he International Advisory Group (IAG) carries advisory responsibility for the project, supporting the Creative Interruptions team and advising on the development of the project’s plans and milestones.
Yudhishthir Raj Isar (IAG Chair)Professor of Cultural Policy Studies
Professor Yudhishthir Raj Isar straddles different domains of cultural theory and practice. His research, writing and public speaking take up key issues of cultural policy across the world. He joined The American University of Paris in 2002 and was a Jean Monnet professor from 2003 to 2008. He has also been a Maître de Conférence at Sciences Po. In 2011-2013 he was an Eminent Research Visitor with the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, Australia, where he is an adjunct professor through 2016. Isar was also the founding co-editor of the five volumes of the Cultures and Globalization Series (SAGE) and has authored many book chapters and articles in scholarly journals. In 2004-2008, he was president of the European arts and culture platform Culture Action Europe. He is a trustee of cultural organizations in Europe, Asia and North America and consultant to international organizations and foundations, as well as the European Commission. In 2013, he was the principal investigator and lead writer for the UN Creative Economy Report 2013. Widening Local Development Pathways; the scientific coordinator of the European Union’s inquiry ‘Culture in EU External Relations’ and the principal author of its 2014 report Engaging the World: Towards Global Cultural Citizenship. In 2015, he edited the monitoring report on the implementation of the 2005 cultural diversity Convention entitled Re|Shaping Cultural Policies. Earlier, at UNESCO, he was notably the executive secretary of the World Commission on Culture and Development, director of cultural policies and of the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture. In 1986-87, he served as the first executive director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and MIT.
Benjamin ZephaniahProfessor of Poetry and Creative Writing
Professor Benjamin Zephaniah was one of the pioneers of the performance poetry scene in Britain. He was part of the ‘school’ known as the ‘Dub Poets’. These were poets that work alongside reggae music. He has spent most of his life performing around the world in schools, universities, concert halls, and in public spaces.
His poetry is noted for mixing serious issues with humour, and being accessible to a wide range of people. He is able to perform in children’s nurseries or political rallies, and his strongest area of interest is looking at how poetry works in performance and its relationship to music.
He has also written novels for young adults, and plays for radio and stage. Although his music is rooted in reggae, his recordings now have many influences including, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Dubstep. He contributes to many radio programmes and has presented documentaries on radio and television concerning literature, culture, race and politics.
He is the patron of 35 organisations, including Haven Distribution, which sends books to prisoners. Aik Saath, which helps to bring together young people of all and no faith. Inquest, an organisation that supports the families of those who have died whilst in custody, and The Vegan Society of Britain. Although he came to academia via an unusual route, he is currently visiting professor at De Montfort University Leicester, and Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Brunel University.
David GrantSenior Lecturer in Drama in the School of Creative Arts
David Grant is a Senior Lecturer in Drama in the School of Creative Arts at Queen’s University, Belfast, where has worked since 2000. A former Managing Editor of Theatre Ireland magazine, Programme Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival, and Artistic Director of the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, he continues work as a theatre director alongside his academic work, having recently directed revivals of Owen McCafferty’s Mojo Mickybo for Bedlam Theatre Company, Patrick McCabe’s Frank Pig Says Hello! For An Grianan Theatre, and Oscar Wilde at Home, a site-specific event in Florence Court House in Enniskillen for the Wilde Weekend. He has a long association with youth and community-based arts, most recently devising Days in the Bay with the Tiger’s Bay Men’s Group in Belfast. Publications include Playing the Wild Card for the Community Relations Council, and The Stagecraft of Brian Friel for Greenwich Exchange Books. He was director of the 1st Brian Friel Summer School, which took place in August 2015 in Redcastle, Donegal.
EJ Milne Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
Dr. EJ Milne is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University; a Research Associate at the African Centre for Migration and Society, Witwatersrand University, South Africa; the UK co-representative on the Pool of European Youth Researchers (PEYR), an expert panel established by the European Commission and the Council of Europe to advise on European youth policy and research; and Vice President of the International Sociological Association Visual Sociology Group (WG03). Her research focuses on the process, politics and ethics of knowledge production with particular regard to people in transition and / or affected by conflict. This includes people identifying as LGBTQI, migrants and refugees and young people. Her recent publications include ‘Visual activism and social justice: making young people’s lives visible across ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces’, ‘Critiquing participatory video: experiences from around the world’, ‘Wee favours, everyday help and support: the Glasgow Study’, and The Handbook of Participatory Video.
