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What does cultural participation look like with and post Covid-19?

Date: 4 November 2020
Time: 14:00 to 15:30
Cost: Free
Location: Online

How do you create opportunities for cultural participation in communities through a global pandemic?

**Waiting list only**

We’ve been entertained and engaged during lockdown, as cultural organisations and creative practitioners have created an impressive array of rapid responses during the ongoing pandemic to try and keep us connected to their work and to each other.

As a society, we have learnt to adapt to the current environment, initially mindful that it was ‘short term’. But as new lockdowns roll on and off across the country…what happens next and how do you create opportunities for cultural participation in communities through a global pandemic?

Chaired by academic researcher Dave O’Brien, join our contributors to hear what they have learnt during this time and how they might have done things differently, so we can gain insights into how we can help understand cultural value in the future.

The line-up includes Zulfiqar Ahmed, an expert in community-led development and now progressing, in the midst of coronavirus, the 10-year £3.5m Bradford Creative People and Places project The Leap; Amerah Saleh, General Manager of youth organisation Beatfreeks, whose recent Take The Temperature report focused on the impact of coronavirus on young people; Nisha Tandon OBE, director of ArtsEkta, who has created cultural activity packs and an online Mela in Belfast, and Sarah Clarke, Learning & Participation Manager at the National Civil War Centre, who are creating activity boxes for schools with genuine and replica artefacts.




Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke has managed museum and heritage learning projects for fifteen years, and has been a primary school teacher for five. Now based at the National Civil War Centre, in Newark, she leads learning and engagement activity across the museum, Newark Castle and the Palace Theatre.

A creative problem solver, Sarah enjoys a challenge and has been working with her team throughout the pandemic to develop exciting new programmes for cultural learning, including creating activity boxes for schools with genuine and replica artefacts, for which the Centre received an ArtFund grant.


Dave O’Brien

Dave O’Brien is Chancellor’s Fellow in Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Edinburgh. He has published extensively on sociology of culture and cultural policy, and his latest book, co-authored with Orian Brook and Mark Taylor, Is ‘Culture is bad for you: Inequality in the Cultural and Creative Industries’. He is currently part of several research projects, including a large scale AHRC funded project assessing the impact of Covid-19 on the cultural sector in the UK.

Amerah Saleh

Amerah Saleh

Amerah Saleh is General Manager of Beatfreeks Consulting- an engagement and insight agency with a vital community of young creatives aged 16 – 30. Beatfreeks works to connect young people to brands, government and funders so they can influence how the world works. Amerah’s expertise is around youth engagement, event management, young people’s development and institutional talent development. She has worked with Beatfreeks since it began in 2013. She was Campaign Director on Routes2Roots, National Heritage Lottery Fund’s campaign to engage more young people and youth groups in applying for £10,000-£50,000 bringing in over £500k to the region. She is also Project Manager of Be Internet Citizens, a Google and YouTube Project engaging 32,000 young people in understanding digital citizenship and online safety. Amerah is an internationally acclaimed Muslim Yemeni poet born and raised in Birmingham, releasing her book “I Am Not From Here” and closing the Commonwealth Games Ceremony from Gold Coast to Birmingham live to 1.4 billion people. Winner of Overall Youth Excellence Award 2015 and named Brum 30 Under 30 in 2018. She is the Co-Founder of Verve Poetry Press, a Board Member of Birmingham’s only producing theatre: Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the UK’s Spoken Word organisation Apples & Snakes. Her passions include engaging young people in change that affects them, Italian food, writing poetry and shaking up organisations


Nisha Tandon, OBE

Nisha is the founder & Chief Executive of ArtsEkta – one of the only organisations in Ireland promoting intercultural arts, culture and heritage and a vibrant social enterprise. She founded this organisation in 2006 following two decades of experience in the arts and after discovering a critical
She holds a degree from the National School of Drama in New Delhi and is a trained Indian Classical dancer. In addition, she is a member Belfast City Council’s Festival Forum and has been a previous board member of Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Cultural Cities Enquiry and currently serving Board member on Voluntary Arts UK and Community Relations Council.

In 2007 Nisha initiated Northern Ireland’s first multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary arts festival Belfast Mela, now attracting annual audiences of up to 30,000 people and in 2014, Nisha was the first Asian woman from Northern Ireland to be awarded the prestigious UK Asian Women of Achievement Award for contribution to arts culture and heritage, and later an OBE for services to the minority ethnic sector in the Queen’s Honours List. In 2015, Nisha won the British Indian Award for ‘Indian Spirit in the Community’ presented by Trade Next and BDO. Nisha has also been awarded the Chief Officers Third Sector award for Leading Growth & Innovation in 2016.

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