Stand Up For Diversity

Speaker Biogs

Here’s more information about those delivering the 3-minute mini-talks at the Southend Stand Up For Diversity event:

Kwesi Johnson (co-compere) The Cultural Assembly
Ros Green (co-compere) Essex Book Festival
Sara Bedell Aspirational Arts Partnerships
Scotty Brave artist, Brave Arts
Emma Gibbs De Oliveir Brazilarte
Mara Chrysti community mosaic artist and warrior against injustice
Sade Fadipe children’s author
Sonny Green artist and poet
Natasha Kwakwa Live Globaleigh
Gill West poet
Lu Williams artist, Grrrl Zine Fair

Kwesi Johnson, The Cultural Assembly
Folded Space is an independent audience led pop up events space in the centre of Southend on Sea. Drawing people to the town through cultural and creative experiences. It’s a space for the culturally curious and those that want to build a community underpinned by arts, culture and innovation. Run by creative agency, The Cultural Assembly who bring together over 40 years of experience in the arts, film, marketing and business development and specialise in cultural and creative content and events that help businesses, creatives and the community explore and reach their full creative potential.

Ros Green, Essex Book Festival
Essex Book Festival is one of the highlights of Essex’s cultural calendar. Each March it hosts over 100 events in over 45 venues across the county, including theatres, libraries, schools, universities, cafes and art galleries. 

Sarah Bedell
Sarah Bedell has been working in the arts for nearly 30 years, since stumbling into a job with the RLPS.  This was followed up by a stint in the old Touring Department of the Arts Council, and time at ENO, where Sarah made sign language interpreted performances regular, pioneered audio-described opera for blind and visually impaired people and introduced more accessible pricing for state school pupils and students. After completing an ACE bursary and working for the RSC at the Barbican, Sarah went freelance in 1997, working with projects and organisations large and small, working with people who want to make a difference to how our culture is produced, by whom, for whom, how  it is presented and who participates, engages with and makes our culture. Sarah Bedell on LinkedIn

Scotty Brave, Brave Arts
Brave Arts was set up in 2001 by Scotty Brave – Graffiti art lover, turned graffiti art maker turned graffiti art teacher. Scotty is also a youth worker, mentor & advocate of achieving positivity through sharing a passion for art. “Brave Arts are proud that our heritage in this art form can be traced back to the Traditions & values of the pioneers of style writing. Those artists that during the 1980’s in New York set the standard & laid the foundations of the style of art we continue to practice today. Undoubtedly we have been part of the largest growing new forms of painting in recent art history and we promise to continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with spray paint. We have an interest in uniting people, through hip-hop culture.  We hope that through Art we can contribute to improving lives.||

Emma Gibbs De Oliveira, Brazilarte
Brazilarte’s mission is to bring the wonders of Brazilian Culture to all ages, cultures and abilities. To build a community that benefits from music, dance, art and movement based activities, which promote good physical and mental health.

Mara Chrysti, community mosaic artist and warrior against injustice
“My family come from Russia, Poland, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, mainly as asylum-seekers and refugees. Persecution was part of my family’s history but so was resistance and solidarity. My relatives fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War and  against apartheid in South Africa, serving  time in prison for both causes. I joined the Anti-apartheid movement aged 14 and was arrested when I was 15. I am a founder member of CAST- Communities and Sanctuary-seekers Together- which has led to opportunities to support and host asylum-seekers as well as art projects which link diverse communities. I’m also a member of the Citizens of the World Choir, half refugees and half friends of refugees, who have just been successfully involved with our fifth battles with the Home Office to prevent a deportation.”

Sade Fadipe, children’s author
Sade Fadipe started out her career as a linguist and later followed her passion by taking on a post-graduate in Education. After teaching in London for close to two decades, she spent time out in Nigeria where she initiated a training program for teachers on the skill of reading. This involved the use of fiction books in enhancing reading and the creation of reading-corners, where libraries were non-existent. While training she penned an indigenous alphabet script for her trainees. Little did she know that her ABC rhyme would one day, evolve into ‘A Fun ABC’ – published and distributed across the globe. A Fun ABC on

Sonny Green, artist and poet 
Sonny Green is an artist and a poet from Southend-On-Sea, Starring in Feature films ‘Still’ and ‘Our Robot Overlords’. Lead Vocalist for Asian Dub Foundation Sound System and the Director/Founder of Trouble Tongues, an organisation which helps young people find there voice through the creative arts, running Spoken Word nights across the UK, for all too enjoy. |  |

Natasha Kwakwa, Live Globaleigh
Live Globaleigh promotes beautiful, quality products and services that represent cultures from around the world. Our aim is to enable people to learn more about our world and value diversity through cultural events and the promotion of products and services. | @liveglobaleigh on Instagram

Gill West, poet
Gill West crafts poignant and comedic poetry, often creating and inhabiting complex characters, exploring  diversity and difference in all its richness.She has  performed in schools, community events, theatres and multiple festivals  as well as London’s prestigious “Forget What You Heard” night.’ Covent Garden’s Poetry Cafe and Cafe Karamel. Her well loved one woman shows are master classes in story telling through verse and if you are lucky enough to catch one of these you will have your preconceptions about what can be done through the medium of Spoken word challenged.  Armed only with a microphone, a mouth and few minutes of your time, she will take you on a journey you are unlikely to forget. Gill West on Facebook @gillwestpoetry

Lu Williams, artist, Grrrl Zine Fair
Grrrl Zine Fair is made up of live events, zine workshops, Grrrl In Print zine and a feminist zine library. It platforms women and non-binary artists and is comprised of a self-publishing fair, panel talks, performances, live music, exhibitions and workshops, created and curated by artist Lu Williams. Lu Williams is a queer, working class artist living and working in Essex. They create cross disciplinary artworks, events and printed matter with a focus on DIY culture, workshops, intersectional feminism and working class culture. Grrrl Zine Fair functions as a collaborative project with revolving collaborations between artists, partners and brands exploring contemporary feminism.