Leah Francis is the Outreach Manager and Co-founder of Speak Woman Speak theatre collective. The Company formed in February 2013, and seeks to highlight hidden voices of diverse women. Work by the company includes: Loss, Unknown and Soledad & Betto funded by Arts Council England. The company’s work has been performed at Yorkshire Dance and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Slunglow’s The HUB in Leeds, at Fira B Theatre Festival in Palma De Mallorca Spain. Their current piece in development is White Walls, a piece about Mental Health and Black Spirituality. Leah is also a youth theatre practitioner at Freedom Studios. As an actor she has performed for companies such as Red Ladder and Chickenshop Shakespeare. She has experience in directing for companies including Mind the Gap and Tribe Arts.
Seki Lynch is a literary creative – he writes facts, fiction, poetry and lyrics. He is the author of a work of non-fiction, Ten Drinks that Changed the World, which is a compendium of ten different alcoholic spirits. Seki’s poetry has appeared online and in several print anthologies. He has written poetry for the V&A Museum, inspired by the museum’s collections as well as creating poems to contribute to their Refugee Week programme. The Creative Reactions Festival saw Seki work in collaboration with scientists such as Professor David Nutt to explore interdisciplinary practices. Before the world stopped spinning, he was a regular fixture at the Curious Arts Festival. Even with the globe at a standstill, he reads regularly at Celine’s Salon. He was shortlisted for the Grindstone Literary Poetry prize in 2018. Seki writes lyrics for various genres including blues and rock. He has been working on a novel, Chartreuse, since 2012. It is a meditation on love and romance… You’ll understand then, why it’s taking so bloody long. He currently lives in Leeds. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Westminster under the tutelage of Dr Michael Nath.
https://www.instagram.com/seki_lynch/?hl=en (Instagram), https://sekilynch.journoportfolio.com/ (online portfolio)
Sheila Freeman is a recent University of Leeds MA Communication and Media graduate. She has a varied background in paid and voluntary work settings, within education, counselling, IAG/careers guidance, community arts and oral history projects, to name but a few. In recent years, she has developed a passion for social research with a widening participation, accessibility and inclusion focus.
Participatory research – especially that which facilitates change for the betterment of marginalised communities and individuals – is a developing interest. During the last year, Sheila worked in social research in the field of social entrepreneurship and greatly enjoyed engaging with leaders of communities who were using their lived experience to tackle challenging social issues and create employment opportunities for themselves, and consequently creating better lives for their families and the wider community.
Writing is her passion, and she has been involved with Leeds Playhouse, as a playwright,
researcher/writer and Creative Engagement Community Ambassador (as well as in the occasional choir performance), for the last few years.
A proud and proactive Chapeltown, Leeds resident, she was privileged to have been a part of the small team involved in the research, museum collection drives and exhibition administration for the wonderful Jamaica Society Eulogy Project, in 2019.
Asher Gammon has worked in various roles as a freelancer within the arts and community sector and completed a MA in Peace Studies. He’s worked as an action researcher with young refugees, as well as a workshop facilitator and sports coach. In both Ghana and Malawi he was engaged as a youth support worker working on creative solutions to the issues of sexual and reproductive health, and the related issue of school attainment. Most recently he has worked to produce written and visual documents of projects in the cultural and heritage sector, often supporting and overseeing aspects of Armstrong Cameron’s work.
Recently he has begun to develop his own project which concerns the narratives of blues music.
Video teaser of a new project, with further information within the description:
Working at the Wellcome Colleciton sometimes you have to think beyond who we already know. When I came across Armstrong Cameron I realised they would be a great fit for our evaluation of our Public Programme Collaborators project. They were professional, sensitive as well as innovative in approach. We needed a team that could speak both with internal and external people to ensure we were listening to our collaborative process. The team delivered on time and even went over and above what we thought we needed. We are grateful to the process developed as well as the manner in which we received our report. We now know our collaborators better and their needs as a result of this research evaluation project.
Teresa Cisneros, Inclusive Practice Lead , Wellcome Collection.
Armstrong Cameron delivered a stakeholder consultation for Kala Sangam which has proved pivotal in helping shape the company’s future. During the consultation, they effectively engaged groups with a range of strong views, handling potentially tricky situations diplomatically and with empathy and understanding. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. Alex Croft, Creative Director – Kala Sangam
We’ve been working with the team at West Yorkshire Queer Stories for the past couple of years, walking alongside them as they brought this brilliant project to life – a great example of what’s possible when you bring a strong community development approach to a heritage project. Visit https:/wyqs.co.uk for stories, animations, films and resources.
It’s been a pleasure working with Wellcome Collection over the past few months. We’ve produced a set of observations and learning which we have worked through with the Public Programme team, supporting them in setting priorities for action.
Over the course of the assignment, we engaged with over 80 individuals including international artists working at the intersection of art, science and health. We’ve spoken to curators, authors, access specialists, broadcasters and scientists. It’s been fascinating to have been given a privileged insight into the inner workings of the Collection.
We very much look forward to seeing what springs from the work.
On a cold and miserable December evening just before Xmas, it was heartening to see people turn up to contribute to a stimulating focus group at Kala Sangam – one of Bradford’s landmark arts and cultural organisations. Huge thanks to all who joined us – some from as far away as Leicester – to talk about the organisation’s current and future offer.
Just returning to Leeds having spent a couple of fruitful days working with Wellcome Collection to gain an understanding of how it works with its collaborators to create stimulating perspectives on arts, health and science through its Public Programme. Huge thanks to Wellcome staff and external collaborators for their thoughtful and candid insights at the focus groups and individual interviews.