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Reflections on the Sustainable Enterprise London Festival

Adrian and I started the Festival three years ago, at a time when we felt without power and we knew that our colleagues, friends and local business owners were struggling financially, emotionally and with plannng how to leave lockdown. Since then, the landscape has grown more challenging, not only is there at least two pandemics that are limiting people’s opportunties and ways of generating income or expressing themselves, the climate emergency is so clear, and the impact of the patriarchy also shines through.
These things are lit up, and not in a positive way. Yet our speakers were all asked to find optimism and they did, and generously shared that. We are planning a small, free, publication about the insights shared, new approaches to supporting people’s wellbeing and towards developing our individual as well as entrepreneurial anti-fragility. So new ways for cultural and social enterprises to be resilient and not only survive but to positively impact our futures.
The SELFestival was always meant to be a space for sharing and also to create change. We are working to make sure this happens, so not just reporting but actively working.
While we do this we wanted to share the below themes that came through so very strongly:
  • Lead with the planet in mind, being human-centred has shown that it is far from enough, if not detrimental – let’s create with our guardianship of the planet at the forefront of our work;
  • Resilience is synonymous with neglect – George Gachara powerfully reminded us;
  • Uzma Hameed gently yet forcefully encouraged us to make efforts to see each other better and treat one other better;
  • David Blake inspired the audience to take agency and create a space where people can grow and become their better selves;
  • Susan Aktemel encourages us that if you lead by example you/your enterprise does not have to be big: have a ripple effect;
  • On the notion of keeping doors open for those who follow, Jess Allen agreed but also challenged us – “yes, open doors, keep opening more doors, don’t replace or shut them”.

Most powerfully I was left with heightened awareness that everything we work within has been colonised and informed by heteronormativity and patriarchal thinking – from our ways of learning to our business models. The importance of finding ways to decolonise through praxis, and to work to find new models that replace and are created with care rather than status shone through.

We were left so grateful to all speakers and audience members.
Thank you, and Adrian and I are looking forward to the publication and our 4th Festival in 2023.
Siân Prime

The Final Day of the SELFestival Comes to an Inspiring Close

22 July

Today has been the final day of the SELFestival. And what a day to end this incredibly insightful festival, filled with so many speakers, who were beyond generous in opening up their research, their practice and their vulnerabilities to inform and invigorate us.

Reflections Day 10

We spent this morning in massive reflection with Dr. Harriet Harris.  Dr. Harris opened her discussion with the status quo of current global ecologies, and how the way we in a capitalist society have designed consumerism, and product design, resulting in catastrophic consequences. However, Dr. Harris very quickly shifted the discussion into looking at the idea of end-users and how to innovate and think around using technology or moving away from technology to infiltrate innovation and deconstructing, as opposed to building. Dr. Harris’ quick wit and fast pace, while covering a broad range of different topics that all intersect and connect us. Dr. Harris challenged all of us to think about what we can do to create a framework that will innovate what the ’afterlife’ will look like, and how to take charge of designing in a way that uses a multitude of influences. A poignant moment came at the end of her talk, when she used Mycelia as a lifeform that takes a non-binary form to create its own eco system. Finally, she enriched us with five principles to consider for a truly sustainable ecology and how we could design this for ourselves.

          Green Door Pictures Logo

In the afternoon Ana Garanito Head of Scripted Content at Green Door Pictures revelled us with her journey into Script Development. She created a lively and genuine conversation around demystifying entry into media and film. The same way there is no specific path in life, there is not specific path into media, and those who claim to “know” only know what has worked for them. But each pathway is different and unique. Creating a career in the media industry is parallel to creating an enterprise, in that the way forward is to try a number of different opportunities and seize the advantages when they come. Ana spoke with passion and fervour about her work with Green Door Pictures, a production company that champions diversity of thought and inclusion in every way, from the writers room, to creative team, to onscreen presence. She was generous and caring for those in the session building confidence and highlighting the value of experience in, by changing personal narratives to appreciate one’s own skills and accomplishments.

What’s Next?

As we reflect back on these two weeks, we are so grateful and fortunate to know the speakers that came into theses sessions with their full and authentic selves. Highlighting the work that is improving lives globally and humbling themselves to be accessible to our audiences. We wish to thank each and every speaker for their time and thoughtfulness they put into each session.  


