BlackFest is a grassroots Black Arts festival piloted and founded in 2018 by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jubeda Khatun and Daniel Sebuyange, freelance artist Blue Saint. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Executive Artistic Director
Jubeda is a theatre maker and workshop facilitator. She is dubbed a future leader of tomorrow and alumni of the Artistic Director leadership programme delivered by a cohort of theatres Talawa, Tiata Fahodzhi, Freedom studios https://www.adleadership.co.uk/leaders. She has worked at the Everyman Playhouse theatres in Outreach in 2013, her most recent work was delivering workshops in schools and youth organisations for 20 Stories High and been part of The Big Theatre Youth project. She’s curated an exhibition at Liverpool independents Biennial in heritage arts and leading poetry workshops for The Lowry Salford in schools and CAMHS organisation, Royal Exchange Manchester and International Slavery Museum.
She is the Co -Founder, Executive Artistic Director of BlackFest a grassroots Black Arts festival in founded in 2018 in Liverpool. She has worked in partnership with and delivered the festival at Liverpool’s prominent arts venues and community spaces such as Everyman theatres, Unity Theatre, Philharmonic Hall, Bluecoat, FACT, International Slavery Museum and Blackburn House and directed 3 shows in house. She has been featured in Liverpool’s Echo newspaper as the woman determined to make Liverpool’s arts institutions more inclusive https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/many-institutions-not-reflect-city-16853176 and now on the Power List: Of the 100 most influential people in Liverpool. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/power-list-100-most-influential-17891840
Insta and FB: @blackfestcreatives Twitter: @fest_black, Insta: jk_credo_ , Twitter: @JK_Credo www.blackfest.co.uk
Craig Adams is a writer and photographer born in Gibraltar and raised in Liverpool, where he currently resides. He has a deep interest in issues regarding society, race and education. As a teacher, he has lived in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile; Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic; Figueres, Spain—birthplace and home of renowned artist Salvador Dalí. The main outlet of his creative expression is through poetry, and his poems surround themes of race, growth and identity. He is currently planning to write a novel.
Trained as an art historian at Leicester Polytechnic, Susan has worked with museums across Britain through Afrograph business based in Birkenhead formed in the mid 1980’s. https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/1KWB4x8a/ghana-a-nation-in-retrospective-aug-2017
Afrograph specialises in the use of West African arts and cultural heritage to promote cultural diversity and anti-racist practice. Susan originally established Afrograph in partnership with her mother, forming textile and other handling collections centred around a rich family archive.
The Inheritance in Scotland’ exhibition 1997 and education programmes for National Galleries and Museums Scotland. She was also invited presented a paper at the Africa 2000 Conference at Liverpool University. Susan continues to support Afrograph https://twitter.com/orielwrecsam/status/764443632044834818 Susan moved back to Merseyside from Leicester in 2001, to take up a position with Churches’ Action for Racial Equality based in the Liverpool 8 Law Centre. She was later employed by Wirral Multicultural Organisation the Coordinator for the B.M.E Family Support Outreach Service, supporting children and young people.
Manoka is the Dave Chapelle of the arts in Liverpool he’s a poet, performer, singer and BA Business Management student at The University of Liverpool. Manoka has been in many theatre productions with Award-winning 20 Stories Theatre Company which include Promises (2015), The Elasticated Sound System (2016), In Time (2017), and Indebted (2018). He has worked with organisations such as Off the ground and Tmesis theatre to take part in theatre productions like Suits (2016), Daydream Believers (2017), The Drunks (2017) and Hamlet (2018). He is one of the first to receive a Golds Arts Award and he has been awarded the young achievers award by the Steve Biko Foundation. Manoka was part of the BlackFest ‘Hear Me Now,’ Production held at the Everyman Theatres. Performing from the ‘Hear Me Now,’ book of audition Monologues for Black and Brown actors where he played the ‘First Black Prime,’ which he fit right into! Followed by his performance of ‘The Mbolokeles,’ generational piece at BlackFest Spoken Word night at the Bluecoat. He is proud to take on a key leadership position with the organisation to become the youngest Board of Directors in BlackFest history. To Manoka this role symbolises his progression with the company from actor to Board of Directors. Finally, Manoka is ready to use this role and platform to champion the progression of black individuals within the arts sector.
Gavin Odhiambo Okello-Davies
Artist Gavin Odhiambo is a child of Kenya, child of Rock Ferry, or Roche-Ferrée s’il vous plaît, with one finger in the Mersey, another in the Indian Ocean and two feet firmly on Gaia’s United Queendom. Odhiambo, which translates from Luo as ‘born at dusk’, is a fluent speaker of eight European languages, one of them Scouse. Proudly working-class, he is a linguist-cum-performer-cum-writer-cum-freedom fighter, and busted through a degree in Russian & Spanish at University College London, has written and performed his one-human show Auntie at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 and received a Guardian review describing his piece as having “wicked potential”. Since then, his work with the BBC has seen him on billboards from Piccadilly Circus to Shoreditch and screens across the world beamed out his friendship with Ghanaian septuagenarian Auntie Julie. Now back on Merseyside, he’s reconnecting with home and the waves of Mersey shore.