BAFA UK Symposium 2022 - LOOK BACK AT OUR PROGRAMME
Cleveland Watkiss MBE
Cleveland Watkiss MBE is an African/Caribbean British born multidisciplinary creative artist, virtuoso vocal explorer, actor, composer, and voice professor at Trinity Laban Music and Dance Conservatoire.Cleveland’s earliest music exploration was in ‘Sound System Culture’.
He is the winner of the London Jazz Awards for Best Vocalist in 2010 and was voted Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards best vocalist for three consecutive years. In 2017 at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards he received Jazz Vocalist of the Year award. He is also a nominee of the MOBO Awards in Best Jazz Act category. For his services to music, Watkiss was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours.
More recently, Watkiss was cast in the starring role in Julian Joseph’s and Mike Phillips‘ ground-breaking jazz operas, ‘Bridgetower’ and ‘Shadowball’.
Danielle Duncan-Rosembert – CREATIVE ARTIST/ SCULPTOR/ MODEL MAKER/ DANCER/ ACTRESS
She studied performing arts at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, Trinity Laban Dance Conservatoire and The Place and was a member of the Candoco Youth Dance company, Kinetic Dance Company and Zoonation Dance Troupe and previously received the Jack Petchey Outstanding Achiever Award.
In 2020 she graduated with first-class honours in Special Makeup Effects for Film and TV. She has worked on short films, commercial projects, as well as jobs with Pinewood Studios and assistant teaching roles.
She will be studying a post graduate specialising in Model Making for Animation at the prestigious National Film and Television starting September 2020.
James is an artist manager, record producer, educator and impresario integral in the creation of major label jazz artists from the UK – Jason Rebello, Cleveland Watkiss and his brother, Julian. He continues to play a key role in guiding the careers of many other British jazz greats, as well as global artists including Nina Simone and Cassandra Wilson.
He has consulted for BBC Worldwide and has co-produced television and radio shows for the BBC and ITV. Film and the stage are important facets of his reach as an executive producer for projects in Opera and Ballet.
James advocates quality music making with a record of supporting and creating music series’ on television (Jazz with Julian Joseph) concert venues (Wigmore Hall, Barbican). A founder of the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy, trustee of National Youth Jazz Collective, supporter of HMDT Music, and World Heart Beat Music Academy. He also lectures at music academies, universities and conservatoires on the music business and focussed career planning for the music profession. James is a passionate proponent of excellence in the arts believing that music enriches and our society immeasurably and must be valued, encouraged, protected and championed.
George Riley is a 23-year old vocalist and producer from West London. Her Jewish and Jamaican heritage, fused with London upbringing make for a sound that can’t be easily defined. It is forward looking and futuristic, yet the legacy of dub, jungle, jazz and RnB emanate and it’s suddenly familiar. Daughter of Mykaell Riley, formerly of influential reggae band Steel Pulse, she draws from the rich tapestry that is bass culture in the UK. Her sound is both a homage to and continuation of this history. She recently received the Women Make Music Fund from PRS and is currently working on her debut EP due for release in October. George also embarks on a law conversion this Autumn.
Lee is the founder of Alchemy, co-founder of BAFA and an executive head-hunter for a leading international search firm.
Lee’s love affair with music started from an early age and it gave Lee a sense of identity whilst living in Dorset, Suffolk and Hong Kong. Lee moved to East London in 2000 to both study and get closer to the music scene, and by 2002 he was a resident on one of London’s leading pirate radio stations whilst DJing at venues such as The End, Brixton Academy, Mass and Herbal.
In 2004, Lee founded ‘Stealth’, a monthly weekday club night at the legendary Turnmills in Farringdon and after a year, Stealth morphed into ‘Primal’ and then ‘Alchemy’ which was Turnmills flagship Drum & Bass, Jungle and Hip-Hop show, selling out the 2000 capacity venue every Bank Holiday until it finally closed it’s doors in 2008. Since then Alchemy has moved on to Ministry of Sound, KOKO, and then most recently Bug Jam Festival, Hangar London and The Cause.
In whatever setting, Lee is passionate about diversity and supporting the talented but underrepresented so that they have a platform to shine.
Makeda Bennett-Amparbeng is the founder and executive creative director of SDS Entertainment, an entertainment company based in Croydon, London. SDS is about providing spaces and opportunities for young creatives especially those from the black community. She is also the data management officer at British Underground, the creative production company that produces international showcases and strategic development projects. Whilst working with BU she played a vital role in the removal of the notorious Form 696 in 2017. Her current focus is on fixing the borough of Croydon’s non existing live music scene through SDS.
Wozzy Brewster OBE FRSA
Wozzy Brewster, OBE FRSA is the Founder and Executive Director of music education and talent development charity, The Midi Music Company (MMC) established in 1995 and based in Deptford, inductee of the Music Week Women in Music Roll of Honour 2018, Artist Manager for Chainska Brassika and United Vibrations, creator of the innovative Creative Industries Careers Advice Service: CICAS® @ MMC, a Honorary Freewoman of the London Borough of Lewisham, Board Member of the BPI’s Music Export Growth Scheme, former South London Project Manager for Community Music and co-founder of Second Wave. Through CICAS® she has supported hundreds of artists and bands to pursue professional careers within the music industry, including Shingai Shoniwa, Kate Tempest, Jazz FM Breakthrough Act Winner 2017 Yussef Dayes, Jazz FM Innovation & Live Experience of the Year 2019 Award Winners Steam Down, Jazz FM Jazz Act 2019 Winner Nubya Garcia, British Composer Award Winner 2017 Cevanne and many more emerging artists. She has experience of coordinating tours, booking gigs, gaining investment for artists and building artist teams, as well as coordinating single, EP and album releases.
