Take a look through the activists, artists, thinkers and influencers taking part in our landmark summit We Make Tomorrow on 13th October 2022 at the Birmingham Rep & Library or online.
Ahdaf Soueif is a novelist and political and cultural commentator. Ms Soueif is the author of the bestselling The Map of Love (shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999 and translated into more than 30 languages). Her account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, Cairo: a City Transformed, came out in January 2014. Her collection of essays, Mezzaterra (2004), has been influential and her articles for the Guardian are published in the European and American press.
In 2007 Ms Soueif founded the Palestine Festival of Literature – PalFest, a traveling festival which took place in cities across occupied Palestine (until COVID19). Out of that she co-edited This is Not A Border: Reportage and Reflections from the Palestine Festival of Literature (2017).
Ms Soueif was the first recipient of the Mahmoud Darwish Award (Palestine: 2010) and received the European Cultural Foundation’s 2019 Princess Margriet Award.
“I make live art, performance lectures, artistic interventions, participatory experiences and live role-playing games, often focusing on communities and audiences outside of conventional gallery or performance spaces. My other art-adjacent work is as a researcher, producer and activist in livelihoods, equity and access for artists from marginalised groups, especially LGBTQ+ artists, disabled artists, self-taught artists and artists from low income backgrounds… just like me.”
Amahra Spence is an artist and organiser working for liberation. She is particularly interested in the role of culture and transformation and how liberation is practiced through systems, strategy, governance and spaces. To do this, she centres 5 key teaching tools in design: Black Imagination(s), Grandparents & the Indigenous Philosophy of Collectivism, Hip Hop & Other Genres of Resistance, Science Fiction and Emergent Strategy. Across cultural, public or Built environment interventions, her work encourages the collaborative dreaming, designing and building of radical, civic infrastructure for community vision, wellness, self-determination and joy.
Anna is a curator and researcher in micropolitics and situated ecological practices.
She joined Arts Catalyst (Sheffield, UK) in 2017 as Curator, and recently became Senior Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University (College of Social Sciences and Arts –Art & Design Research Centre). She is co-founder of Vessel in Bari (Southern Italy), a nomadic curatorial organisation and agency invested in supporting artistic and curatorial practices that are situated, responsive and research-led. Anna previously worked as ESP and Public Programmer at Eastside Projects (Birmingham), and in 2018 she was Curator in Residence at Grand Union(Birmingham). She is PhD candidate at the University of Wolverhampton (UK).
Chinonyerem Odimba is a Nigerian British playwright, screenwriter, and poet.
Her work for theatre includes The Bird Woman of Lewisham at the Arcola, Rainy Season, and His Name is Ishmael for Bristol Old Vic andSweetness of a Sting for National Theatre Connections. More recently, Chinonyerem has written for Young Vic Theatre on the experimental AI play, RSC/Coventry City of Culture 2021 Faith, and is currently under commission with ETT for Who is She, a projection mapping project, and Kiln Theatre, as well as new commissions for BBC Radio 3 and Regents Park Open Air Theatre. She has been shortlisted for several awards including the Adrienne Benham and Alfred
Chinonyerem’s TV credits includes Scotch Bonnet for BBC Three and A Blues for Nia for BBC/Eclipse Theatre, Adulting for Channel 4, and more recently My Best Friend Married a Warrior for CBBC. For radio, credits include The Last Flag, and Eve as part of This Is Your Country, Now series on BBC Radio 4.
Edgard Gouveia Júnior
Edgard Gouveia Júnior never tires of putting people to play. Architect and Urbanist and Post Graduate in Cooperative Games, he dedicates his career to mobilise children, youth and adults by designing and applying virtual games, scavenger hunts and collective actions that lead to small community revolutions.
He is the president of Epic Journey a company that promotes the regenerative communities in organisations such as companies, schools and NGOs. Co-founder of LiveLab that specifically acts with the youth leading regeneration in their own communities, highlighting Jornada X & Primavera X.
