Recovery & Reimagining the Literature Sector: Keynote by Joy Francis
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and the UK’s cautious steps out of lockdown, do we want to go back to ‘business as usual’?
We are delighted to welcome Joy Francis, Founder and Executive Director of Words of Colour, for a keynote lecture. Drawing on her extensive background as a creative entrepreneur within the literature sector, and placing post-Covid recovery into the wider context of recuperation and inclusion, Joy will use examples of best practice to offer practical in ways in which the sector can embed transparency, collaboration and meaningful action at its heart, develop and retain talent, and pave the way for innovation.
Following her keynote, Joy will be interviewed by journalist and author Chitra Ramaswamy.
About the speakers
Joy Francis’ diverse career covers journalism, policy development, academia, literature, digital enterprise, curation, production, film, PR and creative entrepreneurship, both here and abroad. She is the founder and executive director of Words of Colour Productions, a Creative Development and Communications Agency for writers, artists, creatives and entrepreneurs of colour, and collaborates, co-curates and co-creates with organisations and institutions that are ready to actively commit to systemic transformation programmes that inspire and facilitate inclusion, action and social impact.
She is also co-founder and lead of Digital Women UK which facilitates female creatives, emerging and established entrepreneurs and women in tech to fully engage with digital entrepreneurship, run in partnership with entrepreneurship academic Dr Angela Martinez Dy and Loughborough University of London.
A longstanding campaigner on mental health and wellbeing, and for inclusion in media and publishing, Joy is co-founder and co-director of the award-winning Synergi Collaborative Centre, developed in partnership with the University of Manchester, Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Oxford, to transform ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness through science, co-creation, collaborative leadership and creativity.
Joy also worked with the Media Diversity Institute to create the world’s first Diversity and the Media MA at the University of Westminster in 2013 and along with renowned virologist and international development specialist Dr Sheila Ochuboju, she co-founded the world’s first African Science Cafes for the British Council Southern Africa which was then adapted for Kenya. She was also the inaugural project manager for the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships (in an independent capacity).
Joy is one of Eastside Community Heritage’s ‘Woman of Colour Trailblazer’ 2019, and she was selected for the UK’s first Museum of Colour’s People of Letters Digital Gallery 2019 as a literature influencer, alongside literary legends such as Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Busby.
Chitra Ramaswamy is a journalist and author. Her first book, Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy, published by Saraband in April 2016, won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize. She has contributed essays to Antlers of Water, Nasty Women, The Freedom Papers, The Bi:ble, and Message From The Skies. She is a features writer and TV critic for the Guardian, is the restaurant critic for The Times (Scottish edition), a columnist for the National Trust for Scotland, and broadcasts regularly for BBC Radio Scotland. She lives in Edinburgh with her partner, two young children and rescue dog, and has recently completed her second book, which will be published by Canongate in 2022.
Presented by the National Centre for Writing and British Council as part of the International Literature Showcase, a nationwide project to showcase the diversity of writers working in the UK to an international audience. With support from Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.