We will bring you more highlights from the festival and what materials and resources are now being created to archive and celebrate the work of truly sustainable, creative and inclusive people and enterprises who have made the SELFestival possible.  



Showing Up Authentically

 21 July

Reflections Day 9 

What a morning, with Bayo Adelaja, the founder of Do It Now Now. She spoke of her journey into entrepreneurship and how she found herself building her skills and values to form a social enterprise, from a young age. Bayo generously shared her experience and vision for Do It Now Now and discussed how she’s using systems and processes throughout the organisation that challenge society’s status quo. She likened the structure as a tapestry made up of inter-connecting circles, that works holistically together, rather than being a construct of separate entities and by using a user-focused model she is able not just to inspire but to create deep and lasting impact at the same time. She also generously opened up and spoke of vulnerable aspects of herself- awakening to the fact that she didn’t always get it right in the beginning, but through tested innovation and building an incredible team with similar values, the work she and her counterparts are doing is industry changing.

In the afternoon Jordan Pharoah spoke to us about his company ENDO, and the passion he and his company have around unifying the music scenes across the globe. Focusing on the US and the UK, to build career bridges for global artists in Black communities. Jordan spoke of the process that is built with artists at ENDO. At the core of everything is relationship. Jordan takes the time to learn the about each artist, getting to know their upbringing, their history, their geography and influences, in order to better understand and build these artists careers. Endo focuses specifically on emerging artists, creating a platform for those who have not had previous access into the music industry. ENDO also spends time focusing on Social Impact and creating work that builds conversations around social justice and equity. Jordan’s work is open and vulnerable. He uses music as a way to open conversation of and record histories that explore personal experiences of racism. In a poignant and touching moment he played some of his work that was created over the pandemic, and during that time he interviewed family members and the relationship they have to being black. Proving the power of art to educate, engage and  move to action and  change.   

After explaining and walking us through his theory of practice and building his company, we were privileged to access some never before seen footage and tracks. Jordan also spoke of upcoming events showcasing the work of some of the artists ENDO has programmed including M.U.L.A Jammy K, Charlene, Isee and Brudda Nay.

As a special treat, we were privileged to have Jordan return to air at 4pm later that afternoon to present a one hour long DJ set of ENDO artists recordings and remixes. A truly special set with so much energy and originality. The DJ set was recorded and we hope will be made available to tune into on our web pages in the near future.


Dr. Harriet Harris

In the morning we have Professor Harriet Harriss (RIBA, PFHEA, Ph.D., FRSA). She  is an award-winning educator, qualified architect, and the Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture in Brooklyn, New York. Her teaching, research, and writing focus upon pioneering pedagogic models for design education and exploring the intersectional edge of social justice and the climate crisis theories and practices, themes that emerged from two of her highly-regarded texts, Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education & the British Tradition (2015) and A Gendered Profession (2016).   

Dean Harriss’ advocacy for diversity and inclusion within design education was further recognized by Dezeen Magazine, who identified Dean Harriss as  one of the Top Ten Champions for Women in Architecture and Design in  2019. Her 2020 publication, Architects After Architecture won the Annual Bates Prize for Architectural Media. Her forthcoming 2022 books include, Greta  Magnusson Grossman – Modern Design from Sweden to California (Lund Humphries) 100 Women Architects  (RIBA publications), Architectural  Pedagogies of the Global South (Routledge  Companion Series 2022), and Working  at the Intersection: The Architecture of the Post-Anthropocene (RIBA 2022). Combined, these texts extrapolate upon her growing expertise in archival activism, climate crisis curriculum and diversity, equity and inclusion.  

In the afternoon we have Ana Garantino.

Ana Garanito

Ana joined Green Door Pictures in 2016 to feed the pipeline of Scripted content across TV & Film and ensure the company’s creative ethos of diversity of thought, opportunity, inclusion and representation.  Her work for GDP includes ‘IN THE LONG RUN’ (Sky), ‘TURN UP CHARLIE’ (Netflix), ‘TREE’ a theatre co-production with the Young Vic & Manchester International Festival and feature film ‘CONCRETE COWBOY’ (Netflix).  


