Salon / NetworkPopChange

Pop Culture and Social Change Retreat 2022



Wednesday, 12 - Friday, 14 October 2022


Dartington Trust, Dartington, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 6EL


By invitation. Join us for the public programme.


Hosted by


Salon / NetworkPopChange

Pop Culture and Social Change Retreat 2022

Counterpoints Arts is delighted to be hosting the 2022 Pop Culture and Social Change Retreat, bringing together a curated group of 50 change-making entertainment producers, artists, cultural innovators, activists and philanthropists at Dartington Hall, Devon (UK) from 12-14 October.

Produced as part of Counterpoints’ PopChange initiative, this year’s programme is being presented in partnership with Comic Relief, with support from Unbound Philanthropy, Open Society Foundations and Dartington Trust.

Taking place over two and a half days, the Pop Culture and Social Change Retreat 2022, brings together over 50 change-making entertainment producers, artists, cultural innovators, activists and philanthropists. In creating this reflective space, we aim to generate cross-sector exchanges, ideas and collaborations that will contribute to building long-term narrative power for displaced, migrant, Black and POC communities.

The retreat will focus on exploring displacement and migration narratives in scripted TV and film, and how to collaboratively produce nuanced and authentic storytelling. Our aspiration is to present projects and initiatives that drive social change and disrupt power structures through the creation and amplification of game-changing cultural content.


We are especially excited to have our discussions kick off with Sarah Asante, Commissioning Editor at UKTV (BAFTA-winning Famalam and Dreaming Whilst Black), and Rufus Jones, writer of the refugee comedy Home (Channel 4). Other highlights include the launch of the latest groundbreaking research on immigrant narratives in television presented by Define American and the Norman Lear Center

The retreat will feature work by a range of creatives and cultural producers, short inspirations and provocations, panel discussions, organised walks, workshops and plenty of informal networking and shared meals. The inspirations include creatives whose work has produced a lasting impact on our perceptions of displacement and migration, including Hassan Akkad — a Syrian filmmaker, activist and Associate Producer on Netflix’s The Swimmers (2022), and Kosar Ali, BAFTA-nominated actor from Rocks (2019). 

A public programme of events is featured alongside the retreat, presented in partnership with Dartington Trust, including:

We look forward to spending time together in the wonderful environment of Dartington — collectively imagining new projects and possibilities; thinking up both big and small ideas; and reflecting on the rich complexity of the everyday stories shaping migration and displacement.


Since the first Counterpoints Pop Culture & Social Change Retreat in 2018 and publication of the Unbound Philanthropy-supported report ‘How pop culture has the potential to catalyse social change in the UK’ (by Alice Sachrajda with Esme Peach), more creative teams in the UK are collaborating, producing and supporting narrative change initiatives. Recent examples of entertainment content focusing on lived experience of migration and displacement include Channel 4’s We Are Lady Parts and Home, highlighting the power of comedy to drive social change. Or Netflix’s His House where refugee experiences are navigated through the genre of horror. 

The 2022 retreat will draw inspiration from recent pop culture case studies, and the shared knowledge and experience of a fast growing network of creative practitioners and change-makers.

Scroll below to view and download the programme, and read bios of all participants.

WEDNESDAY, 12th October



  • A ‘fireside’ chat between Rufus Jones, creator of Channel 4’s comedy series Home, and Hassan Akkad, who consulted on the programme.

  • Sarah Asante (Commissioning Editor, UKTV) talks about impactful pitches and making shows like BAFTA-winning Famalam & Dreaming Whilst Black. In conversation with Suchandrika Chakrabarti (Co-Host, But Is It Funny).

  • Rashad Robinson (President, Color of Change) in a short clip from Counterpoints’ PopChange Salon Series, Southbank Centre, May 2022.

  • Suchandrika Chakrabarti leads an interactive discussion highlighting the pop culture examples that are moving us right now. With AWATE (Rapper/ Screenwriter), Nana Bempah (CEO, Pocc) and Sarah Lowe (Director of Research + Impact, Define American).
THURSDAY, 13th October

  • Arij Mikati (Managing Director of Culture Change, Pillars Fund) on championing Muslim artists behind the screen.