Edouard is a lecturer and researcher and currently teaches French and international politics at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP). He coordinates the Just Transition Research Collaborative (JTRC), an international researcher-activist platform that works to embed workers’ and frontline communities’ lived experiences in the just transition debate.
As part of his broader interest in climate justice and non-state actor participation in international environmental processes, Edouard’s current research focuses on the role and influence of philanthropic foundations and elite networks, and how they shape the post-COP21 climate agenda.
Emma Blake Morsi
Emma Blake Morsi is an award-winning Multi-Disciplinary Producer, Non-Executive Director of Rising Arts Agency and Bristol City Council’s Culture Board member. A prolific visual storyteller, she predominantly works across photography, words, graphics, film, events and sound, and has been training as a creative intersectional environmentalist following years in STEM.
As the Content and Partnerships Manager for the ethical marketing and PR agency Enviral to former Lifestyle Assistant Editor of gal-dem, Emma challenges approaches to inclusion and innovation in the spaces she works in, producing work that can be experienced by all but most importantly gives visibility to and engages those from marginalised groups.
Eric Njuguna is a youth climate justice and human rights organizerfrom Nairobi, Kenya. She is the campaigns lead at the Kenya Environmental Action Network, co-leads the national Fridays for Future group, and is the campaigns director at Kenya Environmental Action Network. She has worked with youth across Kenya, East Africa and Africa to build advocacy campaigns and build pressure on African leaders to take action on the climate crisis and mobilize the youth in Africa.
In 2017, during her junior year in high school, Kenya was hit by severe droughts and having seen the impacts it had on children in her community she joined the youth climate movement to demand action from world leaders. She has worked with youth climate activists to organize climate strikes, education and capacity building events across the country. She also recently began working with UNICEF as a young leader on advocacy around NDCs.
Fanny is a visual artist, muralist and social innovator fascinated by collective intelligence.
Her practices have been centred around developing artistic participatory methods around the protection of living heritage, biodiversity, water and climate justice. Her passion has led her throughout Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, and in knowledge-rich and creative northern and Indigenous territories. Fanny also works at the One Drop Foundation as a Social Art Specialist on safe water Programs. She is also co-developing a new philanthropy youth initiative around water and climate in Canada.
Fehinti is an actor, theatre-maker, and activist. He has worked in theatre, film and television, with
recent performances in BBC’s award-winning drama I May Destroy You, ITV’s Viewpoint, and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, as well as performing in BBCs critically acclaimed Informer. He has been involved in an array of west end theatre performances and has just finished filming in Netflix’s Half Bad.
Alongside his acting career, Fehinti delivers talks on climate change aimed at creating more rounded inclusion in the conversation and has written two well received political films named: You just don’t get it and it hurts and CAN I LIVE produced by Complicite theatre company.
Feimatta is the Environmental Sustainability Manager for the Manchester International Festival. She has worked across sustainability, technology development, digital culture and the arts for over 15 years, for organisations including the LSE, Arcola Theatre, Arcola Energy and FutureEverything. She is a trustee of Artsadmin and Invisible Dust, a facilitator of the GMAST network which brings together the cultural and creative community across Greater Manchester to address the climate and ecological crisis and she sits on the advisory committee for the Theatre Green Book. Outside of work, Feimatta is very involved with an educational children’s camping charity – she enjoys building communities and helping young people interact with nature.
Photo credit: Rebecca Lupton
Gigsta is an academic researcher, DJ, producer, promoter, radio host and zine maker.
A regular host on Cashmere Radio with her show Fictions, Gigsta plays a variety of tempos, rhythms and colours with a specific fascination for lower frequencies and the odd cut out sample. Born in Belgium, Gigsta grew up in Brittany (France) and is currently based in Berlin, where she writes a PhD, makes zines, hosts her own Fictions parties and is a resident at Room 4 Resistance.
Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat
Hannah is a curator and a lawyer.
She is Co-founder and Curator of the art project DISPLACEMENT: Uncertain Journeys, Director of the Swiss art association La Fruitière, and a doctoral candidate at the University of the Arts London, Chelsea College of Arts.
