Head of Data Infrastructure at Government Digital Service
Ade Adewunmi is a problem solver, working at the intersection of data, product delivery and strategy. She is the Head of Data Infrastructure at Government Digital Service and has worked in technology for most of her career in both public and private sector roles. She's fascinated by the relationship between technology and culture formation, whether that is within organisations or broader society, so when she can, she writes about it.
In 2015 she delivered a talk about how ‘The Strategy is Delivery’; which discussed team culture that is focused around digital delivery; at The Code for America Summit - an annual 3-day conference bringing together civic technology leaders, community organisers, and government staff and officials who are working to develop the tools and practices of 21st century government.
Founder of Maia Creatives
Amahra Spence is a Birmingham-based artist, playwright, curator and creative producer. With over 12 years of experience in the creative industries; and a stint in corporate event management in between; she is passionate about sustainability, particularly for marginalised identities. In 2013, Amahra set up MAIA, a non-profit exploring how artists live, work and contribute in society through artist-led interventions.
The group's most recent project is an artist-led hotel, project space and community hub, that will serve as a training and development ground for artists and young people.In collaboration with Tobi Kyeremateng of BAMWorks, a nationwide resource-sharing network for BAME producers, MAIA recently hosted a meet-up at Impact Hub Birmingham for Creative Producers of Colour; to learn, exchange ideas and piece together solutions with a regional focus.
@amahra_ | @MAIACreatives
Amina Jama is a 20 year old Somali-British writer and is Roundhouse / BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Words First London finalist. Amina was raised in Bow, East London and is a member of WOC poetry collective Octavia and is a Barbican Young Poets alumni.
Amina revisits themes relating to displacement, negotiation of dual cultural, identity and family. She wants to make her audience challenge what they think they know about poetry and make them fall in love with words just as she has. It has been said that her work is brave and humble with a warm intimacy both on stage and on the page.
She is a co-host of Boxpark Shoreditch’s spoken word night: BoxedIN. Her work has been published in a Saqi Books anthology, The Things I Would Tell You, and a Otter-Barry Books anthology, Rising Stars. She has also been commissioned by the likes of the BBC and the Queen's Gallery.
Co - Founder Impact Hub Birmingham
Andy Reeve is Co-founder and Director of Urban Economics at Impact Hub Birmingham and is a relative newcomer to the world of social enterprise. After stints working for an advertising agency and then the West Midlands Police, Andy is now focused on using his skills in data and geospatial analysis to address some of the bigger challenges Birmingham faces.
With a specific focus on Housing and the built environment, he is currently exploring the ways in which new building technologies, new data sources and new forms of organising can have a direct impact on the housing crisis. In partnership with Geovation, Ordnance Survey, Land Registry and Birmingham City Council, Andy is leading on the DemoDev project which is exploring how to unlock underused land and turn it into open designed, sustainable, adaptable homes.
Bear are Wolverhampton vocalist Faye Smith, accompanied by French multi-instrumentalist Gordon Begard. Together they create a sound that is soulful, powerful and wise. An exciting blend of acoustic, hip hop, and soul, Bear combine fresh original compositions with surprising takes on some of their most cherished influences, making these songs undeniably their own. Begard provides a perfectly gaged backdrop of guitar and beats for Smith’s unique voice, which belongs amongst the likes of Selah Sue, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Florence Welch, and Lauryn Hill.
For Bear, music is about connecting with people, and their live performances are all about sharing the passion for what they do with songs driving home the message of inspiration, empowerment, and self-determination. Meeting in Toulouse, France, Bear have travelled and played together for just over 3 years, they now call Birmingham their home and are proud to be actively involved in the creative scene in the city.
Bohdan Piasecki is a poet from Poland based in Birmingham. A committed performer, he has taken his poems to venues ranging from the upstairs room in an Eastbourne pub to the main stage of The Birmingham Rep, from an underground Tokyo club to a tramway in Paris, from a bookshop in Beijing to an airfield in Germany, from niche podcasts to BBC Radio 3 and 4. In the UK, he regularly features at the country’s most exciting spoken word nights, festivals, and readings. He enjoys the creative chaos of big field festivals just as much as the composed concentration of literary events.