Prior to this she worked at The Script Factory, Runaway Fridge and FremantleMedia where she was Director of Scripted Programming of Global Content working with award winning producers, writers and directors across the UK, Continental Europe, Australia/NZ and North America, responsible for shows including MERLIN (BBC), HIT & MISS (Sky) and THE IT CROWD (C4).  


She will be speaking about the barriers to inclusion in the media sector.

As always, tickets are free to access and can be reserved via the links below: 


Friday 22 July  

11am: Spatial Pedagogies for Non-Binary Ecologies with Professor Harriet Harriss  

2pm: Shaping the Purpose and Mission: Stories from Females in the Media Industry and Green Door with Ana Garanito  



Building & Scaling

20 July

Reflections Day 8 

Starting a much cooler morning, we were joined by Rosie Neave who began with a massive hit of inspiration to build more confidence in nature and why we should. Her academic research had led her to develop a practice around nature and coaching.  She revealed how a capitalist, patriarchal structure has devastating effects to our environment. Yet, very quickly guided us to how change our thoughts and put into action what we can be doing to use nature in small accessible bouts and building confidence in nature, to support our mental wellbeing. She also spoke of how we can allow nature to creep into our urban environments and rebuild that relationship we have with nature and the natural world. Rosie has developed lots of tools for women and those who are interested in engaging with the natural world and how to go about doing that. For more tips on how to do this, check out 

This afternoon we welcome Gillian Easson, who spoke of investing in the creative and cultural sector in her hometown of Dundee. She spoke of how she took the initiative to start a digital blog about her sector and focused on how creativity and culture can help improve the wellness of it’s city’s citizens. And using the organisation and digital platform Creative Dundee, to bring about social change. Gillian had some great tips about working with much larger organisations, especially while leading a creative platform. She used beautiful imagery to discuss intense topics like learning to scale and the pressure of taking care of your community. She was championed by her city and how she utilised the way her citizens looked at creativity to revitalize creativity and culture across Dundee. To learn more about Gillian’s work, check out her work and approach to inclusion and working with artists as researchers is inspiring.  


Joining us tomorrow morning will be Bayo Adelaja, the founder of Do it Now Now, an open innovation organisation committed to bringing social empowerment to Black communities across the globe. 


Bayo Adelaja

Bayo, was named one of the most influential women in social entrepreneurship in the UK, by Natwest bank and is an award-winning entrepreneur, passionate about helping brands and businesses excel at creating sustainable social impact.  

For four years, she worked at the London School of Economics, helping governments and large charities figure out the best ways to achieve their impact goals. While there, she realised the reason a lot of great initiatives failed to get off the ground was a lack of well organised grassroots activism, particularly in the business space. In this session she will reflect on change in ways of doing business and on the ways we can work to ensure more inclusion. 

In the afternoon, at 2pm, we’ll be joined by Jordan Pharoah, to hear his thoughts on creating music with social purpose.  



Jordan Pharoah

Jordan Pharoah is a singer, songwriter, producer, and founder of ENDO Entertainment. Before moving to London in 2015, he worked in the music industry as an artist, band leader, and vocalist in California for 12 years. While living in Los Angeles, he had the opportunity to perform in venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, The Arena (formerly The Staples Center), The Troubadour, and many others. Jordan was also a finalist on an NBC music show as part of a group that went on to record an album and tour around the world.  

Since moving to London, he has learned so much about its vast music market by networking with musicians, producers, and fellow artists as well as actively engaging in its musical communities. He had the opportunity to perform in different countries across three continents and venues such as Camden Assembly, Jazz Café, and The Freemasons Hall for London Fashion Week to list a few. Through performance, collaboration, and networking Jordan has gained the necessary experience/insight that has helped him understand London’s music scene, what it is missing, and how he can make it better. 

Jordan will follow his talk with an exclusive, online DJ set (at 4pm).

As always, tickets are free to access and can be reserved via the links below: 


Thursday 21 July  

11am: Business reflecting Culture: Insights in Black Entrepreneurship with Bayo Adelaja  

2pm: Jordan Pharoah Building Beats with Boldness- Creating Music with Social Purpose 

4pm: DJ Session with Jordan Pharoah 


The SELFestival Continues to Inspire!


