OPENx winner, medical student and chicken shop enthusiast
Akashi spent a lot of her teenage years with friends at her local chicken shops which act as social hubs for the city’s most disadvantaged. She believes they are delivering where essential public services have failed - but her medical studies have brought to light the reality of the health epidemic her generation will face as a consequence. Born and raised in Tower Hamlets, she is now training to be a doctor.
OPENx winner, youth justice activist and rock climber
Alex is an associate lecturer in psychology at the University of East London and has been working with young offenders from Hackney and Islington in his role as a Community Panel Member on their youth offending team. Alex engages with convicted offenders to help them action their community-based sentences. His objective is to help young offenders repair the harm caused by crime. In his capacity as a lecturer, he has conducted research on adolescent risk behaviour and its link to antisocial tendencies. In his spare time, Alex likes to rock climb, read and travel.
Social anthropologist, youth mentor and youth leadership advocate
With an academic background of social anthropology, Andy is passionate about equipping his mentees with the cultural intelligence to lead and to thrive in an increasingly global world. Andy’s volunteer work in Peru and, closer to home, as a mentor in his local London borough, has had a tremendous impact on multiple individuals. But it’s his work with Common Purpose that has had the biggest impact: here Andy aims to develop a cohort leaders who can cross boundaries. Andy’s work with universities globally has seen more than 7,000 young people from all over the world graduate from their leadership programmes.
Dr Eugenia Cheng
Mathematician, concert pianist and scientist in residence
She is Scientist In Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and won tenure at the University of Sheffield, UK, where she is now Honorary Fellow. She has a PhD in pure mathematics from the University of Cambridge. Alongside her research in Category Theory and undergraduate teaching her aim is to rid the world of ‘maths phobia’. Eugenia was an early pioneer of mathematics on YouTube and her videos have been viewed over 10 million times. Her first popular maths book, How to Bake Pi, was featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Beyond Infinity was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2017. Her latest book, The Art of Logic, was published in July 2018.
Dr Julia Shaw
Psychological scientist, science author and co-founder of Spot
As a psychological scientist and popular science author, Julia has spent over a decade researching police interviewing and emotional memories. When the #MeToo movement took shape she realised that there is tremendous potential for work at the intersection of harassment, memory science and technology. She co-founded Spot, a startup that uses memory science and artificial intelligence to revolutionise the reporting of workplace harassment.
Performance poet, storyteller and musician
Emmanuel has appeared on Channel 4, Huffington Post, GRM Daily, Sofar Sounds, and, more recently, collaborating with New Look for their Christmas and Spring/Summer advertising campaigns. Striving to “influence and tell the stories of a generation”, he has transitioned over the past two years from studying full-time at university to working full-time as a musician and spoken word artist. In May 2018, Emmanuel launched the first official single from his upcoming album The Composer, titled ‘Who Told You?’ (feat. rapper TE dness).
Champion beatboxer, artist, actress and dog lover
She has been listed as one of Elle magazine’s ‘100 Most Inspiring Women’. Grace released her debut EP Savage Grace in 2017, grabbing tastemaker acclaim from The 405, Wonderland and Clash Magazine. She has since been nominated for ‘Best Female Solo Act’ and ‘Best Songwriter’ at the Unsigned Music Awards 2018 and competed in the Isle of Wight ‘New Blood’ Quarter-Finals. As an actor, Grace performed in Blind, a one-woman, semi-autobiographical, beatboxing show that toured the UK. It was praised at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and culminated in a two-week run at the Soho Theatre in 2016. For her role in Home at The National Theatre, she was chosen as one of the ‘Top Ten Standout Theatrical Performances’ of 2014 by The Guardian, who named it 2014’s ‘Most Startling Performance’. Grace is also a massive basketball fan and has been playing for 17 years.