  • Erica Rosenthal (Director of Research, Norman Lear Center) and Sarah Lowe (Director of Research + Impact, Define American) share a preview of their latest ground-breaking report, in conversation with Alice Sachrajda (Co-Chair, Counterpoints Arts).

  • Queer Iraqi/Syrian/Assyrian performer, Yasmeen Ghrawi, on creating art and feeding writer’s rooms.

  • Industry models making impact in writer’s rooms and talent development, and how to sustain them. With Axa Hynes (Co-Director, We Are Bridge), Kosar Ali (Actor, Rocks), Nathalie McDermott (CEO, On Road Media) and Tolu Stedford (Co-CEO, Independent Film Trust). Chaired by Anu Henriques (Producer, Counterpoints Arts).

  • A workshop thinking through the architecture of a lived experience TV/film consultancy programme being developed by Counterpoints. Think of this as a work-in-progress sharing where we can collectively pull apart what we’ve been dreaming up (and hopefully put back together again), with the help of a few case studies, guest speaker Hassan Akkad (consultant on Netflix/C4 programmes), and lots of time for sharing experiences, thoughts, questions and possible future collaborations. Facilitated by Anu Henriques.

  • Understanding audiences across screens, arts venues and publishing —who they are, how to engage them, and how to commission work that connects. With Mia Bays (Director, BFI Film Fund), Ruth Hardie (Head of Public Programming, Southbank Centre) and Vidisha Biswas (Director, Footnote Press). Chaired by Tom Green (Senior Producer, Counterpoints Arts).

  • Jenni Regan (CEO, IMIX) on tackling mental health through daytime TV, and how to connect with migrant narratives.

  • Hannah Azuonye (Editorial/Operations Coordinator) and Nkenna Akunna (Co-Director) on how they commissioned Skin Deep’s season on Palestine.

  • Rebekah Delsol (Director of Strategy, Healing Justice London) on racial justice, structural change, and advising EastEnders.
FRIDAY, 14th October

  • K Biswas (Editor & Critic) reflects on cultural moments in the UK and the current windows of opportunity.

  • Ella Saltmarshe (Co-Founder, Reset Narratives/The Long Time Project) on how we galvanise public imagination and collective action to shape the future.

  • Reflecting on the network’s progress and emergence of the multi-funder Power of Pop Fund, Faiza Ali (Portfolio Manager, Comic Relief), Saphia Youssef (Learning Consultant, PoP Fund) and Alice Sachrajda (Consultant) help us map out the next decade towards ‘Pop x Change 2032’.

  • Kayza Rose (Founder) on creating BLM Fest to centre joy and celebrate Black lives.

  • Huda Jawad (1/3 of The Three Hijabis) talks about tackling racism through social media.


Ali Ghaderi


Ali is an actor and activist based in London working with different charities and organisations, including Our Second Home, Compass Collective and the British Red Cross. He has recently founded Babylon Project, which is dedicated to helping young refugees, asylum seekers and migrants find community through creative activities.

Alice Sachrajda


Alice is a consultant specialising in creative research, storytelling and strategic communications. She works as a cultural strategy consultant to Unbound Philanthropy and is currently an interim grants manager at John Ellerman Foundation. Alice is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and Co-Chair of Counterpoints Arts.

Almir Koldzic


Almir is the Director and Co-Founder of Counterpoints Arts. The main focus of his work so far has been on developing creative strategies and national networks for arts and refugees; building long term collaborations with leading inter/national arts, cultural, advocacy and philanthropic organisations; and curating and producing a wide range of commissions and programmes relating to displacement, diversity and social justice.

Annie Hall


Annie is Counterpoints Arts’ Operations Manager. Her background is in the fine art and gallery world, with a focus on supporting and shaping creative teams through organisational planning, training and wellbeing support.

Anu Henriques


Anu is the founder and co-director of Skin Deep, a collective that makes space for Black creatives and creatives of colour to work towards justice through cultural production. She is also the co-director of We Are Bridge, an organisation set up to ensure the legacy of new and emerging talent within the Film & TV industry and has been the Associate Director of Rocks (2019), a collaborative film about the joy of sisterhood.

