Event Date 17-19 March 2021

Pop culture meets social change retreat


Taking place over three days, the retreat will bring together a range of selected individuals from the worlds of comedy, video gaming, broadcast, 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. 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.


Over the three days of the retreat, we hope to explore some of the above challenges with a view to finding many creative opportunities for social change.

Our conversations on Day One will kick off with a 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.  The day will also feature the launch of a new report: New Brave World: The power, opportunities and potential of pop culture for social change in the UK by Alice Sachrajda, Marzena Zukowska and K Biswas. This report sketches a map of an emerging pop culture for social change ecosystem in the UK, drawing from the insights of many commissioned practitioners and pointing to the opportunities to both influence and invest in what is still a nascent nonetheless immensely vibrant creative space.

Day Two will explore 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.

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.

Event Date 17-19 March 2021