Environment – Sunday 17 July

Adegbile Dominion Ayoponinuoluwa is a 16-year-old, Grade 12 student of Multigrace College, Nigeria who became an ocean and climate activist after participating in the Heirs To Our Oceans Summit for Empowerment Action and Leadership (H2OO SEAL) in California, USA, in June 2019. Her passion is speaking out for the environment and campaigning for ocean life protection.

Sam Black is an actor, theatre-maker and member of Ergon Theatre who, just before the pandemic, made his West End debut in the Olivier Award-winning production of Cyrano de Bergerac, starring alongside James McAvoy and directed by Jamie Lloyd. During the first lockdown, Sam starred alongside his wonderful Granny Cynthia in Ergon’s audio piece The Lost Summer, which he co-wrote and which is available to listen to on Ergon’s website.

Beth Collier is a nature allied psychotherapist and ethnographer who teaches natural history and woodland living skills, and whose work explores relationships with people and with nature. Beth has a particular interest in supporting people of colour in finding our place in UK natural settings, and works to create opportunities for the representation of black leadership in nature. In 2013, Beth founded Wild in the City, an organisation supporting the well-being of urban residents: offering experiences in woodland living skills, natural history and ecotherapy, and using the skills of our ancestors to nurture a deeper connection with the natural world and a sense of belonging to communities past and present.

Feimatta Conteh is MIF’s Environmental Sustainability Manager and a trustee of Invisible Dust and Artsadmin. She has worked across sustainability, technology development, digital culture and the arts for over 15 years, for organisations including the London School of Economics, the Arcola Theatre, Arcola Energy and FutureEverything. Feimatta is also deeply involved with an educational children’s camping charity – she enjoys building communities and helping young people interact with nature.

Cracking Good Food is a not-for-profit social enterprise that launched in 2010 with the aim of encouraging and supporting more people to cook affordable, seasonal and nutritious homemade food from scratch. Driven by the belief that everyone deserves good food, Cracking Good Food works collaboratively with others to eradicate food poverty and increase food sustainability: encouraging and teaching individuals and groups how to source and cook affordable, healthy and tasty food while minimising both food waste and environmental impact. During the pandemic, they have harnessed over 12,000 volunteer hours to cook and distribute over 90,000 meals for people in need of support across Greater Manchester using ingredients intercepted from food waste. Today’s session leaders are Rob Tomlinson, an expert bread maker and organic produce enthusiast who leads many of Cracking Good Food’s community cooking sessions, and Sam Sin, an expert in modern Chinese cookery who has been an integral part of setting up and managing Cracking Good Food’s COVID-19 Emergency Food Response project.

Dr Mya-Rose Craig is a prominent 19-year-old British Bangladeshi birder, conservationist and environmentalist. She is committed to conservation, such as stopping biodiversity loss and saving our planet through halting climate change, while respecting indigenous peoples and highlighting global climate justice as it intersects with climate change action, and focusing her attention on change from governmental and huge global corporations. She writes the Birdgirl blog, gives talks (having spoken on a shared stage with Greta Thunberg), writes articles and appears on TV and radio. For her work as Founder and President of Black2Nature, which she set up aged 13, she is the youngest British person to be awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (at age 17) for her work fighting for equal access to nature and for ethnic diversity in the environmental sector. In September 2020, she visited the Arctic with Greenpeace, highlighting the second lowest sea ice minimum and doing the most northerly youth strike ever.

Kareem Dayes is a passionate and creative community organiser and social entrepreneur with 8+ years’ experience of building grassroots community-led organisations, fundraising, project management, working with young people, educating, public speaking and community engagement, dedicated to building people power for positive social change. Kareem is also a musician, composer, producer and cellist who believes that music has the power to heal and change perception and ultimately change the world – and that we need these tools now as we urgently need new stories that will pave the way for a new world to emerge.

Ergon Theatre makes performance-based work about the climate crisis and futures, heavily influenced by scientific fact and research. They are supported artists at M6 Theatre, part of The Lowry’s ‘Class of 20’ and proud members of the Manchester Arts Sustainability Team (MAST). They are currently working with Contact on Ergon: The Wicked Problem, a new production that examines climate justice and equity in a not-too-distant-future Britain. During the lockdown, Ergon produced audio work for The Lowry and Contact, which can be listened to for free on the Ergon website.