Arij Mikati


Arij Mikati is the Managing Director of Culture Change at Pillars Fund, where she designs and leads programming that challenges damaging narratives about Muslims in the U.S. and amplifies Muslim voices in artistic spaces.

Awate Abdalla


Awate Abdalla is a critically acclaimed Eritrean writer based in London, focused on stories at the intersection of race, class and surrealism - with a dose of humour. He has produced a wide range of commissioned multimedia works mixing music, film, theatre and visual art.

Axa Hynes


Axa is an educator, facilitator and activist. She is Co-Director of We Are Bridge and Director of Access and Participation at RADA. Throughout her career Axa has consistently worked towards improving positive representation in the creative industries.

Caroline Wilson


Caroline Wilson is a writer and creative producer who loves storytelling, film and television. Since 2017, she has started her own film platform UNDR LNDN where she hosts events, screens films and supports local young filmmakers.

Clare Kiely


Clare has worked in the social change sector for over 20 years and is currently Managing Director at On Our Radar. On Our Radar’s mission is to amplify unheard voices working with communities so they can shape the future.

Dalia Al-Dujaili


Dalia is a British-born Iraqi freelance writer, journalist and producer. She is the Digital Editor of AZEEMA Magazine, Founder + Editor in Chief of The Road to Nowhere, Columnist at This Orient, and she has bylines in the Guardian, Huck, It’s Nice That, Elephant, Trippin’, Riposte, Notion, Cosmopolitan & more.

Dijana Rakovic


Dijana is a Senior Producer at Counterpoints Arts. Her role spans production, curation and participation, with special interest in racial and environmental justice. Dijana leads on the production of Counterpoints Arts’ music programme; Refugee Week UK London artistic programme, in collaboration with flagship cultural institutions; and supports the organisation’s commissioning strand, artists’ support and mentoring, and place-based projects.

Ella Saltmarshe


Ella works with narrative and culture to effect change in the world, co-founding organisations like The Long Time Project, Reset Narrative and The Comms Lab. She has been published in The Guardian, The Financial Times, ID, Wired, Monocle, Fast Company & Creative Review and is the host of the award-winning Long Time Academy Podcast.

Emily Bampton


Emily Bampton is an exciting new voice in comedy, recently shortlisted for BBC New Comedian of the Year 2022. She performs improvised comedy with the legendary Oxford Imps and is working on her first pilot for a comedy drama series, Cash Grab.

Emily Hoare


As Creative Director for the Dartington Trust, Emily manages the curation, production and delivery of a year-round programme of events that includes Festivals, Gigs, Family shows, a Gallery, an independent Cinema, Artists Residencies and a long established Music Summer School and Festival.

Emma Boyd


I have 20+ years experience working in the charity sector initially in arts management, on photography and film projects and later campaigning and communication projects that focused on prevention, behaviour change and awareness raising with partners in the UK and globally on issues related to gender-based violence and human rights. Over the last three years, I have been working at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation.

Erica Lynn Rosenthal


Erica Rosenthal is the Director of Research at the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California. At the Lear Center, she oversees a portfolio of research focused on the content, audiences, and impact of media narratives on a wide range of health and social issues, including health equity, climate change, immigration, gun safety, and mental health.

Faisal Attrache


Faisal Attrache is a writer, director and producer who tells stories about universal human experiences with a socially conscious message. His short docu-fiction film HASTA SIEMPRE, COMANDANTE (2016) won a Mention Spéciale du Jury at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

Faiza Ali


I currently manage the Power of PoP Fund at Comic Relief which aims to leverage the power of popular culture for social change around racial justice and migration. My background is in community organising and campaigning around access to education, safe housing, gender rights and racial equity for marginalised groups. I have also worked with a few charities and INGO’s including Barnardo’s, Oxfam, UNHCR Africa and the Anti-Tribalism Movement.