OPENx winner, former bank manager and social entrepreneur
Jamala is a 24-year-old social entrepreneur and former Bank Manager at Barclays plc. She was one of the youngest ever bank managers in the country and was tasked with running her first branch at the age of 21. Growing up in Ilford (east London), Jamala grew up surrounded by gang culture and violence. Her mother died when she was 14 and she was thrown out of her father’s house. Soon after, depression and anxiety kicked in. Jamala eventually took back control and was compelled to make a change. The dramatic turnaround in her life has inspired her to create pathways and programmes for other individuals struggling with their starts in life and works with educational institutions and corporations to help break down barriers. In her spare time, she mentors young people through her two greatest passions - sport and music. Jamala writes and performs spoken word and rap.
OPENx winner, AI researcher and outdoor swimmer
Since graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Literature, Laura has been working for Oxford Insights, a consultancy that advises governments on their artificial intelligence policy. She sees technology as a human endeavour towards coherent communication, just like poetry, and is particularly interested in how these creative spheres will interact in the future. Laura spends her spare time coding, running, wild swimming and playing the harp.
LGBT and trans activist, diversity and inclusion specialist and keen amateur chef
Leng actively engages and consults within the public and private sector and has written policy and delivered keynote speeches across the globe on the topic. Leng is currently a Diversity and Inclusion Executive at the Sainsbury’s Group (including Argos and Habitat), where he leads on LGBT inclusion. In addition, he supports the wider diversity and inclusion team on disability, gender and race, religion and belief. Previously, Leng worked at Stonewall, where he was involved in the Workplace Equality Index and the trans inclusion guides launched in 2016. In 2014, he was the first openly trans contestant on BBC’s MasterChef and, for two years running in 2014 and 2015, he was listed on the Independent’s Rainbow List in the ‘Ones to Watch’ category. Leng was a runner up in the 2018 British LGBT awards Corporate Rising Star category.
London School of Bollywood
Bollywood dance team
LSB’s mission is to create a diverse, open and inclusive place for anyone wishing to express themselves through dance. In 2017, the LSB competed on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent with a groundbreaking routine on gender fluidity. The team were praised for their high energy, vibrancy and unique performances. Simon Cowell rated the team a ‘10/10’ while Amanda Holden described their performance as an ‘absolute spectacle’.
Justice4Grenfell campaigner, community activist and now grandmother to twins
Moyra was born in South Africa and came to London in the dark days of apartheid in 1979. She has lived in North Kensington for the past 30 years, teaching at a local training provider, primary school and college. She has been involved in local campaigns in the area for many years, including Westway23 and the campaign to stop the demolition of a large local estate near Grenfell Tower. She is an active member of NW London Stand Up To Racism. Moyra became involved in the Justice4Grenfell campaign after she organised a demonstration in the week following the fire in response to the anger many felt at the needless loss of life and the absence of the local authority in the days following.
Director of Runnymede and social justice advocate
Omar is the director of Runnymede Trust, the UK's leading independent race equality think tank. Omar’s ambition is to help eliminate racial disadvantage in the UK and Europe. He has written various articles and reports on political theory, British political history and race.Through his combined work at Runnymede and academic studies, he regularly speaks on topics such as multiculturalism, integration, socio-economic disadvantage and positive action and has given evidence of his findings to the United Nations, the European Parliament, Capitol Hill and academic conferences globally. Omar is also a chair of Olmec and a 2012 Clore Social Leadership Fellow.
Global health physician, social entrepreneur and Co-Founder of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda
Working for 15 years with the global health and social justice organisation Partners In Health, he partnered with governments and communities to build health systems in settings spanning from Peru to Haiti to Rwanda. He also co-founded the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) in Rwanda. Working at the intersection of health, education and technology, UGHE aspires to train the next generation of global health leaders and to become a worldwide innovation hub for healthcare delivery. Peter is currently the Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.