Emma Greenwood is a 17-year-old youth voice and climate activist. She is the current Youth MP for Bury, where she works to try and ensure young people’s voices are heard in politics; and a member of Youth Strike 4 Climate Manchester and Fridays For Future Digital, where she works with other young people around the world to push for climate justice.

Martin Grobath is the current Climate Action Lead at Groundwork Greater Manchester, leading the organisation’s community engagement around climate change. Martin is deeply rooted in social movements, and has worked in policy, education and campaigning around climate change and climate justice throughout Europe for the past 10 years.

Robin Lyons is an actor, theatre-maker and sound designer who has previously performed at and worked with organisations including the BBC, M6 Theatre, HOME and Contact. Robin won the Best Performance award at the Manchester Culture Awards for his contribution to Louise Wallwein’s play Hidden, which gave a platform to the issue of early-onset dementia. A member of Ergon Theatre, Robin believes in his bones that the arts have a huge role to play in the fight against the climate crisis.

Dr Sarah Mander is a Reader in Energy & Climate Policy at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research at the University of Manchester. She has an academic interest in social responses to low-carbon technologies and a strong belief that the numerous innovative projects led by grassroots organisations are key to fighting the climate crisis. Her research integrates public and stakeholder perspectives with technical and modelling assessments to understand low-carbon technologies and social responses to them. She is passionate about climate change engagement and innovative in her approach, working with artists to reach diverse audiences in new ways rather than trying to change the world one conversation at a time.

Adegbile Deborah Morayoninuoluwa is a 13-year-old, Grade 10 student of Multigrace College, Nigeria who became a climate activist after participating in the Heirs To Our Oceans Summit for Empowerment Action and Leadership (H2OO SEAL) in California, USA, in June 2019. Her passion is campaigning against air and plastic pollution, and she engages in environmental activities including beach clean-ups, tree planting and recycling drives in her community.

Lewis Nelson is the Manchester Youth Champion for Climate Action, working in the Manchester Climate Change Agency, and is also a local councillor. Lewis is currently supporting the Manchester Climate Change Youth Board to launch their manifesto. Lewis is passionate about young people’s voices on the climate action agenda and has a background in supporting young people on a 1-1 basis, and in creating platforms for young people to make their mark.

Dr Patsy Perry is a Reader in Fashion Marketing at the Manchester Fashion Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. An experienced educator, researcher and published author of academic journal articles and textbook chapters, she has a PhD in Corporate Social Responsibility in fashion supply chains and is often featured in the print and broadcast media for her expertise in fashion supply chains and sustainability.

Plastic Shed was created to provide more opportunities for people from different backgrounds to work together in a meaningful way, with the aim of supporting them to reuse plastic waste and turn it into new useful things. Rachel Lewis(Founder & Co-Director), Camilla Reghenzi and Caitlin Marie Atherton (also Co-Directors of the Community Benefit Society) are working to unite and build more resilient communities around Stockport and Greater Manchester, providing educational and creative recycling workshops where people can safely play together, experiment and learn about plastics. Plastic Shed believes that creativity is a way of approaching the world that can improve our mental wellbeing and open our mind to new ideas. In the knowledge that there can be lots of barriers to living a sustainable lifestyle, they aim to share our knowledge, skills, tools and equipment to make it more accessible for people to join the fight against plastic waste – helping to create a more equal and sustainable society.

Noé Sébert is a French actor, theatre-maker, spoken word artist and member of Ergon Theatre who has worked with organisations including Sky and Apple TV. Just before the pandemic, he performed his poem There is a place that nobody knows, about mental health and education, to the House of Commons. This was also featured as part of the BBC’s Upload festival.

Mitzi Jonelle Tan is a full-time climate justice activist based in Metro Manila, Philippines. She is the convenor and international spokesperson of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), the Fridays For Future (FFF) of the Philippines, and is also an organiser with FFF International and FFF MAPA (Most Affected Peoples and Areas), making sure that voices from the Global South are heard, amplified, and given space.