Bohdan founded the first poetry slam in Poland before moving to the UK to get a doctorate in translation studies. He is the Lead Tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective in London and Bellows Poetry Collective in Birmingham. Bohdan worked as Director of Education on the Spoken Word in Education MA course at Goldsmiths University.
Dr. Carol Coombes O.B.E is a globally recognised figure in strengths-based Leadership Talent-Spotting and Development, working with teams and individuals to identify their strengths, and positively exploit them. She’s coached a number of leaders obtaining ‘firsts’, including the first women to be nominated to their PLC Boards of Directors, business award winners, and music and sports professionals, amongst others. Awarded in November 2009 what is held to be the first (and still the only) OBE in history that cites Services to Leadership, along with her Charitable work , Carol is recognised as having supported companies to recognise their Social, Economic and Environmental impact, and managing ways to increase and optimise those impacts. She sits on a number of awards panels across the world, as a Director on BHSF Ltd, TAWS Ltd, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). Awarded a Doctorate from BCU for outstanding contribution to Business, Carol also regularly keynotes at events on a number of subjects including Leadership, Managing Change, Taking People with You, Corporate Sustainability, and Social Enterprise, all from a strengths-based perspective. The only non-white woman to appear in the first ever West Midlands Power 50 list, Carol has influence and an invaluable network globally across all sectors. She uses this to urge and facilitate joined up thinking, helping people to find new solutions to old (and new) challenges. During her career Carol has taken on a number of roles recognised as highly challenging, including: CEO of one of the largest Advice agencies in the world, managing the heavily-resisted turnaround from Charity to sustainable Social Enterprise; Regional Senior Programme Director for a global charitable trust, and Director of Social Enterprise for enterprises delivering services across the UK. As an ‘original’ punk rocker in 1976/7, Carol has always believed that systems should meet the needs of the people within an equal society, rather than the needs of the people being forced to fit within a system. Her many successful campaigns for equity and fairness endorse this. As a Proud Brummie, she’s even more insistent that good practice begins at home, and works with a number of charities in the City, often around youth and homelessness. In her free time she’s developing a number of initiatives that aim to help us manage death better, as a society, as well as she, her partner and their families playing their parts in stemming the growth of fascism in the UK and further afield. Carol’s most exciting role to date is that of adoring/stalking mother and grandmother to 4 amazing children and 5 even more amazing grandchildren, all shaped by the example set by Carol’s strong and inspiring single Mother.
Catherine Allen is widely regarded as a VR pioneer and thought leader, having led the creation of two of the BBC's first VR experiences and providing her expert op-eds, comment and analysis to outlets including Wired magazine, The Guardian, Gizmodo, Tech Radar and Tech Crunch.
She is part of the BAFTA VR advisory team, sitting on the education committee, and has judged VR for both Sheffield Doc Fest and Raindance film festivals. Catherine produced the BBC’s first VR documentary, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, which has toured festivals globally, showed for six weeks at the National Theatre in London and was described by Broadcast Magazine as 'genre-defining'.
Before VR, Catherine worked at acclaimed educational app publisher, Touch Press; winning a BAFTA on the Disney Animated app with Disney Interactive.
Civic Innovator / Researcher
Clare Devaney is the Founder and Director of Citizen-i-Ltd - a platform for citizen-led innovation, impact and participatory research based in Manchester. Clare is also a Research Associate and Marie Curie H2020 PhD Scholar with MAPS-LED International Research Partnership, based at the University of Salford. The partnership brings together colleagues from the UK, US, Italy and Finland in a collaborative exploration of innovation ecosystems, with a focus on place-based innovation, sustainability, social impact and new methods of evaluation in these areas. Clare’s research explores the role of cultural heritage in catalysing and embedding civic innovation and recently completed a six-month secondment in the Boston, USA.
