Salon / NetworkPopChange

PopChange Salon Series: Racial Justice, Pop Culture and Social Struggle



Wednesday, 14 July 2021


17:30-19:30 BST (Networking from 17:00)


Online (Airmeet)




Hosted by

// Counterpoints Arts


//The Race Beat
//Narrative Avengers
//Decolonising the Archive


Salon / NetworkPopChange

PopChange Salon Series: Racial Justice, Pop Culture and Social Struggle

K Biswas, Leah Cowan, and Selina Nwulu discuss popular culture in Britain and its potential role in accelerating social change and highlighting structural inequality.

Youth led movements – against racism and sexism, for LGBTQ+ and disability rights or environmental sustainability feel locked out of elite political and economic circles, and see culture as their site of expression. A new wave of radical pop-cultural expression, dormant for much of the 21st century, may have emerged in film & television, music & fashion, gaming and social media campaigns. Under discussion will be Britain’s belated public reckoning with racism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the emerging counter-reaction crystallised in a new Culture War.



Hosted by Counterpoints ArtsPopChange Initiative, this is the first of five PopChange Salons in 2021 exploring the opportunities for real change presented within the New Brave world Report (2021). The Salon Series will explore racial justice, comedy, TV, gaming and narrative change. To be updated of future Salons in the series, sign up to our mailing list.

Recommended background reading

New Brave World a new report by Alice Sachrajda and Marzena Zukowska that explores the power, opportunities and potential of pop culture for social change in the UK. The report is supported by Unbound Philanthropy and builds on Riding the Waves, a scoping study on the same theme published in 2017.
Representology (Vol. 2), a journal for research and best practice in how to make UK media more representative of all sections of society, edited by K Biswas. The recently published issue features articles by Lenny Henry and director Amma Asante talking about sharing power on-screen & being allowed to fail; Gary Younge on working as a Black journalist at The Guardian and Afua Hirsch’s experiences starting out at The Voice newspaper, amongst others.

Joining us on Airmeet

We’re thrilled to be welcoming such an exciting range of participants and speakers, and invite you to join us in using the Airmeet platform to make new connections during the networking, sessions.

Airmeet is best experienced on a Chrome browser (version 79 or higher), on a laptop or a desktop. You can download the latest version here

If you’d like to familiarise yourself with Airmeet before the session, you can do so via this link.


Some sections of the programme will be live streamed, but only participants who choose to go ‘on stage’ will be visible. Presentations by speakers (but not the Q&A sections) will also be filmed and shared online. 

Social media

We’d love you to join the conversation online using the hashtag #popxchange or via our social media channels: Twitter // Instagram // Facebook


K Biswas


K Biswas is a critic and essayist 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.

Leah Cowan


Leah Cowan is the former Politics Editor at gal-dem, a magazine and media platform run by women and non-binary people of colour, and works at Imkaan, a Black feminist organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls. Her first book, BORDER NATION, breaking down the politics of migration, was published by Pluto Press in Spring 2021. 

Selina Nwulu


Selina Nwulu is both an independent consultant and writer with a commitment to social and climate justice. She has worked extensively in the not for profit sector as a strategist, educationalist and social researcher, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the RSA and till 2020 as Director of Education at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights UK.

More about this


field note

30 July 2021

Featuring K Biswas, Leah Cowan, and Selina Nwulu