Keisha Thompson is a Manchester-based writer, performance artist and producer. She is Senior Manager of Children, Young People & Learning at Arts Council England, Chair of radical arts funding body Future’s Venture Foundation, a MOBO x London Theatre Consortium Fellow, a member of the Greater Manchester Cultural & Heritage Group and recipient of the Arts Foundation Theatre Makers Award 2021. She is currently working with Eclipse Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre to stage a new play, The Bell Curves, and with Fuel Theatre and Alan Lane (Slung Low) to create a new children’s show, Izzy, BOSSS & Fractal. In 2020, she released Ephemera, a mini-album made in collaboration with Tom ‘Werkha’ Leah and featuring cellist Abel Selaocoe, and finished touring award-winning solo show Man on the Moon. She has supported artists such as Kae Tempest, Hollie McNish, the Last Poets, Saul Williams and Amiri Baraka, and her work has been presented at venues such as Tate Modern, Blue Dot Festival and the British Council Showcase in Edinburgh.

Genesis Whitlock is a climate justice activist from Antigua & Barbuda who currently works as a Taskforce Coordinator for Re-Earth Initiative, and is also working to grow grassroots organizations like Climate Justice Antigua and Escazu Caribbean.

Equality – Saturday 10 July

Junior Akinola, a Manchester native, became the youngest ever Chair of a major performing arts venue in UK history in October 2020 when he was appointed Chair of Contact at the age of 28. He also works at the BBC as an Assistant Content Producer, where he has led successful diversity initiatives and reverse-mentored the Director of the Arts. As a writer, he has been commissioned to create an audio drama titled Homecoming, which will be available on BBC Sounds later this year.

Kya Buller is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Aurelia Magazine. A Mancunian writer, editor and host, she is passionate about storytelling and bringing marginalised voices to the fore. 

Kadeena Cox MBE is a British para-athletics and para-cycling athlete whose record includes gold, silver and bronze medals at the Paralympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Dr Devapriya Dev is a Consultant General & Respiratory Physician at Royal Bolton Hospital who has been on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. He has also been a prominent member and leader in the Indian community in Manchester for nearly 20 years. He is the Chair of Nrityakunj, a South Asian cultural organisation in Manchester, and Global Governor (UK) for the American College of Chest Physicians.

Estephanie Dunn trained as a general nurse and worked in a range of clinical settings before moving into nurse education at Northumbria University. She returned to clinical practice as a lecturer–practitioner in child health, then moved into general management as senior nurse/business manager for children’s services, and general manager for a citywide adult learning disability service. After working as a Director of Nursing within a primary care trust, she joined the Royal College of Nursing in 2010 as Operational Manager for the Northern Region, and took up the post of Regional Director for the North West Region in 2014.

Amelia Ellis is the Assistant Editor of Aurelia Magazine. A Manchester-based writer, editor and filmmaker, her work explores contemporary issues and centres innovative, compelling and underreported stories. 

Cecilia Goodwin is a criminal defence solicitor specialising in serious and complex crime. She qualified as a solicitor in 2008, and shortly after attained her qualification as a higher rights advocate. She works on a daily basis with those appearing before the criminal courts, and she recently appeared in the BAFTA Award-winning BBC documentary Defending Digga D, which followed her and her client as he attempted to navigate the music world with a criminal behaviour order. Cecilia undertakes charity work and is a trustee for the Stop & Search Legal Project, which provides education to young people in respect of their rights during stop-and-search procedures.

Zuzanna Kouamba is a final-year student midwife who will be starting her job as a newly qualified midwife in September. She was born in Poland but has been raised in Manchester.

Yandass Ndvolu is a MIF21 Creative Fellow, the Founder of I M Pact collective and the Movement Director for Bloody Elle, now on at the Royal Exchange Theatre, where she previously worked on Macbeth and Jubilee. She has previously performed in MIF commissions Alphabus, WOZA, Icaria and FlexN Manchester, and has also appeared in Elevate (Boy Blue), See Me After (PUSH), Platform (PUSH) and FlexN Young Identity (Contact). For I M Pact Productions, her work includes All I Want for Christmas (collaboration with the Royal Exchange Theatre) and Let’s Go (Contact), and work for Manchester Opera House, HOME, The Lowry, Portico Library, Antony Burgess Foundation, Royal Exchange Theatre, Queer Contact and others.

Diane Rutherford is brap’s Learning and Development Lead. Having previously worked in higher education in the UK and Canada, Diane now leads on brap’s learning portfolio, which includes topics such as the law, biases and working with diverse teams. Diane is a qualified teacher and as such her work engages schools and university sectors in understanding the application of teaching and learning and its impact on students. She has also led on a number of youth projects, such as working with young people to tackle the stigma associated with mental health, and supporting students to challenge universities on equalities issues. Diane is trained in process work and is a skilled facilitator who incorporates many methods and learning styles to enable full engagement in support of learning. She is a member of the NHS Leadership Faculty and currently delivers the Stepping Up programme to BME colleagues in the health sector.