19 July


Reflections Day 7

This morning we were joined by Sarah Drummond who shared her experience of co-founding Snook then leading it to scale and it becoming an award-winning service design agency and moving into a new career as a film-maker. Throughout the conversation, Sarah’s commitment to creating people-focused change shone through along with a sense of placing communities at the heart of her work. She shared her feelings of loss and grief when she learnt about Section 28 at the age of 30 and how this has inspired her to create a film archiving its impact.  Themes of connecting, collaborating, creativity and inclusion were apparent throughout her conversation and we were left feeling inspired by her optimism and fueled by her activism.  


In the afternoon we had a provocative conversation led by Sara Flay, CEO of the Ani Group. Sara delighted us with discussion of how getting to know herself and owning who she is as a business owner, CEO and now co-founder of an agency has led to a self-awareness and self-belief she previously never thought possible. Sara also discussed her diagnosis and the ways in which systems are not built for helping communities persevere. She spoke at length about how some people might not even have access to perseverance, and how it is the responsibility of those with access to be disruptors and barrier breakers, making the world accessible for everyone.  


In the early evening we welcomed John Newbigin to discuss the creative potential of our High Streets with the London Borough of Culture and his experiences globally and locally of the positive impacts of creativity. A traversed storyteller, John used the stories that his work has taken him to, giving insights in to  some of the histories of communities and  spaces. Under the view of the Borough of Culture, he spoke of how place is something to be celebrated. He spoke of young people taking ownership and creating podcasts about the truth of COVID for their area. In another tale, he spoke of how to give a town a makeover, and how it is so important to look at things differently.  The summaries were to remember that new perspectives and finding the gems or the assets of the community are the keys to rejuvenating our neighbourhoods.  To use ambition, creativity and  ideas of reinvigoration to think and build long term, to set up the future for the next generation. We were finally reminded that with the climate crisis we need to think and  work differently, to make sure there is a change. That there is such potential – we need to push and  collaborate to ensure it is reached. 




Rosie Neave

Coming up tomorrow, we have Goldsmiths alumna Rosie Neave at 11am who will be sharing some of her research into nature connection and how it can support both women and the planet.  Rosie is the founder of the Vertelle Nature Project which empowers women through fostering a deeper connection to nature. Rosie works across a range of disciplines, working at the intersection of art, photography and the written word. She has developed nature-focused workshops which bring women together and inspire creativity and she has used both social media and journaling to further engage women. Her work creates environments that encourage social connection and reflection. Rosie aims to support wellbeing whilst fostering a sense of responsibility towards the world around us. This will be an interactive session. 




Gillian Easson

Following Rosie, in the afternoon we will speak to Gillian Easson who will discuss creating a culture where equality, diversity and inclusion are central in a city. Gillian is Director of Creative Dundee, an organisation which believes culture and creativity are essential catalysts for positive change. A creative network which amplifies and connects creativity locally, Gillian has grown Creative Dundee from the ground up, since co-founding it as a blog, by catalysing opportunities for people and their place. With a background in design and innovation, she has used this to improve access routes to education, employment and enterprise. Gillian is a fan of complexity, messiness; and embracing open and collective ways of working, to find the ultimate murmuration. 


As always, tickets are free to access and can be reserved via the links below: 


11am: Using Pathways to Nature to Create Motivation & Resilience with Rosie Neave  

2pm: Creativity and Connecting: Creating a Culture where Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are Central in a City with Gillian Easson 






Kicking Off to a Great Week Two of the SELFestival


Monday 18 July

Reflections Day 6

This morning was a beautiful and lively session to kickstart this week’s conversations. We were navigated by Régis Gautier-Cochefert. After discussing his career as an administrator and ‘gatekeeper’ of funds in the arts sector, he really dissected his stoic management. At the focus of every move he has made, he champions humanity and human centred processes. One of the many skills Régis reflected on was the art of learning to say no in both grant giving and grant seeking. Régis gave lots of great advice around how to start relationships with funders. He also spoke about the time that goes into crafting funding applications, and ensuring that your organisation and your applications are not static and breathe life into the words that grant givers are reading.  


