About us

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Our History

BlackFest is a grassroots Black Arts festival piloted and founded in 2018 by Co-Founder, Artistic Director Jubeda Khatun. The annual combined arts festival platforms, empowers and develops work by Black artists across community spaces and established venues running at the end of September. The programme includes music, theatre, film, visual arts spoken word and poetry across community spaces and established venues. The Festival answers a crucial need in the city’s cultural offering, celebrating Black arts and bridging the gap between institutions and the marginalised communities they represent. BlackFest encompasses active conversations and collaborations breaking status quo with artists, communities and venues.

Our Mission

To cultivate and nurture work from Black Artists and communities. Reflecting the dual identities, multiple experiences and narratives not seen and heard. Putting the lens to stories that are political, social, economically and emotionally charged that simultaneously intertwine to bring together our identities of what it means to being Black and British in the UK today.

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Vision

BlackFest is committed to Black Arts, programming and education, collaborating with artists, organisations and the community to encourage the creation, appreciation and access to the arts. We seek to nurture a vibrant arts community, foster artistic excellence, and bring people together for powerful shared experiences that inspire a social change in the ecology of in arts in Liverpool.

Beliefs and Values

BlackFest aim to educate, empower and improve equality in the arts. Ensuring we do this with integrity, resilience and become a collective voice for change.

Equality – Use arts as a tool enhancing wellbeing, equality, diversity and inclusion in the city’s arts institutions and community spaces through representation and visibility.

Empower – Celebrate Black arts and experiences from authentic lenses through creativity and community participation. Reflecting the city’s growing multicultural communities and artists providing an inclusive platform showcasing their talents.

Educate – Fostering artistic development of emerging and aspiring regional artists. Developing communities and providing quality, diverse opportunities, shared artistic experiences for all, inspiring participation in the creation, understanding, and access to the arts.

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Our Board Members

Jubeda Khatun poses for the camera holding two award statues.

Jubeda Khatun
Executive Artistic Director

Jubeda is BlackFest’s Artistic Director, she is a performance arts graduate, theatre maker, producer and spoken word poet, an alumnus of the Artistic Director leadership programme: Future Leader of Tomorrow delivered by cohort of theatres Talawa, Tiata Fahodzhi, Freedom studios. She has delivered workshops for 20 Stories High as a facilitator for Big Theatre Youth project, schools and youth organisations. She curated an exhibition at Liverpool independents Biennial in Bangladeshi Heritage Arts, 2019: freelanced leading poetry workshops at The Lowry Salford outreach in schools and CAMHS and Royal Exchange Manchester 2021 Led Cultural Food Workshop at Granby Winter Garden, featured as a guest speaker for Collective Encounters in Racial Equality. 

She won Merseyside Woman of the Year 2022; featured in the Echo’s Power list: 100 Most Influential People in Liverpool; and she was a Finalist as an Artist of the Year 2020 in Liverpool’s Creativity and Culture Awards, recognised for curating many arts opportunities through the pandemic.

She is a Trustee of two great mini grant funding initiatives in Liverpool: Awesome Foundation Trustee and Liverpool SOUP supporting great projects that bring joy and make positive change.

Insta: jk_credo_
Twitter: @JK_Credo

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Pari Richardson
Co-Artistic Director

Pari Richards is a multidisciplinary artist based in Liverpool. Graduating with a degree in drama from Liverpool Hope University in 2016 and undertaking further training at Rose Bruford Drama school in 2017. Pari has been acting, writing and performing across a number of projects and platforms. Pari has been involved in BlackFest across numerous projects such as the BLM Soundscape and is now a proud member of our wonderful board of directors. Credits include: “Son from Sudan” – Afterthought, Various projects with Altru drama & “The Elasticated sound system” – 20 stories high. Alongside his theatrical work, Pari has a passion for drama- influenced education and has worked with various theatre companies including Altru arts, facilitating workshops and performing in Theatre In Education projects for young people. Pari also writes and performs his own spoken word poetry independently, credits include: Afro hub poetry slam, “A lovely word” – Liverpool Everyman and playhouse, & “Spoken word London”.

Jennifer Burns posing for the camera in front of a red background.

Jennifer Burns
Director

I’m Jennifer- one of BlackFest’s Associate Producers, my role includes assisting the artistic director and our other producers in delivering BlackFest projects and the festival, you may see me around at events checking tickets and selling merch, feel free to say hello!

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Sarah Orola
Director

Born in Ireland to parents of Nigerian and Guyanese descent has given me a beautiful yet complex insight into the world and helped me to define my identity. My journey of self-awareness is heavily reflected in my poetry. I love scribbling on paper and being a positive influence in other people’s lives.

Performing at many spoken word nights in the North West has allowed me to connect with people from different walks of life. In February 2020, my work was published alongside 30 other writers in a Change The Word Anthology. I founded a female collective, the Society of Queens, alongside my sister to create a network for young girls. I hope to empower black young women , like me, growing up in the UK to achieve the unthinkable!
                                                                                                                                        I would love nothing more than to further my career as a positive influence and poet.

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