Blue Saint is a Congolese and British rapper, singer-songwriter, spoken word poet, actor, producer and designer. He has developed an eclectic musical style that draws on a range of influences and genres, often combining and blending elements of hip-hop, R&B and electronic music. Blue Saint’s work incorporates a range of political, social, philosophical and cultural references, with themes usually centred around social injustices. He was the winner of the Poetry Society’s SLAMbassadors Award at 14, a MOBO BeMOBO Award nominee at the age of 15 and winner of Merseyrail Sound Station 2014, a prize celebrating breaking new talent in the Liverpool music scene, at the age of 20. Blue Saint has received various other accolades and achievements for his music, community work and activism, and was included in Liverpool Echo’s 30 Under 30 list of ‘the young people changing the face of Liverpool in 2020’.

Dorcas Sebuyange is a Congolese multi-disciplinary artist specialising in drama, music and poetry. She is currently on BBC iPlayer with her piece called Buttercup. Her previous credits include Living Newspaper Edition 6 (Royal Court), Big Up! (Theatre-Rites & 20 Stories High) and Black Men Walking (Eclipse Theatre). As a musician, she has supported line-ups including UK artists Akala, Lady Leshurr, Sway and Lowkey. She has also worked with the BBC, Writing on the Wall, the International Slavery Museum, Savera UK and more in her time as spoken word artist.

Google the name ‘Lemn Sissay’ and all the returning hits will be about him because there is only one Lemn Sissay in the world. Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA-nominated award-winning writer, international poet, performer, playwright, artist and broadcaster. He has read on stage throughout the world: from the Library of Congress in the United States to the University of Addis Ababa, from Singapore to Sri Lanka, from Bangalore to Dubai, from Bali to Greenland AND Wigan Library. He was awarded an OBE for services to literature and charity by the Queen. Along with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Margaret Atwood, he won a PEN Pinter Prize in 2019. He is Chancellor of the University of Manchester and an Honorary Doctor from the Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester, Kent and Brunei. He is Dr Dr Dr Dr Lemn Sissay. He was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics and poet of the FA Cup.

Joy Warmington is the CEO of brap, where she is engaged in the development of many of brap’s training and development programmes. Joy’s area of expertise is leadership and organisational development, and she applies this lens to the work that brap does with boards and leadership teams. Her background is in anti-discriminatory practice and application, and her expertise has been sought after and recognised on numerous occasions by the Department of Health, the Cabinet Office, the Department of Education and the Care Quality Commission, to name a few. As a lifelong learner, Joy has an MSc in Organisational Development & Learning, a Certificate in Education PGCE, a Postgraduate Diploma in Multicultural Education and a Certificate in Process Work (from the Deep Democracy Institute, Oregon). Joy is a member of the NHS Leadership Faculty and currently delivers on a range of inclusive leadership programmes, including the delivery of Stepping Up programme to BME colleagues in the health sector. As a qualified teacher with years of experience, Joy knows how to design and deliver learning in ways that are innovative, fun and effective. She also has qualifications in bias, coaching, counselling, leadership and mediation.

Ngozi Ugochukwu is a photographer, filmmaker and performer, which has seen her act and do stand-up/sit-down comedy. Her work has been shown at HOME, Disability Arts Online, at a British Council conference in Hong Kong, and at DaDaFest International. Ngozi trained as a video editor and went to film school in Cuba where she produced, directed and edited an award-winning documentary about her travels and experience in Havana. Her more recent film, My Life: Mae’s Guide to Autism, can be seen on BBC iPlayer.

Xana is a freestyle live loop musician, sound artist, vibrational sound designer, archival audio producer, audio researcher and theatre-maker who deconstructs words to make improvisational performances, and composes scores for spaces with orchestral noise and thicc bass. Xana blends Caribbean magical realism and Afrofuturism in their live sets as a channel to burn down and build anew, inventing new streams of sonic layering and inviting people to be a part of making protest music. Xana is the instigator of SoulCase collective, a sound research, inventors and music-archive label for Black African and Caribbean people who invent new forms of musical creation.

Naomi Yeboah is a community learning disability nurse, actor, writer and producer. When she is not working in central Manchester with adults with learning disabilities, she is cultivating creative masterpieces.