Hannah Azuonye


Hannah Azuonye is a creative freelancer from South London. Working both onstage and behind the scenes, she has a keen interest in multi-disciplinary practices. Depending on the day, she is a professional actor (Royal Shakespeare Company, West End, BBC, Shakespeare’s Globe, Amazon); a digital media planner and buyer (clients have included Barbican Centre, Southbank Centre, Somerset House); and a project manager (Skin Deep, Ballet Soul, World Heartbeat Music Academy).

Hassan Akkad


Hassan is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer. He was co-director of Netflix’s ‘Convergence’ and producer of two upcoming Netflix films ‘The Swimmers’ & ‘The Walk’. Hassan was part of the team that made ‘Exodus: Our Journey to Europe’ which won a BAFTA for Best Factual Series in 2017. Hassan’s memoir, Hope Not Fear, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2021.

Huda Jawad


Huda is an intersectional Muslim feminist and co-director of Musawah, an NGO fighting for equality of women in Muslim countries. She is co-founder of the Faith and VAWG Coalition, a space for organisations and activists working at the intersections of faith, feminism, violence against women and girls.

Hwa Young Jung


Hwa Young Jung is a multidisciplinary artist working in the arts, cultural and sciences, facilitating collaborative projects and workshops. She works with people to co-create projects, often using games and play to explore social issues.

Jake Lee


Jake is a social justice lawyer who worked in London, the US and the EU. After lockdown he now travels mainly between the fridge and his desk. Jake & Unbound are long term supporters of Counterpoints and the important work it does.

Jenna Al-Ansari


Jenna is a Creative Producer for OKRE. As an arts and culture producer she founded SuperCulture in east London, an influential arts residency programme championing groups such as gal-dem and the Vagina Museum. Jenna also is a writer and creative, with several projects in development with SISTER Pictures, Working Title, South of the River and 5 Acts Productions. Jenna also won the inaugural Screenshot 2021 for screenwriting, and is a member of the BAFTA Crew cohort.

Jenni Regan


Jenni was a BBC journalist and producer for nine years, and then moved into the charity sector as Head of Media Engagement at Mind. She joined IMIX directly from London Arts and Health, where she was Chief Executive, and built a strong organisation, supporting a network of creative grassroots organisations.

K Biswas


K Biswas is a critic and essayist who has written for the New Statesman, New York Times, The Nation, and the Times Literary Supplement on everything from populism to the politics of grime music. In 2019, he founded The Race Beat, a network for journalists of colour working in the UK, and is the Director of Resonance FM, and the editor of Representology: The Journal of Media and Diversity.

Kayza Rose


Kayza Rose is a dynamic creative producer, artistic director, filmmaker, BLM activist and cultural leader based in London, UK. For more than a decade, she has focused her work on creating change for Black and POC through a variety of editorial, creative and artistic endeavours for companies and community-based organisations. Kayza founded BLM Fest as a way to expand the narrative around Black Lives Matter.

Kosar Ali


Kosar Ali is an actor who was BAFTA nominated as Best Supporting Actress and won 'BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS' & 'MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER' at the 2021 BIFA Awards for her role as Sumaya on Rocks (2019). She is currently in post-production for a Starz-adapted TV series Dangerous Liaisons, based on Pierre Choderlos De Laclos’ classic 18th century novel.

Laith Elzubaidi


Laith Elzubaidi is Pop Culture & Social Change Producer at Counterpoints Arts. He is a British-Iraqi drama and comedy screenwriter, director, producer and Arts Facilitator. His scripts have won awards at The Edinburgh TV Festival and Soho House. He is the founder of the ‘British-Arab Writers Group’.

Lareb Naseem


Lareb is currently working at RAW within Talent, helping uplift and discover upcoming new and fresh talent. She was on the front cover of broadcast magazine April Edition discussing her journey breaking into the industry.

Laura Dalton


Laura is a Grants Manager at AB Charitable Trust, a grant-making Trust focused on human rights and human dignity. One of the Trust’s three focus areas is Migrants and Refugees. Prior to this, Laura was a Fellow with the International Human Rights Programme at the Oak Foundation and spent time looking at the narrative initiatives being supported through the programme.

Laura Lines


Laura is the Funding Manager and Lead for Social Change at the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which provides grants and social investments to improve our natural world, secure a fairer future and nurture creative, confident communities.