She is also a lawyer by training, with over 15 years of experience working with the United Nations, States, and non-governmental organisations on operational and policy issues related to humanitarian affairs and the protection of displaced people. Hannah is currently bridging these two worlds by exploring how contemporary art practice and research can contribute to the development of international law and policy to protect the rights of people displaced by disasters and climate change.
Harpreet Kaur Paul
Harpreet Kaur Paul, researcher and lawyer, organised her first petition against systemic racism in policing when she was 11 and attended her first protest in 2002, against war in Iraq. She has participated in many protests since. She is a non-practising solicitor and previously worked at REDRESS, Amnesty International, and People & Planet. Most recently, she’s been raising her daughter, researching for a PhD on climate justice at Warwick Law School, and writing – including the Common Wealth report Towards Reparative Climate Justice, co-editing and co-curating, the illustrated book Perspectives on a Global Green New Deal, with Dalia Gebrial (and co-hosting a podcast based on it too), supporting Julie’s Bicycle Creative Climate Justice Guide, and working collaboratively with movement actors in London through Platform’s London Leap programme to co-write Participatory policies for a fairer and greener London.
Last year she co-launched Tipping Point UK, a climate justice movement building organisation. She also organises with the Wretched of the Earth collective and supports climate justice centred strategy, policy, and advocacy development as a consultant with organisations like ActionAid and The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty initiative.
Helen Starr is a Trinidadian world-building curator. Of Afro-Carib ancestry, Helen’s indigenous and black lived experience is entangled with both racism and genocidal erasure. Helen is interested in the formulation of how European people came to see themselves as the gatekeepers to the Personhood of Others. How Earth became a colony of the West. Working mainly with artists who have protected characteristics, Helen has commissioned, curated and produced world building artworks using game engines such as: Life Without Matter(2018) by Rebecca Allen, Warm Worlds and Otherwise (2018-20) by Anna Bunting-Branch and Aliyah Hussain, Haunting Alongside our Shadows (2021) by Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley and It was an Aliens’ Picnic (Beyond Black Orientalism) – the World as a futuristic re-imagination, existing in Time and Zones that Spring from and Move in Breath (2021) Salma Noor, Megan Broadmeadow, Brandon Covington, Sam Sumana, Nicholas Delap, Ben Hall, Nayu Kim and curated by Kinnari Saraiya – and framed and held in love and longing by Amrita Dhallu and Helen Starr.
Helen has worked with public institutions such as Ars Electronica Festival in Austria, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge, FACT, Liverpool and QUAD in Derby. Helen also sits on the board of QUAD, Derby and was part of the winning team for the Wolfson Economic Prize 2021. She lives in London with her family and her collection of artworks by emerging and established Contemporary artists. Central to Starr’s practice are the writings of the Jamaican philosopher Sylvia Wynter.
KMT (Ian) is a musician, DJ, promoter and is co-founder of May Project Gardens. He has over 20 years experience of leading positive social change and raising awareness for a multitude of social issues, through the powerful words and rhythms of Hip Hop music and a non-exhaustive passion for the environment and conservation. CEO of award winning community-led food growing space May Project Gardens, and mentors young people, nurturing ideas through music and a connection to the environment, through the leadership programme, Hip Hop Gardens.
Ibrahim Hirsi is a student, writer and poet.
A digital cultural archivist, his work has been performed as part of the Bedlam Mental Health Festival, contributed to the DearAyeeyoexhibition at The Roundhouse, featured in the Confined But Creativeexhibition and is in Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. He has worked as a consultant on Asmaa Jama’s interactive short film ‘ ‘Before We Disappear” and has poems Flipped Eyes’ “Before Them, We” anthology.
Throughout her decade-long career, Immy has focused on convening and building community, the role of citizens in radical systemic change, and how we together create more democratic, distributed, open source social and civic infrastructure. Through this work she has discovered much about economic justice and broader injustices, the pivotal role of land and social/civic infrastructure in neighbourhoods, and the value extracted from communities through our broken investment models. It’s an ongoing journey of discovery, emergence and learning together. Immy is a Co-Founder and Director of CIVIC SQUARE.