In the afternoon, Professor Dave O’Brien spent the session relaying the demographics and origins of those who make up the creative sector and battling how people find work in the creative industries. Through deciphering the data of occupations, Prof. O’Brien dissected how each industry was affected by the pandemic, as well as the breakdown cycle of public policy and how it affects workers within the creative industries. Dave also highlighted the major issue of social inequality in the UK which is reflected in the imbalance in our creative and cultural industries. He spoke about a lack of equality and opportunity both in hiring practices and in the habits of those most creatively and culturally exposed, which both, in turn, affect and create demand in the arts sector.  


In a concluding optimistic note, Prof. O’Brien discussed the changes that individuals and organisations are making across these sectors to work innovatively in an inclusive and sustainable way.  

This week is proving to be just as exciting as  the last! We have had great sessions today and tomorrow is an unprecedented treat! We will be doing three events tomorrow! With one of our events that is a part of this year’s Borough of Culture, and we could not be more pleased! Make sure you get the full scope of tomorrow’s activities, below! 


Coming up tomorrow, we have three more incredible speakers lined up for the festival. 


Sarah Drummond

First on the schedule for tomorrow, at 11am, is Sarah Drummond who will discuss how careers take divergent turns, but the importance of values and passions create important work. She will also guide us on her journey from being a service designer to a film-maker.  


Sara Flay

At 2pm, Sara Flay will join us to share her perspective on being a serial entrepreneur, strategies and problem solving for disability inclusion. Having been told at 23 she would never work again due to disability, Sara Flay set about proving the doubters wrong and now proudly heads up a ground-breaking consultancy as the co-founder of The ANI Group.  The ANI Group is a series of companies and delivery partners who are ensuring excellence within the inclusion sector. The group is made up of not for profit, social enterprise and profit-making work.  Sara is committed to ensuring real change happens within our communities and that change is not just something we read about in paper-based strategies and policies.  


John Newbigin

Finally, at 5.30pm, John Newbigin will share his thoughts on the creative potential of high streets. John Newbigin OBE chairs the PEC International Advisory Council on the creative economy and is the London Mayor’s Ambassador for the creative economy. He was part of the team that developed the first definition of the creative industries, adopted by the UK government in 1998, and was co-founder and first Chair of Creative England. He is Chair of the British Council’s Advisory Board for Arts and Creative Economy and is a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London. 


As always, tickets are free to access and can be reserved by following the links below:  

11am: Don’t Say Gay: From being a Service Designer to a Filmmaker with Sarah Drummond  

2pm: Serial Entrepreneur, Strategies and Problem Solving for Disability Inclusion, disrupting the Archaic Narrative with Sara Flay  

5.30pm – 7pm: The Creative Potential of our High Streets with John Newbigin (on and offline to celebrate Lewisham business and the borough of culture) 


The second week of the SELFestival starts today!

Monday 18 July


The second week of the SELFestival starts today. 


Last week, we reflected on holding power, how to create more inclusivity in the systems we work in and using language to create change. This week’s speakers will build on these themes, loosely structured around the festival’s themes of Motivation and Perseverance. 


Régis Cochefert

To start the week, at 11am we will be joined by Régis Cochefert, to talk about the art of giving and gaining grants. Régis is the former Director of Grants and Giving at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, having joined the Foundation in 2005 to run the Arts Programme. Prior to that, he worked as Head of External Relations and then Opera General Administrator at Aldeburgh Productions (now called Snape Maltings). Régis is a trustee of the John Lyon’s Charity and of the Leche Trust. He previously chaired Ministry of Stories and Tamasha Theatre Company, having also been a council member of the London Sinfonietta and a trustee of the Young Vic Theatre. Régis is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Lyon and will start in September 2022 a post-graduate PGCE in Primary Education at the Institute of Education at UCL to become a primary school teacher. 


Then, at 2pm, Dave O’Brien, Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries at Sheffield University will join us to discuss class and other barriers to inclusion in the arts. 

Prof. Dave O’Brien


Dave is a co-investigator at the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (AHRC PEC), and the recently completed AHRC funded Impact of Covid-19 on the Cultural Sector research project. He has published extensively on inequality in the cultural sector, including his latest book Culture is Bad for You, which is co-authored by Dr Mark Taylor and Dr Orian Brook, and the Creative Majority report on what works to support diversity in the creative industries, published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Creative Diversity.  