Fatima Manji Correspondent for Channel 4 News
Fatima Manji is a Correspondent for Channel 4 News and regularly reports on a range of national and international stories. Her broadcasting has included telling the story of the migration crisis from the borders of Europe, interviewing victims of ISIS atrocities in Iraq and challenging politicians here in the UK during the referendum campaign. She also occasionally presents the programme from the studio. Fatima has won a number of awards for her journalism and in 2015 she was a finalist for the Royal Television Society’s Young Journalist of the Year. During the last General Election she presented Britain’s first ever Alternative Election Debate featuring young party leaders facing a live audience on Channel 4. Fatima joined Channel 4 News in 2012 and previously worked as a reporter and video journalist at the BBC. She studied at the London School of Economics and grew up in Peterborough.
Hamid Dabashi Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature
Professor Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He received a dual Ph.D. in Sociology of Culture and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He wrote his dissertation on Max Weber’s theory of charismatic authority with Philip Rieff (1922-2006), the most distinguished Freudian cultural critic of his time. Professor Dabashi has taught and delivered lectures in many North American, European, Arab, and Iranian universities. Professor Dabashi has written eighteen books, edited four, and contributed chapters to many more. He is also the author of over 100 essays, articles and book reviews on subjects ranging from Iranian Studies, medieval and modern Islam, and comparative literature to world cinema and the philosophy of art (trans-aesthetics). His books and articles have been translated into numerous languages, including Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Russian, Hebrew, Italian, Arabic, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Urdu and Catalan.
His books include Authority in Islam (1989); Theology of Discontent (1993); Truth and Narrative (1999); Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future (2001); Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran (2000); Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema (2007); Iran: A People Interrupted (2007); and an edited volume, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema (2006). His most recent works are Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire (Routledge, 2008) and Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in Time of Terror (Transaction Publishers, 2009).
Jabeen Maqbool Expert in Community work
Jabeen Maqbool has a background in Law, commencing her career as a Legal Practitioner in the Asylum and Human Rights field. She went on to obtain a Certificate in Further Education Teaching and taught English within the Life Long Learning Sector in Bradford. Her keen interest in Community work led to her establishing and managing StepUp Community Association in April 2010. StepUp is a Peterborough based Charity working to enhance the lives of marginalised communities. The organisation specialises in engaging with young people and uses thought provoking workshops and interactive theatre to challenge and change mindsets. Jabeen’s experience and valuable knowledge of the local community in Peterborough enabled her to take on the role of Assistant Production Manager in the Places for All Project in partnership with the University of Sussex. She worked closely with the Director in engaging with local talent and audiences to deliver a successful community theatre across a number of venues in the city. The production drew upon the migration histories of local residents both past and present. Jabeen followed this up by organising a celebratory end of project event to acknowledge the vital contribution of all participants towards documenting their oral histories.
Karen SaltAssistant Professor and Co-Director, Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) at The University of Nottingham
Dr Karen Salt is Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) at The University of Nottingham. She is a scholar of race, sovereignty, power and politics, and looks in particular at how those issues intersect in the Caribbean and African diaspora. Using interdisciplinary methodologies, Karen’s work unveils the global challenges that these nations faced or continue to face and the ways that they have politically responded to them. Years of considering the impact of racial and political discourses on these nation-states has led to a broader interest in the ways global minority communities marshal their collective power and participate in local, national and international governance structures. Within the last few years, Karen has begun exploring the role of trust within minority communities in the UK and participating and co-leading a number of cross-sector equality and diversity initiatives. She is currently leading or involved with a number of collaborative research projects and aims to continue to build a community of scholars working on questions of race, rights and sovereignty.
Richard Harper Professor of Computer Science
Professor Richard Harper is currently Co-Director of the Institute of Social Futures at the University of Lancaster and Professor of Computer Science at the same institution. Previously, he has led research groups at Xerox (Euro) Parc and Microsoft, and was the director and founder of The Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey. He has founded and jointly led start-up companies with clients that have included Hewlett Packard, Vodafone, and Stora Enso, and continues to consult for many of the world’s most ambitious companies through Social Shaping Research (Cambridge). He is a Fellow of the IET and of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2014, the ACM elected him a Fellow of its Academy in honour of leadership in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the College of Science at the University of Swansea, Wales.