Candace Allen


Candace Allen is an American writer and cultural critic, known for her political activism during her time at Harvard University in the late 60’s and early 70‘s. She is a frequent commentator on US culture, race, and politics and contributed to the 2008 and 2012 election campaigns of Barack Obama.  She has also written two books exploring the personal, social and political power of music and writes regularly for the Guardian. Candace brought her unique insight and experience as a panellist in ‘Thelonious Monk: Modernist Pioneer’ and produced the essay ‘The demons and obsessions of jazz genius Thelonious Monk’, which derives from the event.

Jocelyn Pook


Jocelyn Pook has written music for stage, screen, opera house, contemporary dance and concert hall. Jocelyn has worked with some of the world’s leading directors, musicians, artists and arts institutions, including Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, the Royal Opera House, Wigmore Hall and Massive Attack. Jocelyn has received numerous awards and nominations including a Golden Globe, an Olivier and two British Composer Awards. Some of Jocelyn’s most recent works have turned to the subject of mental health, with the song-cycle composition ‘Hearing Voices’ performed as part of ‘Exstatica and H7steria’ at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2012. ‘Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices’, premièred at the Anxiety Festival in June 2014 and featured in the New Music Biennial and Hull City of Culture 2017.

Photo Courtesy Hugo Glendinning

Ama Josephine Budge


Ama Josephine Budge is a Speculative Writer, Artist, Curator and Pleasure Activist whose work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies with Dr Gail Lewis at Birkbeck. Her research takes a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on inherently environmentalist pleasure practices in Ghana and Kenya. 

Ama’s fiction and non-fiction has been published internationally and she is working on her first book: a speculative duology for young adults. Ama has worked with arts institutions across the UK and abroad including the ICA, Free Word, Wellcome Collection and the V&A.

For the Culture& ‘Cyborgs’ programme at the Wellcome Collection Ama performed ‘A Shoal of Lovers Leads Me Home’. The performance was a speculative black queer fabulation – an imaginative future of a post apocalyptic, climate-changed world.

Rebekah Ubuntu


Rebekah Ubuntu is a London-based performance and sound artist who mines the tensions between class, queerness and rebellion for their work. Inspired by Afro-futurism, electronic music and radical transfeminist authors, Rebekah presents an inimitable worldview that challenges on sonic, social and subversive levels.

For Culture&’s ‘Cyborgs’ programme at the Wellcome Collection in March 2018, Rebekah presented ‘Are You There?’, an Afrofuturist sound, video and performance work exploring unbelonging, questing and intersectional utopianism through the speculative gaze of an artificially intelligent cyborg.

Le Gateau Chocolat


Le Gateau Chocolat’s work extends beyond the world of drag – he has a busy career in the field of contemporary opera and performance.

Le Gateau Chocolat’s work as a solo artist began in 2011 when he premièred his first solo show in the Adelaide Fringe, which then went on to tour the world as part of different festivals; Edinburgh Fringe and a subsequent run at Menier Chocolate Factory London, Wroclaw in Poland, Christchurch, Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney Opera House.

Since then he has worked with an Olivier Award winning circus (La Clique/La Soiree) and alongside contemporary composers – specifically Julian Philips (“Varjak Paw” ROH) Jonathan Dove (“Tobias and The Angel” Young Vic), Jocelyn Pook (“Ingerland” at ROH) and Anxiety Fanfare at Hull City of Culture 2017 and New Music Biennial and Orlando Gough a collaborator on “Black” (Imago, Glyndebourne.) He has sung at Wigmore Hall and with Basement Jaxx at The Barbican. Most recently Le Gateau performed the finale at the Culture& Cyborgs Late at the Wellcome Collection in March 2019 and in Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the 2019 Bayreuth Festival. 

Naveen Arles


Naveen Arles has established himself as an energetic vocal leader and animateur. Over 30 years of music incorporates 20 years of running and creating singing groups of all ages and abilities, inspiring them to perform on national television, radio and on major London stages. Naveen also coordinates the recording and filming of music projects for various agencies and labels such as Sony BMG, BBC and World Concert Artists. Naveen is currently directing 6 choirs including the London International Gospel Choir and 2 youth choirs in Newham, NewYVC and Solid Harmony. Naveen has recently directed the London International Gospel Choir in a performance of Jocelyn Pook’s ‘Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices’ at the New Music Biennial at Hull City of Culture 2017 and at London’s Southbank Centre.

Zia Álmos Joshua X


Zia Álmos Joshua X is an educator, artist, researcher, and activist, born and raised in Brixton, London. Zia currently works for the Linnean Society of London as ‘Engagement Research and Delivery Officer.’

Since its Masters, it has been focused on the philosophies of science, biology, technology, and consciousness, and these have played largely in its creative work. It is also dedicated to teaching and education, and spent its 2 years prior to starting at the Linnean Society working in public engagement at a medical museum that explores the influences and intersections in science of art, religion, politics, culture, and philosophy. Zia was a collaborator on the 2019 Culture& Cyborgs programme at the Wellcome Collection where it led a participatory workshop exploring classification focusing on the legacy of Carl Linnaeus – who created the system of naming organisms that we still use today.

Peter Edwards


Peter Edwards is an award-winning pianist, composer, and musical director, known for his substantial contributions to works by Abram Wilson and Zara McFarlane. Peter’s piano trio has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, 6 Music and Jazz FM, and his debut album ‘Safe and Sound’ was met with glowing reviews. He has worked with artists from a range of disciplines, including poet Lemn Sissay, beatboxer Shlomo, and visual artist Emma Godebska. He regularly directs the Nu Civilisation Orchestra and Tomorrow’s Warriors Youth Jazz Orchestra at the Southbank Centre. Peter is currently composing music for Racheal Ofori’s new play ‘Detangled’ and performed in ‘Thelonious Monk: Modernist Pioneer’ at the British Library.

Michael McMillan


Dr Michael McMillan is a London based writer, dramatist, artist, curator and scholar of Vincentian migrant heritage. His plays and performance pieces have been produced by the Royal Court Theatre, Channel 4, BBC Radio 4 Drama, and across the UK. Since the 1990s Michael’s practice has taken a more interdisciplinary approach using devised performance, installation and mixed media in a collaborative context. He has made a number of installations on the theme of black hair including (2013) The ‘Origins of the Afro Comb’ at the University of  Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and will bring these interests and practices to designing the set for Racheal’ Ofori’s new play ‘Detangled’.

Photo courtesy Franklyn Rogers