This year we have 16 fantastic speakers that will deliver lightning talks on topics including from Health/Mental Health, Arts Heritage & Culture, Identity Relationships & Culture, Housing/Transport, Digital/Retail, Education Enterprise Skills & Employability, Digital Tech Public-Space & Communities and Relationship To Brum & Aspirations.
They will be weaving the fabric of the city together, representing themselves, topics they’re passionate about, and the world around them.
Liv Little - Founder and CEO of gal-dem
Liv is the founder and CEO at gal-dem, an online magazine and media platform run by women and non-binary people of colour.
Liv has spent time working within TV, most recently in commissioning in the factual department at the BBC where she developed a new strand focused on the history we aren't taught in schools. She also has experience working on a range of shows as researcher, producer and art director and in 2018 produced her first audio documentary for the Migration Museum. Liv has been voted as a Future Leader, a rising star at WOW and included in the inaugural BBC's 100 women series. Before this, she spent time working in a range of third sector organisations including Women for Refugee Women and the Simon community in Dublin. Liv is obsessed with storytelling and has written for a range of outlets including Feminists Don't Wear Pink, The Guardian, Wonderland and Elle Magazine. She has spoken to audiences of up to 10,000 people and been recognised as one of the top women speakers in Britain by the Dots.
Doreen Foster - Director at Warwick Arts Centre
Originally from the West Midlands Doreen Foster started her arts career as Executive Director of Kokuma Dance Company in Birmingham before joining the Arts Council for the West Midlands as Dance Officer with a remit to reinvigorate dance in the region and open up dance – contemporary and classic – to new audiences. From there she joined the Prince’s Trust for two years before taking up the role of Executive Director of Birmingham Partnership for Change, an organisation dedicated to addressing underemployment in black populations in Birmingham. She then joined the West Midlands Social Economic Partnership as Director before moving to the Arts Council as Director of the Chief Executive’s unit, overseeing the merger of three separate arts bodies into the new Arts Council England.
In September 2018 Doreen took up the position of Director at Warwick Arts Centre at an exciting time, as the organisation undergoes a major redevelopment project and prepares for Coventry City of Culture in 2021.
Tom Kirby - Mencap Ambassador
Tom Kirby is a young adult who lives in Birmingham with disabilities and suffers from mental health. Despite this Tom has managed to build quite the name for himself. From being part of the first gold medal winning England Para Hockey team at the 2017 European Championships in Amsterdam. To starting to have a wider impact online by sharing his life experiences and challenges through blogs, short stories as well as hosting an interview style podcast for Midland Mencap. He wears his heart on his sleeve in these digital endeavours in the hope that his own experience of overcoming these challenges can inspire someone in a similar situation to live the life they want to lead
Liza Belozerova - Program Manager at Google.org
I work for Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, overseeing our grant portfolio focused on the future of work in Europe and Africa. Radio host in my former life, I previously designed community development initiatives in East Africa and built an education programme in digital citizenship for Google UK. I'm passionate about creating multimedia content, tech for good, innovation for social impact and storytelling as a vehicle for empathy in the time of unprecedented technological change. I'm also a founder of How Is Africa, a social enterprise that created an open blogging platform for African youth.
Tobi Kyeremateng - Founder Of Black Ticket Project
Tobi Kyeremateng is an award-winning Cultural Producer with 8 years experience in live performance, festivals and film. She produced short films ‘Wishbone’ and ‘Secret Life of Gs’ written and directed by Caleb Femi and has worked for and collaborated in programming for organisations such as Bush Theatre, Old Vic Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Apples and Snakes, AFROPUNK London, gal-dem and #MERKY Books Live. She’s the founder of Black Ticket Project and was named as part of The Stage 100’s‘Most Influential Figures Working in the UK Theatre and Performing Arts Industry’. Tobi won the ‘Inspiration of the Year’ Award at Stylist Magazine’s first Remarkable Women Awards, received recognition fromThe Mayor of London as part of the Hidden Credits campaign and has delivered a talk at TEDxSussex University.
Rob Valentine - Regional Director
Rob Valentine is Regional Director from Bruntwood in Birmingham and has worked in the city for eight years. In this time he has become a passionate advocate for the city and the West Midlands, both its strengths and its opportunities and in helping it to thrive even further.
For Rob and for Bruntwood this also means supporting communities, arts and culture in Birmingham, understanding that they are key components to a city’s quality of life, enriching values and beliefs and creating an identity, as well as being powerful economic drivers.
Atif Ali - Founder Of Insight WestMids
Atif is the Founder of INSIGHT WESTMIDS. A platform, which is a community interest company, set up to increase a better understanding of the public sector. Atif was born and raised in inner-city Birmingham (Small Heath). He graduated in 2015 (LLB Law) from the University of Wolverhampton and then went on to graduate from the University of Birmingham with a Masters in Law in 2017. He is on a graduate scheme at Birmingham City Council in the Inclusive Growth Directorate. He is involved in the compulsory purchase order for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Luisa Omielan - Comedian ‘What Would Beyonce Do?!’
Comedian Luisa Omielan is BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brit for 2019. She is known for her incredible solo shows ‘What Would Beyonce Do?!’, ‘Am I Right Ladies?!’ and ‘Politics for Bitches’. Luisa’s USP is bringing serious and difficult subjects to the surface, but making them accessible and presenting them in such a funny way, that you’ll listen.
Eugene Thabo Hilton - Young Photographer
I was born in Gaborone, Botswana on the 8th of November 1995. I have a passion for photography that was most probably influenced from travels as a child due to my fathers career (I've lived in over 5 African countries) which is also probably the reason why I have such an open mind and great interpersonal skills.
Being a biracial 23 year old I've always struggled with my identity and where I belong, having grown up predominantly in Africa its excited to live somewhere so different and learn more about not just my British heritage but that of minoritizsed youth who have to cope with similar problems and cultural differences and that's what drew me to Don't settle, and even though i just started its already been an insightful and eye opening experience and Im excited to get involved with such an amazing cause.
VITAL - Music Artist
December 2016, VITAL released an e.p entitled "POWERS" that hit the iTunes Hip Hop top 20 charts, April 2017 VITAL decided to them put on his own SOLD OUT Headline show and brought the city of Wolverhampton together and the night was a success without fault.
Engineering and creatively directing his own music and videos has birthed much online and public success with approximately 2,000,000 Youtube views collectively including on his personal Channel. 5 music videos featured on Channel AKA and television appearances on MADEinBrum + BBC 1's Midlands Today.
Consistent support and radio play from the likes of BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and WM. His music had led to iTunes releases, and the opportunity to travel and live in Spain for 3 months, Cyprus for 2 months and America for 1.