As always, tickets are free to access and can be reserved via the links below.  


11am: The Art of Giving andGaining Grants with Régis Cochefert  

2pm: Panic! The Arts are NOT a Meritocracy with Professor Dave O’Brien  



Wrapping The First Week Of SELFestival

The Whole of Week One is Done!

It is officially the end of the first week of the SELFestival! We have had an incredible week of insightful, caring, and thought-provoking speakers. Sessions emerged throughout the week revealing themes around power and holding space for the people and community in your organisation or industry. We have discussed the importance of creating spaces of visibility, understanding that language and words are the first steps towards access and change.  


Today we welcomed Drew McOnie in the morning session and he used his creative storytelling talents to interweave powerful lessons of kindness and humility. He showed us that true leadership means leading everyone, and that translates into the capacity to understand and see each person that touches the work you do. Whether that is those directly working on the production the partner of a stagehand, or if it is the children of a colleague, understanding the space people need to live in the creative and performing arts is how to create better and more poignant, nuanced work.

This bound beautifully with our afternoon session with Jessica Allen, who spoke about what it means to lead or be a voice of authority, and the importance of taking a step back when necessary. The conversation conveyed how sometimes in leadership, the best way forward is to invite people to take ownership and responsibility of how they design the world within themselves to be responsive and responsible for everyone. It also emphasised the need for active listening and the importance of interrogating what we think we know. 


From both speakers today and throughout the week, the lessons and learning of our contributors have us thinking about how to embrace and take hold of the  


More Next Week 

Next week’s sessions will have just as many, incredible speakers and timely conversations.  


We have a different array of speakers from a myriad of industries. Some will be speaking about switching industries, like the infamous Sarah Drummond, who created Snook. She is now a filmmaker, who’s project ‘Don’t Say Gay’ focuses on Section 28.  

We cannot wait to hear about what that journey has been like, and the inspiration for her to take on this project.  


We are also excited to speak with John Newbigin from London’s Borough of Culture, discussing the change in high streets of Lewisham. In addition, there will be the Régis Cochefert, the previous Managing director of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, who will speak on what it means to manage funds for the innovation and creative arts sectors.  

Other exciting names include Sara Flay, serial entrepreneur who can walk anyone through starting, owning and selling a business. Her real specialty is around creating inclusive spaces and companies for those with disabilities.

These are just some of the multi-faceted speakers we have coming to join us the final week of the SELFestival!

See the full programme of events and speakers here. 




As we approach the end of the first week of the festival, we are delighted to welcome back director and choreographer Drew McOnie at 11am. Drew will share his insight and experience of developing an inclusive leadership style in theatre andperforming arts 


Drew is the Artistic Director of The McOnie Company and a proud Associate Artist at The Old Vic theatre, London and Birmingham Rep Theatre. In 2016, Drew won the Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreography for In the Heights and he was nominated for the same award in 2017 for the ground-breaking production of Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Recently, Drew created MERLIN for Northern Ballet, choreographed Carousel at Regents Park Open Air Theatre and has been the choreographer on the Greatest Days movie. 


Staying with the performing arts, in the afternoon at 2pm we’ll be joined by Jessica Allen  who will share Perspectives on developing a trans-inclusive environment. Jessica trained at the Arts Educational School, Tring Park (now Tring Park School for the Performing Arts) and graduated in 2010.  Jessica went on to dance for major ballet companies as a soloist and a principal, as well as performing in musical theatre productions around the world such as ‘Cats’. 


In 2021, Jessica made history as the first transgender dancer to perform, in classical styles, at both extremes of the gender binary. The show, CTC’s ‘iNk’D’, was a critical success.  Now Jessica is focused on consulting with theatre institutions and schools to foster a new and more trans friendly theatre world.  


As the Festival progresses, the process of curation is bearing fruit, with themes developing and speakers unknowingly deepening or extending thoughts from one another.  


Today we were given different perspectives on working in performing arts. on the ways people of colour are represented, or not on stage. David Blake enforced the place of mentoring and an approach to holistic performing arts education, including wellbeing and life-management skills. He spoke with integrity and humility – values that guide these ways of working.  