Professor David Rothery
Professor of Planetary Geosciences and part of the BepiColombo mission to Mercury
David is Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University, based in Milton Keynes, where he teaches about planets, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and geology in general. Although he loves the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, he has been part of the team for the mission to Mercury since 2006. Using NASA data, he is currently working with his PhD students and his European counterparts to prepare geological maps of Mercury to set the context for BepiColombo’s observations
Professor Ian Barnes
Research leader and ancient DNA specialist
Ian is a Research Leader at the Natural History Museum, where he focuses on the investigation of ancient biomolecules to resolve questions in archaeology, palaeontology and evolutionary biology. He has degrees in Archaeological Science (from Bradford) and Molecular Ecology (from York) and for the last 20 years he has been heavily involved in the development of ancient DNA. Recently, his major focus has been on the role of adaptation and migration in the human settlement of the British Isles.
Professor Martin Cowie
Professor of Cardiology, Consultant Cardiologist and travel lover
Martin is Professor of Cardiology at Imperial College London and a Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in London. He diagnoses and treats people with heart problems – with the aim of them living as long and as healthy lives as possible. He is a Non-Executive Director of the National institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which is the gateway to funding of new diagnostics, drugs and technologies in the NHS in England. He loves to talk and write about his passion for curing heart disease.
Public speaking expert, executive speaker coach and fan of historical fiction
In 2005, Simon told an emotional tale from his school days to an audience in a small London pub. Six months later, with that same speech, he won the UK & Ireland Championship of Public Speaking. Simon has since helped thousands of people from all walks of life to achieve greater impact as speakers – corporate executives, charity leaders, academics, refugees, politicians, entrepreneurs and, of course, young people in schools.
Previously, as an Associate of the charity Speakers Trust, he delivered workshops for the ‘Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge!’ for teenagers in state secondary schools across London and Essex. Simon is a former President of the London Junior Chamber of Commerce and, in 2013, was awarded the Freedom of the City of London.
Justice4Grenfell campaigner, community activist and cat lover
Tasha was born in Ladbroke Grove and has lived within the community her whole life, with a few years spent working abroad. Tasha has been campaigning since October 2017 and has brought her organisational and administrational skills from her work as a PA in the entertainment industry to the campaign. Tasha plans to use the passion and love that she has for her community to work towards justice for all those who have suffered as a result of the fire at Grenfell Tower.
William Young and Christopher Sweeney
Creator of the Homo Sapiens podcast
William Young is a pop star and actor. Christopher Sweeney is an acclaimed film-maker. They met in the summer of 2010 at the Serpentine Gallery’s annual party and a friendship, true and proper, was born. Together, they are the creators of the Homo Sapiens podcast which currently clocks in 38,000 listens a week. The UK’s Guardian and The Observer have deemed it one of their top 10 podcasts of the year for 2017.
Winnie M Li
Author, activist, Co-Founder of Clear Lines Festival and PhD researcher
A Harvard graduate, Winnie worked as a film producer in London before being raped by a stranger in 2008. This prompted a long period of recovery, followed by a change of career. Ultimately, Winnie decided to focus on addressing the issue of sexual violence through the media, the arts and academia. Her debut novel, Dark Chapter, is winner of the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2017 and will be translated into nine languages. Winnie is also Co-Founder of Clear Lines, the UK’s first-ever festival addressing sexual assault and consent through the arts and discussion. She is a PhD researcher at the London School of Economics, exploring media narratives around rape. Winnie is an avid hiker and independent traveller, having visited over 60 countries. She is fascinated by cultural forms of storytelling, particularly literature and film.
Justice4Grenfell campaigner, community activist and a real foodie
Yvette has lived in North Kensington for over 30 years. She previously worked with the Mangrove Community Association and has served tenure as a Trustee for the Tabernacle Community Centre and the Pepper Pot Club (African Caribbean Elders Centre). She is also a founding member of Operation Black Vote – a national campaign encouraging BME communities to engage in the democratic process. She has worked with a number of campaigns including those for Stephen Lawrence and Frank Critchlow. Yvette has a professional background working in education and criminal justice. Both Yvette and her daughter witnessed the fire at Grenfell Tower, after being alerted by a family friend who was evacuated from one of the walkways.