MYKAELL RILEY – ACADEMIC /RESEARCHER/MUSIC CONSULTANT/ CURATOR/SONGWRITER /PRODUCER Fellow of Arts & Business & Royal Society for the Arts
His career started as a founder member of the British roots Reggae band Steel Pulse who would go on to receive a Grammy. As a professional writer/producer, his work encompassed TV, Film, resulting in eleven UK top twenty positions, and three UK number ones. He also formed The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra, Britain’s first black pop string section.
He is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster where in 2012 he established the Black Music Research Unit. In 2016, having secured the first major AHRC award to research the impact of Jamaican music in Britain, he became a Principal Investigator. In 2017 he championed the Grime Report in partnership with Ticketmaster, which resulted in a change in government legislation. In 2018 he staged the UK’s largest photographic exhibit on the impact of Jamaican music in Britain. In 2019 he released ‘Bass Culture’ the film mapping Soundsystem culture to Grime. Mykaell now sits on the academic board for the Museum of London, Brent 2020 – No Base Like Home, HKW Berlin and is trustee for Tavaziva Dance and Finding. Rhythms
Nixon is a co-founder of BAFA. He has had extensive experience in many areas of the music industry over the last four decades.
In recent years Nixon has juggled the roles of tour/road manager, musical director and bass player for US artists Josh Milan and Ten City, as well as a UK touring theatre show. He is also a partner in the production studio, Cool Moon Music.Nixon has played bass for US artist Angela Johnson, as well as Billy Paul, Ronnie Laws, The Foundations, Cleveland Watkiss, Graeae Theatre Company plus many more.
He is a board member of the charity, Montage Theatre Arts, and an associate of The Midi Music Company, a charity that supports the development of young people in the creative industries.
Nixon is a member of the Musicians’ Union London Regional Committee, BAME Members Network, Live Performance Sub-Committee and was previously the Vice Chairman of the MU Equalities Committee.
He also provides technical support/advice services to individuals & organisations and is the founder of tech company ‘Tech No Phobia.’
Presenter, Producer, DJ, Radio Teacher & Events Manager
Shahlaa Tahira is a seasoned on-air, online, and live events presenter. Shahlaa is Executive Producer at 1Xtra and Sony Music. After co-hosting BBC Radio 1Xtra Talks (September 20-21), she is focusing on visual content collaborations and season 2 of Badass Mums the Podcast. Shahlaa is that friend who will start a conversation on the train, always has time for a chat, is great at advice, has contagious energy and loves a debate. She has spent the last 7 years working with brands like Rinse FM, Reprezent Radio, The Roundhouse, 4 Music, Vauxhall, Vans, Trend Centrl’s BKChat London and Lewisham Council, so her transferable skills are endless. In her free time, she DJ’s and creates content and events that encourage conversation around music, education, equality, community, family, and travel.
Mike is a London-based Designer, Photographer & Web Developer. Shortly after graduating Mike spent time working and gaining experience in industry and then went on to pursue a freelance career. During this time Mike has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients from exciting startups to well-known and established brands. More recently Mike has been involved with several international design sprints throughout Europe, collaborating with organisations to develop innovative and creative solutions to global issues.
Jade Duncan-Knight is a Programmes & Administrative Assistant at Creative Access. She is also a multi-disciplinary artist and graduated this summer from Kingston School of Art’s BA Illustration & Animation course, previously receiving the Young Artist of The Year Award at ArtsDepot OPEN 2016. Having volunteered at the Stanley Picker Gallery, she went on to become one of their Arts Workshop Leaders in 2019-20, teaching youth contemporary arts classes.
As a freelance illustrator & animator, she has worked with a variety of clients and projects; from book cover illustration and merchandise for Seventh Row, Graphic Design for YOPEY Befriender to an animated trailer for Vintage Books, Penguin Random House.
Who We Are
A network of Black writers, artists, academics, ﬁlmmakers, musicians, scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, theatre-makers, students and professionals. We are members of the African and Caribbean diaspora. We are of all ages, ancestries, genders, disabilities and identities. We are diverse yet uniﬁed as we share a common goal: to elevate Black creativity through community with an unprecedented all-Black UK network for the arts.
Connect Black professionals to the creative and cultural industries to increase career opportunities. Connect Black creators with politicians, policy makers and funding to realise our ideas and increase opportunities for future generations.
Create space for increased collaboration between Black creatives through partnerships, community and the mentoring and development of new talent.
Celebrate and archive the contribution of Black creatives to the arts through live events. The annual Foundation Festival and the ﬁrst ever Black British Arts and Culture Symposium are designed to better support the charitable work of our community by organisations such as The Black Cultural Archives, Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and The Midi Music Company.