strategy, decolonisation in culture and heritage, inclusive storytelling and more, give me a shout.

In the meantime, enjoy all that comes with autumn (or whichever season you're in right now).

I've been enjoying an abundance of berries picked from my garden, and taking sea dips in the hazy sunshine!

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