CIVIC SQUARE is a public square, neighbourhood lab, and creative + participatory platform focused on regenerative civic and social infrastructure within neighbourhoods. She is also an active member of Project 00. Immy is part of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab Advisory Team, a Birmingham Hippodrome Trustee, a Birmingham Open Media (BOM) Board Member and an Inclusive Economy Partnership Board Champion. For her services to the city of Birmingham, Aston University’s School of Life & Heath Sciences granted Immy an Honorary Doctorate in 2019. And in 2020, Immy was awarded a prestigious Ashoka Fellowship.
Islam is a musician, cultural curator and advocate for social and political change through culture. Islam acts as the community engagement lead at i4Policy. She has led and worked on several projects that have set the momentum for the entrepreneurial and cultural industry in Sudan and beyond. Islam has experiences that range from co-founding the first Sudanese entrepreneurship and innovation network to facilitating the development of informal music education in Africa through the Global Music Association. She is a Co-Founder of the Sudanese Innovative Music Association. Islam has recently been listed as one of Africa’s most influential young people. Her work has been featured on NPR, Yamaha, CNN, Public Radio International, The Mosiac Rooms, Voice of America, 500 Words Magazine, Wiki Loves Women, People Power Planet and Action Music Women.
Janet is Co-Artistic Director of Talking Birds, whose 30 year practice explores the complex relationships between people and place. With an emphasis on care, stewardship, social and ecological responsibility, Talking Birds are the custodians of The Nest: a shared creation space exploring, supporting and promoting inclusive and regenerative practice. The company is well known for its site-specific Theatre of Place; its interactive works for festivals (such as The Whale and The Q); its pioneering mobile captioning tool, the Difference Engine; and for holding (possibly) the UK’s first cultural Citizens’ Assembly exploring arts, culture and creativity’s role in shaping a better future.
Jessica is a Creative Climate Leader who participated in Julie’s Bicycle’s Creative Climate Leadership programme in 2017.
She is passionate about ecology and committed to developing creative communication methods to address climate change and inspire more mindful living. Jess holds an MA in International Performance Research from the University of Warwick and University of Amsterdam, and a BA in Contemporary Dance from the London Contemporary Dance School. Her work with community and sustainability began in 2015 in Istanbul, where, as an activist and artist, she established the Museum of Garbage with FLYING roots. She then co-founded Circuit Istanbul and later, in 2018, Nadas Istanbul. Both organisations focus on establishing community spaces that foster nature connection through creative programming. In March 2022, she moved to the UK to pursue further training in nature connection and nature education, and is currently participating in Call of the Wild 2022.
Lou is a creative communicator who uses illustration, design and words to extend open invitations, establish and maintain strong bonds, and socialise complex, multi-dimensional ideas. After studying Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth, Lou returned to the West Midlands to work as part of Midlands Arts Centre’s Cannon Hill Collective, where she developed One Hundred Thousand Welcomes, a significant public exhibition which catalysed over 300,000 interactions, and also took the opportunity to beam a 20ft projection of a GIF she made of Grumpy Cat across Cannon Hill Park.
She worked as Assistant Editor of Another Escape magazine, co-founded Illustrated Brum and exhibited work internationally before joining Impact Hub Birmingham as Chief Storyteller in 2015. During her time there she also took on the role of Brand Lead for TEDxBrum Perspectives in 2017, was responsible for reviving Brum Zine Fest after a 6 year hiatus and instigated a public Brum Zine Library collection for the city. Lou is now a passionate Co-founder and Director of CIVIC SQUARE, whose stewardship predominantly shows up in the mission area and pillars of work, however she establishes and maintains creativity as a connector across many facets of CIVIC SQUARE’s ecosystem, including operational processes, storytelling and learning infrastructure, cultivating regenerative language and our evolving systems of governance.
Magid Magid is a Somali-British race and climate justice activist and author who came to the UK as a refugee aged five. He is the Founder & Director of Union of Justice, a European, independent, people of colour led organisation dedicated to racial justice and climate justice. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Yorkshire & the Humber, Mayor of his beloved city, Sheffield and was also an elected councillor representing his community. Magid was named one of TIME’s 100 rising stars shaping the future of the world.
