The theme of our conference this year is "Celebrating the achievements of Women of Colour" over the next 3 weeks we will be shining the spotlight of on our incredible speakers who are excelling in the Creative Industries and In Education.
Dr Nicola Rollock, Deputy Director, Centre for Research in Race & EducationDr Nicola Rollock is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race & Education at the University of Birmingham. She is interested in the ways in which we think about and address racism and, in identifying solutions to persistent race inequalities within the education system and the workplace.
Nicola is a trustee of the BritishEducation Research Association and a Patron of the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter, which seeks to improve the experiences, progression and success of faculty and students of colour. Nicola was the winner, in 2016, of the PRECIOUS Award for Outstanding Woman in Professional Services for contributions to race equality and, in 2015, was recognised as a Woman of Achievement by the Women of the Year Council.
Sunny Singh, Internationally acclaimed, award-winning writer and Academic
Her creative non-fiction and academic writing has been published across the world in key journals and anthologies. She also writes for newspapers and magazines, in Spanish and English, across the globe. She has worked as a journalist and management executive in Mexico, Chile, and South Africa. Currently, she teaches Creative Writing at the London Metropolitan University (UK). She is also a founder of the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour, intended to recognise and celebrate British writers of colour.
Cherrelle Skeete was born and raised in Birmingham. She graduated from the Central School of Speech & Drama in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in Acting, specialising in Collaborative and Devised Theatre. She trained under the direction of Complicite Associate, Catherine Alexander.
Cherrelle made her West End debut in 2012 in The Lion King as Shenzi cover and swing, and played Sister Sally in The Amen Corner at the National Theatre, directed by Rufus Norris, in 2013. Cherrelle's screen debut was in series four, episode two of BBC period drama, Call the Midwife playing Abigail Bissette. Later that year she played Viv in the hit BBC drama, Ordinary Lies, written by Danny Brocklehurst. Cherrelle is currently playing Rose Granger-Weasley, daughter to Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley) and Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni), in the original West End production of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.
Sobia Afridi, Brookes Bridges Manager, Oxford Brookes University
Sobia Afridi has worked in higher education for 22 years, on many different projects. This has included events such as the Step Up Conference, an event for Black and Minority Ethnic students with guest speakers who worked to motivate, engage and inspire the students. She was also involved in setting up the Asian young girl’s project to break down the barriers and myths that some Asian parents have and make it clear that higher education is accessible to Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls without compromising their religion.
She currently runs a project at the Oxford Central Mosque which aims to improve attainment in Maths and English and to increase students’ confidence at school. The scheme is targeted at students in years 5-11 studying at particular schools, with priority given to Black and Minority Ethnic students, students who live in areas with low rates of progression to higher education, and students whose parents didn’t attend university. The tutors are current students at Oxford Brookes University and also help to improve the children’s understanding and awareness of the benefits of higher education.
For the last three years she has run the Brookes Bridges programme. Brookes Bridges aims to increase participation in further and higher education among adults from areas with low progression to higher education in Oxfordshire and the surrounding area. In addition, the project seeks to contribute to the University’s OFFA targets by increasing the progression of learners from underrepresented groups to Oxford Brookes programmes on campus and in partner colleges.