As a Research Fellow and Associate of the RSA, Clare is leading and contributing to its portfolio of research and strategic development projects in the North of England.
Daniel is Director of Science Gallery London. He is a neuroscientist by training and joins King’s from Wellcome Trust where he headed up their engaging science work. Daniel Glaser was the world's first scientist in residence at an arts institution at the ICA in 2002 and was the first scientist to judge the Man Booker prize in 2014. He also writes a weekly column in the Observer Magazine.
DANS Chinese dance and performing arts is a dynamic team of professional Chinese dancers and artists bringing the very best in performance, events and education workshops.Over the last 14 years they have delivered unique workshops and events, with clients including HSBC, BBC, British Council, Chinese Embassy, London Chinatown, Sheffield city council, Nottingham city council, to hundreds of schools across the UK. They have been invited to perform as venues such as Kensington Palace, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Sheffield City Hall and Nottingham Royal Concert Hall. They perform all types of Chinese dances including the Peacock, Mongolia and Tibetan dance, alongside Chinese folk song singing, Beijing Opera and Kongfu.
Dapz (aka DAPZ ON THE MAP) is part of the next generation of great urban grime mc/singers. Born in Birmingham, he grew up with Caribbean influences, from Sean Paul & Red Rat to the new sounds of underground grime and rap, THE MOVEMENT & BBK. He combines it all into his own neo-soulful sound, which he developed in a Wolverhampton studio with the guidance from friend and producer DJ Apostle.
His excellent sound is truly unique, with many members from the Birmingham elite group of MCs such as Invasion, Stayfresh & Lady Leshurr, to being co signed by major UK artists such as Professor Green, Shola Ama, BBK & Ghetts. Dapz OTM songs touch on various issues, both personal and political. He talks of the struggles aspiring artists go through, trying to be a father and a musician. Soft-spoken yet intense in his passion for words and music.
Professor of Politics and Development
David Hudson is Professor of Politics and Development at the University of Birmingham. His research examines how people in rich countries engage with ‘distant others’ and global development issues more generally, as part of the Gates Foundation's Aid Attitudes Tracker. He also works on the politics of development, in particular on the role of coalitions, leadership and power in reform processes and how development actors can think and work politically; the drivers of global migration, finance and trade and how these processes shape national development. He has held grants from the ESRC, British Academy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Leverhulme Trust. David's work has been published in the Review of International Studies, Political Studies, Journal of International Development, and Conflict Management and Peace Science as well as the book Global Finance and Development.
Spoken Soul Poetry Music Project
The Dylema Collective is a one year old spoken-soul poetry-music project that loves and infectiously blends all things neo-soul, contemporary jazz and floaty R&B. Thematically, Dylema's poetry addresses matters of race, gender and individuality; values reiterated by the acronym hidden in her name: “Do You, Let Every Man Adapt”.
After curating a sold-out December 2016 show in London, the collective's year so far has been full of adventure: headlining at London’s Rich Mix, and joining award-winning jazz artists Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia and Moses Boyd at The Jazz Café. This summer brings the band’s first music festival performances, including a visit to Wonder Fields, independent dreamland Brainchild Arts Festival and multi-award-winning Shambala Festival.
UX and Service Designer
Florence Okoye is a UX and service designer interested in the application of design thinking to complex engineering systems. She is founder of Afrofutures_UK, an interdisciplinary collective dedicated to exploring how technology both shapes and reimagines the black experience. They regularly host workshops in comic creation and coding (from Arduino to web development) and engage academics through an annual conference which Florence has curated since 2015. Inspired by afrofuturist writers and thinkers such as Octavia Butler, Kodwo Eshun and Reynaldo Anderson, Afrofutures_UK is especially interested in using creative technology to reveal untold histories of the black community to develop a more intersectional future.
