Pop Culture Meets Social Change Retreat

We are delighted to share our first ‘Pop Culture Meets Social Change Retreat’ digital edition in collaboration with Counterpoints Arts.

Taking place over three days, the retreat brings together a range of individuals from the worlds of comedy, broadcast, video games, visual and performing arts, digital and news media, the charity sector together with the fields of policy, activism and philanthropy.

The primary aim of bringing different people and sectors to this retreat is to lay the ground for new cross-sector exchanges, ideas and collaborations, with a view to finding better ways to represent the lived experiences of diverse communities and audiences within pop culture.

OKRE aims to advance cross-sector collaboration and this Retreat shares this approach – bringing together different people and sectors, laying the ground for new exchanges, ideas and collaborations.

“We hope to create a space to nurture and connect a growing body of artists and change-makers operating in the dynamic intersection of popular culture and social change.

The timing of this retreat is shaped by a series of significant intersecting social and cultural events, including COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and the MeToo movement alongside escalating environmental crises. These have further exposed deep inequalities in our society, further amplified by perceived ‘culture wars’ over history, culture and identity.

Calls for action, social solidarity and justice have also catalyzed urgent conversations and changes within the arts, culture and entertainment industries. This has resulted in a growing body of artists, activists and content makers demanding that institutions become more democratic, more culturally polyphonic and attentive to the urgency of representing the intrinsically diverse stories of our past, present and future.”

Day One

The conversation will kick off with keynote provocation by Marcus Ryder, a leading diversity champion and co-author (alongside Sir Lenny Henry) of the hugely influential book: Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond. We’re also joined by Associate Director of Rocks and Co-Director of Skin Deep, Anu Henriques sharing the innovative collaborative process used in the development of the BAFTA-nominated film Rocks and refined in her upcoming documentary series.

The line-up also includes Connie Bell, Cultural Producer at Decolonising The Archive in conversation with Evan Narcisse, a writer and consultant who works in video games, comic books and TV, talking about how video games can be vessels that enable conversations across the diaspora.

Day Two

Day Two explores questions surrounding pop culture and social change through the lens of comedy. It will feature conversations and workshops with top comedians including Britain’s Got Talent superstar Nabil Abdulrashid about how comedy engages, provokes and activates public conversations about migration.

Writers, including Brian Logan and Momtaza Mehri, will reflect on how we might expand and embed a critical discussion about comedy across both analogue and social media.

The day ends with a ticketed comedy gig hosted by the brilliant Mo Omar and headlined by Fatiha El-Ghorri and Nabil Abdulrashid.

Day Three

The discussions and workshops continue on Day Three with a focus on the immersive world of video games. Ubisoft’s Kurston Timothy, Code Coven’s Tara Mustapha and actor August Aiden Black from hit game Tell Me Why are among the speakers exploring representation and the opportunities and impact of bringing diverse perspectives into game design. Get involved in the lunchtime Let’s Play session and join workshops on writing, real world impact and more with hosts including narrative designer Corey Brotherson, UN Live’s Nikolaj Møller and award-winning studio ustwo’s Maria Sayans. Then join us over on Twitch with Black Girl Gamers as they livestream a ‘play and chat’ on the games that most inspire.

Read the programme for the first digital edition of ‘Pop Culture Meets Social Change Retreat’ here: