Salon / NetworkPopChange

PopChange X Platforma Youth Retreat 2019

Two PlayStation console controllers.



Monday, 21 - Tuesday, 22 October 2019


Gulbenkian, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NB

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Hosted by

Counterpoints Arts as part of Platforma 5 Festival

In partnership with Gulbenkian

Supported by Unbound Philanthropy


Salon / NetworkPopChange

PopChange X Platforma Youth Retreat 2019

Photo by on Unsplash

We’re hosting a two day youth-focused PopChange Retreat as part of the 5th Platforma Festival.

From gaming and hip hop, to vlogging, film and much more, we’re especially interested to hear from young people about what role pop culture might play in making social change around migration and displacement happen.

In the room will be artists, activists, media makers, cultural actors and young influencers. We have deliberately invited a rich mix of people who might not have previously worked together but who are (ideally) open to new ways of connecting, collaborating and co-producing.


Awate // Corey Brotherson // Florent Maurin // Hisham Hasan // Mo Afridi (Rize Up) // Momtaza Mehri // Paul Bonham (Music Manager’s Forum) // Samuel Kalejaiye // Sashwati Mira Sengupta // Shay D // Nike Jonah, Dijana Rakovic, Tom Green & Salma Ibrahim (Counterpoints Arts)

PopChange is a pioneering project from Counterpoints Arts exploring how the power of pop culture can be harnessed for social change — shifting the way we talk, think and feel about migration and displacement.


  • Almir Kodzic

    Almir is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts. He has worked for over 12 years on developing creative strategies for engaging with refugee and migrant experiences, building lasting realtionships with organisations across the country. His experiences include leading on the development of Refugee Week UK; initiating the Simple Acts participatory programme; and developing Platforma – national arts and refugees networking project.

  • Amina Atiq

    Amina is a Yemeni-Scouse writer, performance artist, workshop facilitator and activist. Amina was awarded the LJMU Citizenship award for her active and community engagement work and awarded the best North West volunteer by Human Appeal. She was long listed for the Jerwood Poetry Fellowship and awarded as a Young Associate for Curious Minds.

  • Awate Suleiman

    AWATE is a visionary rapper and producer from Eritrea. Raised in Camden, his mix of vintage sounds provided by collaborator, Turkish Dcypha, and intricate lyrics with triumphantly psychedelic melodies have had acclaim from Complex, Noisey and Spotify.

  • Bumi Thomas

    Bumi Thomas is a British Nigerian multidisciplinary artist based in London. Her work explores transcending cultural boundaries using photography and music, telling stories about movement, displacement, joy and humanity. Thomas has spoken at TEDx Events about the Power of Purpose, the role of art in evolving cultures and the ‘Ripple Effect’ in the Next Generation. She curates spaces for trans-cultural dialogue highlighting the role of art in evolving cultures.

  • Carlijn Metselaar

    Carlijn is a composer, music teacher and choral conductor. She was Composer-in- Residence with WNO Youth Opera and wrote ‘Blackout’, about a young offender which was performed in the Wales Millenium Centre. She participated in the LPO Young Composers Scheme 2018-19, mentored by James MacMillan. Carlijn is doing a PhD in Composition at Cardiff University on creative collaboration as a composer.

  • Charisse Chikwiri

    Charisse Chikwiri is a Writer, Creative Consultant & DJ whose work focuses on using a variety of creative and curatorial skills as vessels for conversation and social change. Having worked as a Senior Content Developer at Shades of Noir, she is experienced in the impactful methods of empowerment and creating opportunities for marginalised groups, especially within the creative sector.

  • Charlie Scarrott

    Charlie is a passionate musician who writes and records his own songs which he shares online with a small but loyal number of followers. He has performed at various school concerts and gigs and joined multiple bands. After completing the University Entrance Diploma – the University of Kent’s alternative to A-levels – Charlie hopes to complete a degree in vocals or music business.

  • Corey Brotherson

    Corey has been a professional writer/editor since 2001, creating content for diverse media including Yahoo!, ITV and PlayStation. He has scribed a variety of comic book and transmedia stories since 2005 including sci-fi/fantasy anthology “Deadlier Than…”, Yomi Ayeni’s “Clockwork Watch”, and is currently co-writing a narrative videogame “Windrush Tales,” with Chella Ramanan.

  • Dijana Rakovic

    Dijana is a Project Manager at Counterpoints Arts. Her role spans production, curation and participation, with special interest in climate change and environmental justice. She leads on the production of Counterpoints Arts’ music programme; Refugee Week UK London artistic programme; and supports the organisation’s commissioning strand, focusing on place-based and participatory art projects.

  • Ellena Tesfay

    Ellena is the Founder of a social awareness project called Coffee Stories. Ellena chats with refugees and asylum seekers over coffee to then share their compelling stories on social media along with captivating photography to accompany each story.

  • Fabien Soazandry

    Fabien is an award-winning Filmmaker Artist of Malgache descent, raised in London. He is known for his current TV documentary about pop culture in Paris, before setting up his own production company Invincible Frames. Currently his work extends to architecture, art, curation and humanitarian work between Kenya and Madagascar.

  • Florent Maurin

    Florent graduated from Lille’s journalism school (France) in 2002, and worked as a journalist for ten years. He then founded The Pixel Hunt, a gamedev studio with a focus on reality-inspired games. Bury me, my Love, The Pixel Hunt’s first independent game, was co-produced with Figs and Arte.

  • Halima Azan Hassan

    Halima is a writer and editor from West London with an interest in theatre and film. Her favourite films include Juno and Tokyo Godfathers.

  • Hesham Hasan

    NASA award-winning with an MA Visual Communication degree and international professional experience within the design industry. I have a passion for the challenging nature of the industry, and love to explore groundbreaking concepts. I have produced 4 games (including AAA game) as an UI Artist. I am interested in social change within pop culture and I would like to share my experience with others.

  • Jake Lee

    Will is Director of UK Program at Unbound Philanthropy. He also works part-time as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield. He has authored over sixty policy papers, chapters and journal articles, mostly related to migration, and has commented widely in the media, particularly for The Guardian. His most recent book is Immigration under New Labour (2007, Policy Press).

  • Jerioluwa (Jeri) Bada

    Jeri is a passionate musician who writes, records and produces his own tracks. His latest collaborative music video has generated over 9,000 views and aims to encourage grassroots music production and distribution in his local area. Having faced some education barriers, Jeri joined the University Entrance Diploma — the University of Kent’s alternative to A-levels — and is refocusing his energies to realise his amazing academic and personal potential.

  • Laura Aiton

    I am a producer and theatre-maker having recently finished an MA Creative Producing at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I am producer for Burnt Orange Theatre, which works collaboratively with young people and I am producer-curator for FemFringe, which seeks to platform emerging and female-led companies.

  • Liam Rickard

    Liam Rickard is a musician and artist from North Wales, currently based in Cardiff. He performs novelty songs, multi-lingual alternative pop and folk music. In 2016 Liam discovered “Ethno-world” – JMI’s International youth folk music programme – and has since been on Ethno music camps throughout Europe. He will soon begin work on a graphic novel/illustrated video depicting the journey of his friend & fellow musician from Iraq to Germany.

  • Marcia Chandra

    Marcia is a visual ethnographer and project producer. She has been working with Counterpoints Arts since 2014 as a Creative Producer on its Neighbourhood program, and recently also joined PopChange. She’s lived and worked in Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil and the UK focusing on community change, migration, and urban and environmental issues, emphasising participatory methods and creative approaches to research. Prior to moving to the UK, she worked at Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

  • Matthew Page

    Matt is a keen musician and artist who has been drawing for as long as he can remember. He does not feel that his previous formal studies in art have given him the opportunity to demonstrate what he has to offer so he has sought to express his creativity in his own ways and he is keen to develop as an artist and performer in any way he can. Matt is currently completing the University Entrance Diploma – the University of Kent’s alternative to A-levels.

  • Mohammed Afridi

    Mohammed grew up in South London and lives with his partner and child. After graduating with a Master in Global Political Economy (University of Sussex), he worked in several large financial institutions. In 2016 he helped set up The World Transformed, the UK’s largest festival of progressive politics and arts. He went on to become the head of fundraising for Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign and the lead for finance and operations at Momentum. Mohammed is currently the National Coordinator for Rize Up, a voter registration campaign aimed at marginalised and BAME youth.

  • Mollie Davidson

    I work for the BBC local radio as a freelancer creating content and producing for a wide variety of shows. I am Marketing Assistant at Live & Local Rural and Community Touring promoting and helping to produce shows in rural areas of the Midlands. I studied English at University of Sheffield but am currently based in my home city of Coventry.

  • Momtaza Mehri

    Momtaza is a poet, essayist and meme archivist. She is the co-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London and a columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. Her latest chapbook is forthcoming from Goldsmiths Press in 2019.

  • Naima Khan

    Naima Khan is a content creator and arts journalist. She is Programme Co-ordinator of the Act For Change Fund at Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and serves on the board of Counterpoints Arts. Naima is also a Programme Manager at the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, one of Nesta and The Observer’s 50 New Radicals for their work on intersectional feminism.

  • Nike Jonah

    Nike is a Creative Producer for PopChange at Counterpoints Arts. She is the Executive Director of the Pan African Creative Exchange (PACE) and a Visiting Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Previously she developed Arts Council England’s flagship diversity initiative: Decibel Performing Arts Showcase. She is a Trustee for The European Cultural Foundation, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Royal Africa Society and The Bush Theatre.

  • Nyrose Kardasi

    Nyrose hopes to embark on a degree in law once she has completed the University Entrance Diploma – the University of Kent’s alternative to A-levels. She is an incredibly committed student, having moved across the country to be able to take the course. Of dual British and Libyan descent, Nyrose has spent time living in both Libya and the UK having moved back to London most recently in 2019.

  • Paul Bonham

    Paul has a track record in exploring and developing music and cultural entrepreneurialism and leadership with a strong focus on equality, diversity and inclusion. Currently he leads the Music Manager Forums individuals programme Accelerator, supported by YouTube Music. This project empowers emerging multi genre music entrepreneurs through business and leadership skills.

  • Paulette Amadi

    Paulette is Manager of Grants Management and Compliance at Unbound Philanthropy. She previously worked at Queen Mary University and the Young Foundation. She continues to be an active volunteer with Student Action for Refugees (STAR) — an Unbound grantee — and has volunteered as local school governor, as well as a trustee of a drop-in center to provide support for migrants in Haringey, London.

  • Pauline Blanchet

    I am a SOAS Graduate in Linguistics and International Development, my dissertation being about the representations of migration in graphic novels. In the past, I have used podcasting and radio to raise awareness on mental health. My interests are also photography and film.

  • Salma Ibrahim

    Salma is Counterpoints Arts’ Office Coordinator. She is the Founder of Literary Natives, an organisation that supports writers of colour through events and workshops. Her interests are exploring coming-of-age narratives, memory, and movement through writing. She has recently received a London Writer’s Award from Spread the Word to develop her first novel.

  • Salman Toheed

    Salman is a songwriter from Norwich. He sings in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English. Salman writes about self- reflections and write about other’s experiences. He is a Youth Ambassador of Music in Norfolk and helps young musicians to find places to perform, build their confidence and write their own songs.

  • Samuel Kalijaiye

    Samuel is from Hackney, East London, where he grew up in a single parent Nigerian family. After graduating with a Master in Management from Keele University, Samuel started a successful Facebook page focused on political activism. He is now the Social Media Lead for Momentum, a progressive political organisation preparing to fight the next election. Samuel regularly presents and edits social media videos seen by hundreds of thousands of people on topics ranging from migration to austerity and Brexit.

  • Sandy Abdelrahman

    Sandy a creative entrepreneur, filmmaker, an activist and the founder of Skaped. Born in Egypt and grew up in East London. Experiencing inequality, discrimination and racism made her passionate about empowering young people to share their voice. She uses art as a method to document, educate and talk about violations and human rights issues. Represented the UK at the UN Youth Summit in New York in 2017.

  • Sashwati Mira Sengupta

    Sashwati is a Counterpoints Arts music curator/producer. Her main focus is working on the annual Refugee Week in London.

  • Shay D

    Hailing from the stomping grounds of North London Shay D’s upbringing and Iranian heritage remains at the core of her sound. An innate wordsmith, her hustle, passion and drive for music are reflected through her DIY attitude. Her album Human Writes charted the itunes Hip Hop chart & secured radio playlisting. She has also curated the first ever all female hip hop tour in the UK, Queens of Art, which visited 8 nationwide cities.

  • Tayyibah Mota

    Tayyibah is a Senior Youth Engagement Officer at Positive Youth Foundation (PYF). She has been a lead member of staff within the ‘Involved’ strand at PYF, working with newly arrived refugees for four years now.Tayyibah represented Coventry’s youth voice, by sitting on the executive panel for the Coventry City of Culture Bid 2021.

  • Thenjiwe Phillips

    Thenjiwe is a 21-year-old Motswana studying Law LLB, and is interested in all types of art expression. At university she joinged the Creative Arts Society and found a love for poetry. She occasionally performs, most recently in the “Bearing Gifts” exhibition, exploring what it’s like to be a refugee, migrant or asylum seeker in Coventry. She firmly subscribes to the notion that we are all connected and have a duty to do better by and for each other. We should embrace this connectedness with compassion, kindness and love.

  • Thomas Tegento

    I was born in Gonder, Ethiopia, and have lived in Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt and Yemen. My refugee life has enriched me with different cultures, hardships and life experiences. Since living in the UK I’ve been working and studying performing arts. I self-published my first book called “The Seventh Neck” and am currently assisting drama trainings for KRAN Fam at the Gulbenkian Theatre.

  • Tom Green

    Tom has managed the Counterpoints Arts’ Platforma project since 2011. Previously he has worked for organisations including the Refugee Council, the Writers’ Guild and Youthnet, primarily in editorial and online communications. Tom has written plays for theatre and BBC Radio 4. His latest theatre project is about boxing and migration.

  • Tyler Cunningham

    Tyler is a highly accredited actor, singer, dancer and practitioner of performance education. He trained in Inclusive Performance at Chickenshed Theatre Company and has since delivered hundreds of workshops and classes to people of all abilities, while still acting on several programs including Spider Man Far From Home (Marvel) and Boy Meets Girl (BBC).

  • Will Sommerville

    Will is Director of UK Program at Unbound Philanthropy. He also works part-time as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield. He has authored over sixty policy papers, chapters and journal articles, mostly related to migration, and has commented widely in the media, particularly for The Guardian. His most recent book is Immigration under New Labour (2007, Policy Press).

  • Yossi Goodlink

    I am a poet, performer and practitioner of performance education.


Amina Atiq


Amina Atiq is a Yemeni- Scouse writer, a performance artist, facilitator and activist. Amina is currently developing a spoken word monologue wit DadaFest, inviting the audience to a 1970’s Yemeni-British household, untangling what it means to belong.