Okoye is a Birmingham Open Media (BOM) Fellow, and also a facilitator with community engagement projects via Spaghetti Jams which aims to spread awareness about design thinking both as a methodology for self-empowerment and addressing local issues.
Sex and Relationship Educator
Gillian Leno is a specialist sex and relationships educator, writer, advocate and researcher. She is privileged to work with teenagers and young adults who have a wide range of complex learning and physical disabilities, sensory impairment, and autism spectrum conditions. She’s especially interested in teaching about pleasure, intimacy and communication; meaningful and inclusive sex and relationships education helps support equality and autonomy, as well as consent, compassion and self-esteem. Her aim is to ensure that everyone has access to evidence based information about sex, relationships and consent, in a way that makes sense to them.
When she’s not teaching students, she works on creating resources and delivery methods that support understanding and build capacity, and trains other professionals to collaborate in and develop this work. Gillian is based at Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham, where she is PSHE Lead.
Glenn Howells has built a strong reputation for designing innovative buildings and master planning. He has led Glenn Howells Architects (GHA) for the last 27 years to win numerous major design competitions and over 120 awards. Glenn has led some of Britain’s most complex and ambitious regeneration projects and has been particularly influential in shaping Birmingham over the last 20 years. GHA have been involved in guiding Birmingham’s Big City Plan but also the major regeneration projects within it including Paradise, Brindley Place, Eastside / HS2 and most recently the Westside of the City. Outside GHA, Glenn is involved in a number of cultural and education organisations he currently chairs the board of the Ikon Gallery and MADE (the West Midlands Architecture Centre). He also sits on the governing boards of Birmingham City University and Birmingham Hippodrome. Glenn continues to work closely with the RIBA and CABE where he was a member of the 2012 Olympic design review committee.
Gurminder K Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies at the University of Sussex. Previously, she was Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick and Guest Professor of Sociology and History at Concurrences Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Linnaeus University, Sweden.
She is author of Connected Sociologies (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014) and Rethinking Modernity (Palgrave, 2007), which won the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for best first book in 2008. She curates the Global Social Theory website and is co-editor of the free online magazine, Discover Society.
Her current research addresses colonial and postcolonial legacies within Europe and how the project of the European Union, and exit from it alike, are shaped by those legacies.
www.gkbhambra.net | globalsocialtheory.org | discoversociety.org
@gkbhambra | @globalsoctheory | @DiscoverSoc
Founded by Artistic Director Becca Thomas, Here We Are is a brand new project for community settings, exploring the theme of 'change' through improvised contemporary dance.
Funded by Arts Council England and the DX Choreography Award, the work is at the early stages of the devising process. During a short R and D at DanceXchange this summer, Becca collaborated with theatre practitioner Louise Platt and dancer Dario Longombardo. Together they have been exploring 'Playback Dance'. Inspired by the tradition of Playback Theatre, a member of the audience tells Louise a personal story and then Dario and Becca dance it back, straight away. No conversation, no planning, the team simply make a commitment to being here, in this moment, together.
Jamaal Burkmar is a graduate of the Northern School for Contemporary Dance in Leeds. In 2005 he joined the ACE Dance and Music Youth company. Jamaal’s first creation as a student ‘Ocean’ was commissioned for VERVE, the postgraduate company at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Since graduating Ocean has been reworked three times on different groups and performed at several highly prestigious events.
During this period Jamaal was also successful in gaining his first Grants for the Arts Award for the creation of a short work called ‘Sonder’. It was during the summer of the same year that Jamaal applied and won the highly prestigious New Adventures Choreography Award. More recently Jamaal has completed his first large scale site specific work as a choreographer for Theatre Rites and the Manchester International Festival.
Entrepreneur and Author
Kathryn Lennon Johnson is an Entrepreneur, Author, Business Speaker and Consultant with over 18 years of experience in behaviour change marketing and communications, having honed her skills in healthcare and social housing.