Nathan is a human ecologist and writer who has been active in the global climate justice movement for over a decade including with the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice and more recently the COP26 Coalition and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. He is currently based in Ibagué, Colombia.
Noga Levy-Rapoport FRSA (they/she/he) is a 20 year old climate activist, organiser, and speaker.
They led coordination and organisation of the school climate strikes across the UK and internationally as well as expansive involvement with several demonstrations for climate and social justice country-wide. They have also worked on numerous campaigns pushing for education reform, youth empowerment, and a Green New Deal.
She has led and been involved with queer, feminist, and sustainability community projects including ‘Green Space of the Year’ winner Gaia’s Garden and ocean conservation campaign #SeaOurFuture with Bimini Bon Boulash, embracing the creative sectors, music, theatre, and the arts as a crucial strategy for youth and social enfranchisement through politics and protest, particularly as an aspiring opera singer. They’ve confronted corporate leaders directly at International Petroleum Week, and have spoken at, organised, and led several marches and events to demand urgent climate action, including at the International Maritime Organisation, COP26, Wembley Arena, and in Parliament.
Nonhlanhla is an educator, creative and new economics organiser. They are a co-founder of Decolonising Economics, a grassroots collective working to build a new economy movement that is rooted in racial justice principles and decolonial struggle. Their work involves investing in communities of colour who are working to build an economic democracy, enabling shared strategising, resource distribution and providing expertise.
Papa is an award winning architect, designer, writer and film maker.
Papa’s work strongly focuses on exploring the nature of culture and the context within contemporary Nigerian and the extended African condition, locally and globally. A strong believer in creating work through cross disciplinary collaboration and participation, he strives to find new possibilities for creating nuanced visual narratives in Nigeria (Africa’s) urban centres and beyond. He is the founder of A Whitespace Creative Agency and Creative Director of MOE+ Art Architecture. He currently lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
Pravali is a Climate Heritage Network Steering Committee Member and Climate Heritage Network Youth Forum Co-convenor. Working at the cross section of culture, education, and youth capacity building, Pravali co-coordinates the World Heritage Education Programme at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. She designs and implements initiatives such as volunteering campaigns, international and regional fora, training workshops, etc., and undertakes the development of educational resources and tools contributing to international cultural conventions.
Pravali is currently also implementing cross-sectoral collaboration projects towards culture and the Sustainable Development Goals, as a Global Cultural Relations Programme fellow.
Raj is a curator/historian and activist. With a long career of having worked in the cultural sector in various capacities, he is now a freelance curator/consultant and has worked on projects at the National Trust and other heritage institutions. He co-curated the Blacklash: No justice, no peace exhibition currently at Birmingham museums & art gallery and is curating the Soho House Mural Projectat Soho House, Birmingham. Using his knowledge and skills to focus on bringing about cultural change through curation so that institutions can begin to reflect diversity through their outputs, he is also curatorial advisor to Fulham Palace Trust’s ambitious project to explore the role of the Bishops of London in British colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade. Raj is a regular writer, speaker and broadcaster on cultural issues.
Rob van Wegen
Rob is a sustainability coordinator working in the festival industry. As a former producer with over 15 years experience working with festivals, Rob has now shifted completely to working in sustainability and has a very practical approach.
He has been working at Innofest for 5 years, testing sustainable innovations at festivals, and has worked as the sustainability coordinator for ESNS festival for the last three years. ESNS is part of the Green Deal Circular Festivals. In the last year he created a canvas to help festivals put their sustainable ambitions into a plan and create a roadmap for their future.
Prof. Saleemul Huq is the Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Professor at the Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) as well as Associate of the International Institute on Environment and Development (IIED) in the United Kingdom. In addition he is the Chair of the Expert Advisory Group for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and also Senior Adviser on Locally Led Adaptation with Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) headquartered in the Netherlands.
