Equality Advisory Board

As cis, white and non-disabled we recognise our privilege and the need for us to be taking action in support of those who face discrimination in everyday life and within the arts. 

 

We have set our focus on using the platforms available to support changes in the industry through wider, deeper and more democratised audience engagement. Our continued goal is to facilitate the work of discriminated groups to further the individual and as to raise awareness of this discrimination. 

Our hope is that we can build a diverse network of community leaders and spokespeople upon who we can consult to ensure both our work and the audience engagement and participation strategies we develop with consultancy clients are suitable for all. The advisory board members will also play a vital role in our future arts audience engagement research, through their opinions and suggestions. 

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George Collins

LGBTQ+ and Disability Advisor

I'm a twenty-one-year-old transgender man with multiple chronic illnesses currently undertaking a degree in English and Drama at Royal Holloway University. I pay particular attention to the interpretations of Queer bodies onstage and the potential of audience thinking.

 

As a reviewer for A Young Theatre, my writing is informed by the misrepresentation of mental illness onstage and how adequate research into such disabilities is of absolute necessity.

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Mariya Syed

South Asian Communities Advisor

I consider myself fortunate to have experienced the sub-continent's expression of art and its various forms, richly diverse in its tapestry and always relevant. It is a privilege and a personal passion to aid the representation of the South Asian community through Disconnected Bodies.

Read more about Mariya.

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Yasmin Lewis

Race and Ethnicity Advisor

I am pleased to say that I have been blessed to have worked in some of the most prestigious Theatres and organisations. I feel it is important to acknowledge the privileges and opportunities that those experiences have allowed me to embark on over the course of my career so far. Yet, I am aware that for many, some opportunities may seem impossible for a number of reasons beyond their control and influence.

Read more about Yasmin.

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Eli Court

Gender Identity and Neurodiversity Advisor

As a nonbinary and neurodiverse person, I have experienced first-hand the necessity of diversity and inclusion within the creative industry. Although I try to work with my differences rather than against them – the differences in how my brain functions, and the differences in my experience of gender and sexuality – it is extremely difficult to do so when you are made painfully aware of those differences all too often.

Read more about Eli.

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Elena Yianni

Young People and Ethnicity Advisor

I am a Greek Cypriot woman from a traditional,  working class family. I work in the arts industry as a passionate writer, director and facilitator. Equality and equity are very important to me, being from a ethnic background we get looked down on and treated as un-intelligent. It's very common for people like me to have jobs like being a cleaner that get taken for granted. I am proud to be Greek Cypriot woman, there is so much my culture, gender and religion has taught me. 

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Dinesh Sattee

Disability and Ethnicity Advisor

I am a person who has Asperger Syndrome. I would like to make sure the entertainments industry as a whole to be more inclusive and that ALL BAMEs are treated with the exact same respect as everyone. This needs to be addressed now because there is a lack of diversity within the entertainments industry, especially in backstage theatre. I feel it's important that everyone is represented and that everyone can reach the top to be successful. I feel it's important to focus on the 21st century on whats happening now rather than focus on the past.

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Nilima Banerji

Disability and Ethnicity Advisor

Despite the barriers that I have encountered throughout my career, I am pleased to say that I have worked in prestigious Arts Council funded organisations and have been actively involved in challenging systemic racism and disability discrimination for many years. I passionately believe in the value of the arts for all communities, yet I feel that more needs to be done to engage diverse audiences and to listen to people with lived experiences of marginalisation and discrimination.

Read more about Nilima

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Sharon Bennett and Sarah Dixon

Pregnancy and Mothering Advisors

We are Sharon Bennett & Sarah Dixon - collectively we are The Women’s Art Activation System. Our art practice is about rituals, and questioning established structures that inhibit & marginalise people, particularly female-identified people and those experiencing pregnancy, childbirth and mothering. We create frameworks and processes to highlight and activate women’s art and create opportunities for these experiences to be shared and honoured. We both have small children and a lived experience of the barriers that can confront us in our creative efforts.

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Angeline Lucas

Disability, Invisible/Chronic Illness and Neurodiversity Advisor

With 20 years experience working in the dance/performing arts industry and lived experience of disability, invisible/chronic illness and neurodiversity, I am excited to offer my expertise with the goal of increasing access to the arts and equity within the sector. In addition to my listed specialisms, I can also speak to other barriers to access, including relating to body type and financial/sociodemographical factors.