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Art, Activism, Race and Social Justice

Speaker Biographies


Jagdish Patel is a Nottingham based artist and member of the anti-racist charity, The Monitoring Group. He is also part of the international art collective, Blank Atlas; The Nottingham Photographers’ Hub; and Primary Studios in Nottingham.


Panya Banjoko is a British writer of Caribbean descent whose work reflects her mixed heritage. She has been published in IC3 by Penguin, performed at the 2012 Olympic Games and is the existing co-founder of Nottingham Black Archive.  She advocates on behalf of Black writers in Nottingham and is Patron for Nottingham City of Literature. It has been said of her work, ‘What you get when listening to Panya is a profound sense of listening to a teacher. Her poetry is hip-hop energy fused with a hymnal element. Her trademark is a penchant for grand themes in small sentences. There’s lots of shrewd thought but its poetry we can all grasp without the need to constantly hit the rewind button.’ Sable Magazine. 

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Poulomi Desai is currently a Leverhulme Research Fellow at Heritage Quay archives / British Music Collection - University of Huddersfield, Curator / Project Manager of "We are the Lions" - the first comprehensive exhibition about the Grunwick strike in the 70s and runs the Usurp Art space in Harrow, London. She is self-taught and has been involved in performance, curatorial projects, live art, sound and photography installations interrogating the politics of identity, listening and perception inspired by her activist background and DIY post punk for over 30 years. She creates performances / compositions with modified sitars, electronics and VLF radio - solo, duos and ensembles. Exhibitions/projections include, The Queens Museum, The Serpentine Gallery, Photographers Gallery, Ministry of Sound, Heaven, The Science Museum, The Oxford Gallery India, Futuresonic and Souzouzukan 9001 Japan. Commissions and performances include, Sonic Acts, LCMF, Fort Process, Clandestino, Colour Out of Space. Her work has been published in six books and she co-founded the youngest black/asian performance company in the UK - HAC in 1981, the first South Asian LGBTT campaigning club - Shakti in 1988 and the first HIV/AIDS charity in India - NAZ/NFI in 1991. "Her irreverent aim is to shatter the contours of these fixed notions of sexual, national, cultural, personal, political and diasporic identities"Professor Stuart Hall, Different, Pub.Phaidon.

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Suresh Grover has been involved in anti-racist civil rights work since his early teens. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, he helped to set up a number of key groups in Outer West London, namely the Southall Youth Movement and Southall Rights. He was also one of the founders of the Southall Monitoring Group, now known as The Monitoring Group. He has extensive knowledge of race related legislation and policy and is recognised nationally for his advocacy work. He is the leading exponent of family and justice campaigns in the UK. He has led over fifty campaigns to help families, including those related to Blair Peach, Bradford 12, Ricky Reel, Michael Menson, Amarjit Chohan, Stephen Lawrence, Zahid Mubarek and Victoria Climbie – the latter three cases led to Public Judicial Inquiries and consequent changes in legislation and practices. The Guardian Newspaper has described him as one of the hundred most influential people in Social Policy in the UK He continues to develop international public interest campaigns to support communities suffering discrimination, racism and genocide as well as those affected by ecological disasters induced by either state or corporate neglect. This has included supporting victims of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, Gujarat 2002 and the Indian, mainly Hindu, community in Malaysia. He is an accredited trainer/advisor on humanism, “hate crimes” and Human Rights for public bodies and NGO’s in the UK and the rest of Europe.   He is currently writing his book on race relations in the UK, due to be published next year.

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