He is an expert in adaptation to climate change in the most Vulnerable developing countries and has been a lead author of the third, fourth and fifth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and he also advises the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In addition he is affiliated with the UN Food System Summit for 2021 as co-chair of the Action Track 5 on Building Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks & Stress. He has published hundreds of scientific as well as popular articles and was recognised as one of the top twenty global influencers on climate change policy in 2019 and top scientist from Bangladesh on climate change science.
Sarah is an award-winning activist, author and professional campaigner. Born 1983 into an activist family in Everton (the fourth most deprived ward in the UK), she is a professional campaigner – most recently with Oxfam GB, and an Ashoka Fellow. Corbett founded the Craftivist Collective in 2009 after demand from around the world for people to join in her craftivism (craft + activism) projects. Corbett focuses on engaging non-activists and influential target audiences globally to deliver what she coined ‘Gentle Protest’ tactics. Her quiet yet pioneering work has directly helped change hearts, minds, policies and laws around the world. Corbett works with national charities such as The Climate Coalition, creates bespoke events for museums and and galleries such as Tate and V&A as well as collaborates with unusual allies such as Secret Cinema to reach new and nervous audiences to activism.
WWF used Corbett’s 10-point manifesto to create their own successful craftivism campaign that directly led to a change in law to protect migrating birds. Corbett co-created the new Girlguiding Craftivism badge (2018), has exhibited in Stockholm (2015), Helsinki Design Week (2016) and currently with Designmuseum Denmark until June 2023. Sarah was included in the Crafts Council 2018 ‘Power List’ and her TEDx speech ‘Activism Needs Activists’ was chosen as a TED Talk Of The Day with over a 1.2million views so far. Corbett’s book ‘How To Be A Craftivist: the art of gentle protest’ is now available in paperback and she is currently writing the ‘Craftivist Collective Handbook’ coffee table hardback book. For her services in design activism and public engagement Goldsmiths, University of London granted Corbett an Honorary Fellowship in 2022.
Taiwo is a theatre-maker, scholar, theatre manager and entrepreneur. His interest is in amplifying voices and experiences; and re-centering governance models, strategies and systems on the margin through the lens of decolonisation, equity and anti-oppressive approaches. His experience in over a dozen countries across four continents in a variety of contexts focused on socially engaged and community-based creative practice for transformational change. Through storytelling and devised theatre, he works with communities on social issues pertinent to them and his research continues to advance broad-minded thinking within the art and culture sector.
He is the Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Theatre and serves as the Director of the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre (C-SET) at the University of Regina. He is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa and the founding director of Theatre Emissary International (TEMi) in Nigeria and Canada.
Thimali Kodikara is creative impact producer and co-host of the groundbreaking podcast, Mothers Of Invention on feminist solutions to the climate crisis, focusing on the work of BIPOC women and girls around the world. Alongside her co-hosts —former Irish president Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins —Thimali has interviewed state leaders to grassroots organisers on their innovations to avert climate catastrophe at its frontlines.
As showrunner, Thimali has researched, developed and overseen the show’s unique editorial strategy. And as its impact producer, she has evolved the project into a reputable source for stakeholders to connect with and platform feminist climate leaders around the world.
Thimali is the founder of multi-disciplinary creative agency, OneLoudBellow, and prior was a senior field producer for Getty Images New York. Thimali is a graduate of both Wimbledon School of Art & Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, and has lived in Brooklyn, New York for 18 years.
Zahra is Chief Exec and Design Director at Huddlecraft CIC. Huddlecraft aim to accelerate collective learning
towards a regenerative civilisation, specialising in peer-to-peer learning, support and action. Zahra is fascinated by the power of ‘Huddles’: small, purposeful peer groups that pool their resources to unearth more oft heir potential, together. She works to bring this approach together with causes including climate finance, consciousness raising and local economic change, and believes peer-to-peer learning has a huge role to play in accelerating the collective learning that will underpin the societal transitions we so desperately need. Zahra is also Strategic Director for Money Movers, a peer support network for women moving their money for the planet.
Cecilia Vicuña sadly now can’t be part of this event due to unforeseen circumstances but we look forward to working with her again in the future.