Loraine Mponela


Loraine Mponela is a migrants rights campaigner based in Coventry. She is from Malawi and has a lovely son and daughter in law. She joined the No Direction Home group in Coventry in 2021 and has performed at several gigs including at London’s Southbank Centre.

Marc Boothe


Marc is Founder and creative catalyst of B3 Media, a leading media arts network which has supported over 3,000 BAME creative artists over the last five years. He produces Talentlab, a successful talent development incubator programme for emerging creative artists and producers.

Marcia Chandra


Marcia is Creative Producer at Counterpoints Arts, working on the PopChange Initiative where she develops commissions, partnerships and network events around gaming, storytelling and narrative change. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

Mia Bays


Mia Bays is Director of BFI Film Fund, and an Oscar-winning twice BAFTA nominated creative producer working across fiction and docs, with a proven track record of launching careers with over 25 years experience in film on over 50 features.

Michael Sells


Michael's professional journey started as a Director of the UK’s first jungle music play at the Gordon Craig Theatre. Since then, he has worked as producer for Kae Tempest, Bola Agbaja and more. As Development Director for AudioActive, he established a hub for local music producers/ artists in Brighton. Michael started a Producing role at Dartington in March 2022, overseeing a live-arts offer, producing annual festivals and developing an outreach offer.

Naima Khan


Naima is Co-chair of the trustees of Counterpoints Arts and Director of Inclusive Mosque Initiative, an intersectional feminist charity. She is a writer and broadcaster contributing on topics including arts, faith and feminism.

Nana Bempah


Nana Bempah is an award-winning Executive Producer in film and advertising, and founder and CEO of Pocc - a community and organisation accelerating equality for ethnically diverse people in the creative industries, through non-traditional ideas, creativity, campaigns and activism.

Nathalie McDermott


Nathalie is a former journalist, and worked at the BBC, The Guardian, and Media for Development where she set up the Prison Radio Outreach Project in Wandsworth Prison. In 2008 she founded On Road Media. On Road brings people and media organisations together to inspire better media coverage and popular culture representations of issues, shifting public attitudes and driving popular demand for change.

Nkenna Akunna


Nkenna Akunna is an Igbo playwright and performer from London whose work primarily explores friendship, time, and various dimensions of Black femme life. She is also co-director at Skin Deep, a collective that makes space for Black creatives and creatives of color through cultural production.

Noelle Gilbert


Noelle is a Grants Manager at Paul Hamlyn Foundation, working across both the Migration and Integration and Education and Learning through the Arts teams. Her previous experience includes 12 years’ teaching ESOL and literacy in adult and further education, working as a Grants Manager at Volunteering England and providing training and organisational development support to women’s and refugee/migrant organisations at the Women’s Resource Centre and the Refugee Council.

Ornella Mutoni


Ornella Mutoni is an emerging documentary filmmaker, DJ and radio producer with two short films in development, driven to craft universal stories through the lens of misrepresented communities with a focus on social and transformational justice and intersectionality.

Rebekah Delsol


Dr. Rebekah Delsol (she/her) is the Director of Strategy for Healing Justice London. An experienced leader, programme manager, researcher and coach, with a passion for driving social change and supporting transformation.

Richard Ings


Richard Ings has worked in the cultural sector as a funder, evaluator, researcher, writer, editor, teacher and consultant for over 30 years. Richard went freelance in 1991, working for a wide range of clients, including Arts Council England, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and NESTA.

Rishi Ghosh-Curling


Rishi has over 10 years in the TV & Film industry working on a variety of factual programming. He cut his teeth for Feature Docs as Associate Producer on The Plan which was nominated for a Grierson Award at LFF 2018.

Rufus Jones


Rufus wrote and costarred in Home for Channel 4. The show was Bafta nominated and won an RTS award. As an actor, Rufus was most recently seen in Four Lives for BBC1. On TV, he is best known for W1A, Camping, Hunderby and The Casual Vacancy. His films include Stan & Ollie, Paddington, The Foreigner, Silent Night and the upcoming Wonka.

