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Strengthening BAME Inclusion in the Arts for Health & Wellbeing Roundtable

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Decolonising Art for Mental Wellbeing

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Decolonising Art for Mental Wellbeing

Britain’s imperial history has left us with traumatic legacies which the current pandemic has only served to amplify. As artists, it is important that we acknowledge, reflect on and respond to these legacies in a way which encourages wider society to engage with the issues and construct effective healing paradigms. Art’s usefulness lies in its ability to facilitate visceral connections to facts, concepts and ideas; connections that stretch beyond the domain of the intellectual and into the realms of the sensual and emotional.

With this roundtable, we want to explore how and why the arts might be used as a vector for national healing. A vehicle for encouraging health and wellbeing through awareness and understanding. The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed myriad deeper issues that require urgent attention. We at Strengthening BAME Inclusion in the Arts for Health & Wellbeing ask what are our responsibilities as artists, and as citizens in addressing these?

Join us on Wednesday 14th April 2 - 4pm with our Convenor and Chair Connie Bell of Decolonising The Archive (DTA) to explore these questions. Connie Bell is a Consultant and expert in the field of Decolonial Methodologies and has invited other experts in the field to guide us through these questions.Together, we want to better understand how the potentials for equity building, accountability and inclusion inherent in creative practice can equip us to tackle the persistent issues chipping away at our collective mental health.

Our exploration will be supported by experts in the field:

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 much successful music, fashion, television, design, visual and performing arts projects for several influential organisations in Africa, America and Europe. She is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2017-2021) and a Creative Producer at Counterpoint Arts on the Pop Culture and Social Change programme. In July 2018, she launched Pan African Creative Exchange (PACE) in partnership with the Free State Arts Festival in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Between 2008 and 2012, Nike led the Arts Council England’s Decibel Programme.

Erwin Mass

Erwin Maas is a New York based theatermaker, curator, educator and international arts advocate from the Netherlands. He has worked extensively in Australia, Europe, South Africa, South Korea and the USA. In New York, he directed numerous productions Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway as well as Site Specific. More so than touring fully made productions, he is especially passionate about developing new or existing works with local artists and/or communities and has done so on all continents outside of Antarctica. His directing work ranges from plays by contemporary playwrights to devised, interdisciplinary immersive projects, opera, music theater & dance with performances for all ages. Maas is the Co-Founding Director of the Pan-African Creative Exchange (PACE), Artistic Associate & Director of the Fellowship Program for the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), and the Programming Director for the Off Broadway Origin Theatre Company. He is a frequently invited director, facilitator, educator, sparring partner and speaker for international cultural organizations, festivals, universities, congresses and think tanks. From 2015 to 2019, Maas was the Artistic/Creative Director of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA), and from 2010 to 2014, he was the Director of Performing Arts for the Cultural Department of the Royal Netherlands Embassy & Consulates in the USA. He currently teaches as Adjunct Professor at CUNY Brooklyn College's MFA Performance & Interactive Media Arts Program (PIMA).

Ndidi Spencer

Ndidi John is an author, scriptwriter, actor, musician, spoken word artist and wellbeing practitioner; a combination of skills that enable her to take a holistic approach to creative activism. A seasoned storyteller, her exceptional communication skills resonate through her therapeutic stories which demonstrate her understanding of the metaphysics of life. Her commitment to providing a better future for all has been the driving force for Academy Plus, which provides creative courses for young people, aspiring creatives and professionals who are keen to acquire new skills whilst developing their personal and professional wellbeing.

Ndidi strives to influence the human condition by nurturing individual wellbeing, helping to create harmony and balance in the community and in turn improving society. A local approach to developing and achieving universal human potential.

Clancy Williams

Clancy Williams, Director of Angel-without-Wings, is a highly sought after qualified Drama Psychotherapist with an adaptable style of thought leadership. Recognised as a highly skilled individual in her field, she works locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Clancy is passionate about social justice, women and children's rights and the effects of trauma on the psyche of individuals, families and amongst generations. She works independently and collectively to create holistic training packages which eventually leads to paradigm shifts in thinking, feeling, behaviours, and ultimately healing.

Supporting people to participate

We recognise it can sometimes be hard to attend events if you’re self employed or work part time, if you are a volunteer for a project or are the only person working in a community organisation, so we are offering a limited amount of financial support to ensure everyone who wants to attend is able to. For this event we can offer a £50 bursary to five participants. Unfortunately funds are limited so we can’t support everyone, and will be allocating on a first come basis once the criteria is met. Once you have booked your place to attend this roundtable, you will receive an email with a link to a form to complete to apply for one of the bursary places, on review we will be in touch with those who have been successful in receiving the financial support.

This is the second of three roundtables in this series, for more information on the other two and this project please see here:


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