Kadija George Sesay, Black British Magazines 1990–1999: Collecting Qualitative Data Using Oral History Methods
Kadija, FRSA, Hon. FRSL, works in literary project management and creative professional development with adults and young people of African descent. She received her PhD from Brighton University and her current project builds on her thesis on Black British Publishing and Pan-Africanism to be published by Africa World Press. She is the Publications Manager for Inscribe/Peepal Tree Press, for which she has commissioned a series of anthologies in Black British literature, the latest one being GLIMPSE: Speculative Fiction by Black British Writers (2022). She has edited/co-edited anthologies for other publishers too. The objectives of her project on Black British Magazines in the 90s were to begin recording the histories of the Black British magazine publishers of that period and to do so through an experimental method of the public collective interview. She is currently developing her Arts Council funded-project AfriPoeTree, a Selective Interactive Video of Poetry and Pan-African History and has also published and broadcast her own creative work including a poetry collection, Irki (2013). In 2020 she received an MBE for services to Literature and an Honorary Fellowship from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Devika Mehra, Diversity and Children's Museums/Libraries: A Transnational Study
Devika is a Post-doctoral Research Associate in the School of English Literature, Language, and Linguistics at Newcastle University. Her current research project combines two interconnected strands: exploring the importance of archival material of Grace Nichols/John Agard, Grace Hallworth, and Valerie Bloom to address issues of race and diversity in archive centres and museums; and the role of young people's voices in increasing representation in children's book awards and prize culture. Before this she was a Fellow at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek, Munich, in 2020. She worked on select British children's fantasy literature by women writers to understand the generic development of and the construction of childhood in 20th-century children's fantasy. Her doctoral thesis defined and analysed the evolution of children's cinema as a genre in India, its emergent trends and transitions. Her areas of interest include 20th-century middle-grade children's fiction (British, American and South Asian), children's cinema (non-Western and Western), global and South Asian film studies, contemporary graphic novels and digital texts for children, and transnational digital media politics. She has worked as a Lecturer in the Department of English (University of Delhi) from 2015 to 2019 and has taught modules on contemporary and 20th-century literature and academic writing to undergraduates.
Yewande Okuleye, Multilingual Black Voices: Community Poetry as a Self-Care Tool for Liberatory Practice
Yewande's interdisciplinary research praxis in science, health humanities, literature, art, cultural history, and public engagement investigates methods and systems which reveal and recover overlooked, misrepresented, and forgotten histories. She received her PhD from the University of Leicester and her thesis on the emergence of medical cannabis provided policy insight (Written evidence to the Select Committee for the Government Review on Cannabis), Public Engagement (BBC expert, The Conversation), Patient Engagement (PLEA trustee), and Drug Reform (Transform trustee). Yewande invokes art, music, poetry, performance, dialogic learning, and collaborative writing as channels to encourage critical thinking and discussion about blackness, social identity, and power. Her new project investigates multilingual poetry as an emancipatory and liberatory practice for marginalized populations. She is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a published poet herself, recently commissioned to author a poem to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Anne Hathaway Shakespeare’s death (in Anne-Thology: Poems Re-Presenting Anne Shakespeare, 2023), and the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio. She has taught at the University of Oxford, Cambridge, Leicester, Liverpool, and the University of the Arts.
Annie Webster, Stories of the Syrian New Scots: Dispersed Geographies and Digital Storytelling in COVID-19 Refugee Arts
Annie is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh. She received her PhD from SOAS, University of London, in 2020. Her research focuses on contemporary Arabic literature and culture, particularly how cultural production in the Middle East engages with experiences of conflict and forced migration from the region. Her current project, 'Stories of the Syrian New Scots: Resettlement Geographies in Refugee Arts,' looks at storytelling practices among Syrian refugees resettled in Scotland, especially in rural and remote communities. Her work has been published in Comparative Critical Studies, Wasafiri, and Literature & Medicine. She has taught Arabic literature at the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and SOAS.