Ruth Hardie


Ruth Hardie is Head of Public Programming at Southbank Centre in London and leads the team responsible for curating the multi-artform Festivals, Seasons and site-wide live Public Programme across the 17 acre site.

Samir Patel


Samir is CEO of Comic Relief, whose mission is to use the power of humour and popular culture to engage people to help others, and raise money to support organisations working towards a just world free from poverty.

Saphia Youssef


Saphia is a Independent Learning Consultant for the Power of Pop Fund; a pooled fund supported by Comic Relief and Unbound Philanthropy, which supports organisations working at the intersection of popular culture and social change, with a particular focus on migration and racial justice.

Sarah Asante


Sarah Asante is a Scripted Commissioning Editor at multi-channel broadcaster UKTV responsible for scripted comedy shows on Dave and Gold. Sarah joined UKTV in April 2021 from the BBC and she has more than 16 years’ experience working in commissioning.

Sarah Lowe


Sarah E. Lowe is the Director of Research + Evaluation at Define American and a Ph.D. candidate in Health Promotion and Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Sarah is currently finishing her dissertation research, a mixed methods study called, “American Dreaming,” exploring resilience and post- traumatic growth of storytellers who use their personal narratives for immigration advocacy.

Shayane Lacey


Shayane is Counterpoints Arts’ Social Media Officer. Her background is in marketing and communications across charities, social enterprises, and other non-profit organisations. Prior to joining Counterpoint Arts, Shayane worked across social media, communications, and design roles for organisations such as Year Here, a postgraduate programme in social innovation based in East London, and Settle, a housing charity supporting young people moving into their first home.

Suchandrika Chakrabarti


Suchandrika is a stand-up comedian, writer and podcaster. She writes for Radio 4’s The News Quiz and The Now Show, and she made her comedy debut at Edinburgh Fringe this year, with her show I Miss Amy Winehouse. She also co-hosts Counterpoints Arts’ comedy discussion podcast, But Is It Funny?

Tim Parritt


Tim Parritt works with Oak Foundation’s International Human Rights Programme. He covers the portfolio areas of human rights defenders, closing civic space, detention/due process in immigration contexts and Myanmar.

Tolu Stedford


As Co-CEO of the Independent Film Trust, Tolu established the Power Talks series, engaging producers, executives and commissioners in productive conversation around increasing diversity and representation in UK film and TV.

Tom Green


I’ve worked at Counterpoints Arts since 2012, with a focus on artist and organisation support and network development. I produce our biennial Platforma festival and oversee our work relating to comedy including the No Direction Home stand-up collective and the But Is It Funny? podcast.

Tom Parry


Tom Parry is a screenwriter, director, comedian and podcaster. His debut feature film script “Your Christmas Or Mine” has just been filmed by Amazon Studio’s (release date November 2022). He is one-third of the award-winning ‘Pappy’s’, nominated twice for the Edinburgh Comedy Award, and has performed two sell-out solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe — ‘Parryoke’ in 2019 and ‘Yellow T-Shirt’ in 2015 for which he was nominated for the Best Newcomer Award and was adapted into the acclaimed Radio 4 series ‘Fancy Dressed Life’.

Tyler Luke Cunningham


Tyler is a highly accredited actor, singer, dancer and practitioner of performance education. His work so far includes: Spider Man Far From Home (Marvel), I May Destroy You (HBO/BBC One), Boy Meets Girl (BBC), Flack (UKTV) and Holby City (BBC).

Vidisha Biswas


Vidisha is co-founder and Managing Director of Footnote, a disruptive new publisher focusing on migration, identity and marginalised knowledge and experience. n advocate of alternative and disruptive business models, Vidisha launched Footnote in 2021 with video games industry pioneer Sujoy Roy, and in partnership with Bonnier Books UK.

Yasmeen Audisho Ghrawi


After a lifetime of learned censorship, Yasmeen, of Baghdad (also Syrian and Assyrian), is emerging to share joy, pleasure, and hairy relics of wisdom and truth. She trained at The London Contemporary Dance School before receiving a postgraduate training in Devised Theatre and Performance from Arthaus Berlin.