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 Artistic Director of Liverpool grassroots Black arts festival named Merseyside Woman of the Year 2022

Grassroots Black arts festival Director named as Merseyside Woman of the Year 2022.

BlackFest’s co-founder, Jubeda Khatun took home the prestigious award at a ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza Liverpool last month.

The festival was established in 2018 to answer a crucial need in Liverpool to celebrate black artists, with an aim to educate empower and improve equality in the arts.

The Liverpool grassroots organisation also prides itself on nurturing a vibrant arts community throughout the year via educational projects and an annual festival programme, which includes music, dance, visual arts, film, literature, theatre community productions and education.

BlackFest has built a city-wide reputation for using arts for social and community cohesion, as well as making arts accessible for underrepresented & underdeveloped groups with positive outcomes in well-being, employment, further training and championing leadership.

Jubeda – who is also a trustee of Awesome Liverpool and Liverpool Soup – said: 

“It’s so amazing to be named Merseyside Women of the Year. I am really happy to get this recognition. This is not just for me but it’s for all the Muslim women and women of colour who dream of being leaders, who dream of leading organisations and making a positive impact in society at the same time.

“I hope that seeing me here, winning this award will inspire more women who look like me to believe that they can do the same. Women are amazing and together we can make change. I am so happy to have received this award it dismantled what a leader looks and sounds like.

“This is also a win for neurodiverse female leaders; women of colour which carry visible barriers. I finally got diagnosed with ADHD in February this year and am on a journey finding support.”

MWOTY 2022, which was hosted by Liverpool entertainer, Pauline Daniels, enjoyed a return for its first in-person awards ceremony since 2019, celebrating a host of courageous and inspirational women.

At the event, Jubeda was also named the winner of the Arts & Culture category, presented by Lady Anne Dodd, for her work with BlackFest.

MWOTY founding director, Ellie Kerr, said:

“It’s been absolutely glorious to be back and celebrating the amazing women in our region. The emotion and excitement in the room was just incredible.

“I would like to congratulate our Woman of the Year 2022, Jubeda, not just on her win at the awards, but for all the work she has done since establishing BlackFest in 2018.”

Jubeda herself continued: “To everyone who has had a part to play in supporting the BlackFest vision – our partners and institutions, artists, activists, and board staff past and present – I am grateful and have enjoyed every second knowing you, platforming you and supporting your talent.

I will always be looking at ways to curate and provide more working opportunities for Black artists in Merseyside.

I want to thank everyone who nominated me, the MWOTY organisers, Ellie Kerr and sponsors Hill Dickinson and all the incredible finalists and winners. I made sure I celebrated all the women and in particular the black and woman of colour in the room that day.

It was great to see the diversity at MWOTY this year and hopefully more the coming years.”

The BlackFest Board of Directors said: “We are so proud as a board that BlackFest and, in particular, Jubeda Khatun, has been awarded for Arts, Culture and Media and named overall Merseyside Woman of the year in recognition of her achievements over the last four years.

She created the initial momentum and sustained the organisation through the turbulent times of Covid, embedding firmly in the heart of the community and igniting a need and passion for Black Arts.

BlackFest was established in 2018 to answer a crucial need in Liverpool to celebrate black artists. Its aim was to bridge the gap between institutions and marginalised communities, and to empower and platform local Black artists.

Since our pilot in 2018 and first full festival a year later, BlackFest has been constantly busy with educational projects, multi-arts showcases and even retreats for our community – working with amazing people and partners towards a common goal.

It is a model and infrastructure that has shifted cultural ecology in Liverpool and we are seeing more work and efforts to continue the legacy. Jubeda continues to build up; her drive, determination and vision has made BlackFest what it is today. Truly inspirational. Thank you to all who have supported BlackFest over the years and voted for Jubeda.”

BlackFest’s festival programme will return in autumn 2022 with a grand launch at the Sefton Park Palmhouse on 1st September.

The week-long series of events will then run from 24th September to 2nd October, with performance, film screenings and conversation taking in venues such as the Pierhead, Unity Theatre, Philharmonic Hall Music Room, Hope Street Theatre, Granby Winter Gardens, FACT and more.

Up next for BlackFest however is a date in Manchester with their acclaimed Live Lounge heading outside Liverpool for the first time, in collaboration with The Poetry Place. The event will take place this Thursday evening, 4th August at ARMR store.

More information on all of BlackFest’s latest projects and events can be found via their Linktree on https://linktr.ee/blackfest.

READ MORE: More shows added to line-up of Liverpool Theatre Festival

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