Translation and sharing of language, collaboration and interpretation were strong themes that developed in Uzma Hameed’s conversation. She shared insights into her processes of collaboration and working cross-form, and how art can be a tool to help shape our identities. Uzma spoke honestly about seeing and voicing the issues women face in balancing the many contradictory but complementary roles of motherhood, career and self and how these roles have many transferable skills which are not always recognised or valued. 


These issues of the systemic barriers faced by women, and Black, Asian and other members of the global majority have been raised in a provocative and thoughtful way, with new ideas for ameliorating them emerging.  








More Exciting Conversations from the SELFestival!

13 July  

Reflections Day 3 

Another day down in the festival and there are certain themes that continue to emerge through these conversations. Discussions around power, and shifts in power, shifts in potential, and what it means to do something well. The importance of the work that is created around and audience- and the responsibility of those community relationships.    

We are inspired by Karl from Purple Door and his approach to building new ways of leading, supporting and creating work. His focus was around building trust with people who have not been served that well by the arts and other parts of society. Later in the afternoon Susan from Homes for Good picked up this same thread, in a different approach, that was both joyous and inspiring.

We thank both Susan and Karl for giving us such reasons to be optimistic. With each noting the difficulties and nuances of certain societal positions. Through both conversations, each speaker created a poignant magnitude of inspiration, leading the charge of possibility when it comes to change. They both, in their own humble manners showcased their keen resourcefulness in understanding that with what they have there can be change beyond themselves and beyond their organisations.


Here is what to expect tomorrow!

Starting the day at 11am we are delighted to welcome David Blake to the festival for the first time.  David will talk about holistic artist development, featuring opportunities andnew ways of supporting Black dance artists. David Blake is an international performer, director, choreographer, educator and producer. He is the founder and creator for Blake Arts, an arts collective that offers holistic artistic development and training as well as content creation, focused on the stories of artists from the Afro Caribbean Diaspora. David is a 2020 Black British Theatre Awards (BBTA) recipient for “Best Teacher for Performing Arts as a Subject” and is currently playing the role of “Banzai” in Disney’s The Lion King in London’s West End.

At 2pm, we have another speaker making her debut at the festival, director, dramaturg and writer Uzma Hameed. Uzma will share her perspectives of collaboration and working across different art forms. 


British director and writer Uzma Hameed made her Royal Ballet debut in 2015 as dramaturg for Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works, and has since returned as dramaturg for McGregor’s ballets Obsidian Tear and Multiverse. She has also worked as dramaturg on Autobiography for Company Wayne McGregor. She graduated from the University of Cambridge with a first in modern and medieval languages, and went on to train in classical Indian music and dance. In 1997 she founded the Big Picture Company, an innovative theatre company combining new writing with choreography and film. Hameed’s credits with the Big Picture Company included writing and directing A Dark River, Taj and Prophetess, all of which were toured extensively around the UK. Hameed was Associate Director at Derby Playhouse 2002–5, where her directing credits included Shirley Valentine, Dracula, Frankenstein and her own controversial adaptation of Schiller’s Mary Stuart, which drew parallels between the danger to Elizabethan England from Catholic Rome and the modern threat of Islamist terrorism. She has directed for Kali Theatre, led projects at the National Theatre Studio and taught on workshops and courses for a variety of organizations, including the International Institute of Performing Arts in Paris, BBC Radio for Schools and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She was also the dramaturg for Cathy Marston’s Victoria for Northern Ballet. 


As a writer, Hameed’s current projects include the novel The Kinship of Djinns (co-written with her sister Ambreen) and an English translation of Siegfried Lenz’s Time of the Innocents. Her reviews have appeared in such journals as Dance Theatre Journal, Dance Now, East, Animated and The Big Issue 


Most recently Hameed has released a novel called Undying, the stories of two sisters, written by two sisters. 


Thursday 14 July

11 AM: Holistic Artist development – opportunities and new ways of supporting Black dance artists with David Blake 

2PM: Stories, Collaboration and working cross-form with Director, Dramaturg and Writer Uzma Hameed     

See the full programme of events and speakers here.