The built environment matters; it has consequences. It is so intrinsically linked to health and socio-economic issues that Kathryn recognised the opportunity to address the construction skills shortage while connecting a disjointed sector; with the intention of attracting the next generation into construction to create places and spaces that benefit us all. She is a Founder of Built Environment Skills in Schools, Founder of Hackbuild Tech Disrupters, Co-creator of CommunityBIM, and Managing Director of leading marketing and communications consultancy Tangerine Trees. Kathryn is also author of Selling for Entrepreneurs (Pearson Prentice Hall 2009); her next book is due for publication in 2017.
Kavita Bhanot’s fiction, non-fiction, reviews have been published and broadcast widely (including Media Diversified, The Independent, BBC Radio 4.) She is editor of the anthology Too Asian, Not Asian Enough (Tindal Street Press 2011), the forthcoming Book of Birmingham (Comma Press, 2018) and co-editor of the first Bare Lit anthology (Brain Mill Press, 2017). She has a PhD from Manchester University, is a reader and mentor with The Literary Consultancy and is currently Honorary Creative Writing Fellow at Leicester University.
Cancer and Genomic Studies Researcher
Leah Fitzsimmons is an Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Birmingham. Her aim is to better understand how a common and usually harmless virus called Epstein-Barr virus (or EBV for short), contributes to cancer. Her particular focus is trying to work out how EBV can help cancer cells to cheat death. The overall aim of her work is to design methods to block the interactions between EBV and cellular survival machinery in order to kill cancer cells. Leah is passionate about science communication and public engagement and believes that science should be for everyone and regularly gives talks to researchers and the public about the importance of science and evidence in public life.
Lisa Bortolotti was born in Italy and studied philosophy in Bologna, London, Oxford, and Canberra before starting her academic career as Honorary Lecturer in Bioethics in the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy at the University of Manchester and Research Associate on the EC-funded EU-RECA (on the concept of research and the ethical regulation of research activities). Lisa is now Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham specialising in philosophy of psychology and psychiatry.
She is particularly interested in the strengths and limitations of the human mind, and has written extensively about delusions, inconsistent beliefs, memory distortions, confabulation, and failures of self-knowledge.
Singer / Songwriter
Nigeria born, Birmingham raised singer-songwriter Lumi HD is a modern soul musician. She has played international festivals including Latitude (BBC Introducing stage), Øya Festivalen Oslo and Molde Jazz Festival in Norway, as well as closer to home including Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul, Sofar Birmingham and Herstory LIVE.
LUMI equally values the sonic journey in performance as much as in songwriting. Solo (with piano & guitar) and collaborative writing is her passion, defining elements being lyrics, hook and bass. Lumi has supported artists like JP Cooper, Jake Isaac and Alice Cooper, and draws inspiration from Erykah Badu and D'Angelo.
Dr Matt Pritchard is a science magician and Curator of Wonder. He is also passionate about simplifying the complex, sparking new questions and salted caramel cookies.
As an independent science communicator he performs to 100+ schools a year and works with organisations like The Royal Institution, The Big Bang Fairs, and the Science Museum Group. He is currently researching the use of mystery and wonder in the classroom. Previously Matt studied Atomic Physics at Durham University using high powered lasers; where he won the Institute of Physics' Postgraduate Lecturer award. He subsequently went on to work within the Education Department at Thinktank Science Museum, Birmingham. In addition, he has spent the last 18 years working as a professional magician and is an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle - one of only 300 people in the world to hold this distinction.
Consultant Paediatric Urologist
Oliver Sanchez is a Paediatric Urologist from Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland. Initially trained as a Paediatric surgeon in Geneva, he further sub-specialised in Paediatric Urology at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Returning from his fellowship, he started the Laparoscopic Urology service for the University Center of Pediatric Surgery of Western Switzerland. He then returned as a consultant in Birmingham’s Children Hospital and Great Ormond’s Street Hospital in 2016.
Sanchez has a special interest in medical education, and communication with patients, their families, junior doctors and all co-workers. He teaches paediatric surgery, urology and children resuscitation, but also basic medical education to medical students. He is a faculty member in various national and international paediatric minimally invasive surgery courses and workshops.
Rachel Coldicutt is CEO of Doteveryone, a UK think tank working to make the Internet, and digital society, a fairer place. She has spent the last 20 years turning emerging technology into products and services, and helped many organisations adapt to the digital world. She has worked as the Head of Digital Media at the Royal Opera House, Project Manager of a large-scale storytelling project at the V&A, Interactive Editor at Endemol, Teens Editor at the BBC, as well as working for Microsoft and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and as a consultant with large service organisations in finance, energy, healthcare and the third sector. She is also the founder of Culture Hack Day, co-founder of arts innovation agency Caper and a trustee of the Fawcett Society.
@RachelColdicutt | @doteveryoneuk
Senior Lecturer of Psychology
Dr Robert Nash is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Aston University. Born and bred in the West Midlands, he completed his PhD at the University of Warwick in 2009, and then held positions in Lancashire and Surrey before returning to Birmingham in 2015.
Much of Robert’s research explores how people reconstruct the past in memory. In particular, he studies the reasons why people sometimes remember past events differently from how they really occurred, or come to believe things about their experiences that are false. He is particularly interested in applications of memory psychology to the legal system, exploring social psychological techniques that support memory elicitation; such as gathering valuable information without leading an eyewitness to speculate or confabulate.
Sunny Sangha is a community organiser who seeks to bring people together from all walks of life, to help create a more open and fair society. A society ruled by love, rather than fear.
The grandson of Sikh immigrants from India who came to England in the 1950s to work in factories and foundries, Sunny was raised in Birmingham, receiving an academic scholarship to attend King Edward's School in Edgbaston, before going on to study Anthropology at King’s College, Cambridge. After graduating from Cambridge, he founded the World Forum for Institutional Experimentation and embarked on a journey around the world, visiting ‘utopian’ projects in over 13 different countries. During this period, he also organised innovative educational workshops for hundreds of high school students in Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and India.
Horizontal is an ongoing piece of artistic research lead by artist Suriya Aisha. Horizontal investigates the relationship between invisible disabilities, capitalism and all the awkward bits in between. The project was inspired by Suriya's own experience of living with rare brain condition Chiari Malformation Type 1. THE HORIZONTALS are a group of women and non-binary people who live with invisible health conditions and seek to raise awareness through open conversations, artistic experiments and most importantly sharing pots of hummus.
Travis Alabanza is a London-based performance artist, writer and general sh*t talker that uses poetry, words, soundscapes and performance to scream about their survival as a black, trans, gender non conforming person in the UK.
In the last three years Alabanza has cemented themselves as one of the most prominent emerging queer voices in the arts and further afield, with 2016/17 being a year they became artist in residence at Tate, performing in venues such as the V&A, RVT, Hamburg International Feminist Festival, selling out the opening of their new show 'BURGERZ', starring in Scottee's five star (Guardian) roundhouse production Putting words in Your Mouth and completing a successful US college tour.
Alabanza also released a successful debut book 'Before I step Outside [You love me]', and has had their work been noted by Dazed, ID, MOBO, Apple and Snakes, Black Girl Dangerous and The Independent.
Zia Ahmed is from North-West London. He is a London Laureate, having been shortlisted to be the Young Poet Laureate for London 2015/16. He is a former Roundhouse Slam champion and has appeared at numerous poetry events, including Tongue Fu, Elephant in the Hub and Bang Said The Gun. He was Climate poet in residence for Cape Farewell for 2014/2015 and is a member of the Elephant Collective, a group of writers, poets, rappers, visual artists, producers and storytellers. Zia was also commissioned by Paines Plough and Tamasha theatre company to write a short play for the national Come to Where I’m From project. Throughout 2017, he is in residence at Paines Plough as a recipient of the Channel 4 Playwrights scheme.