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Community Conversations

Listen to our podcast exploring the lives of black and mixed-race black members of Nottingham’s creative community.

Community Converstions - Hosted by Rachel Willcocks - A City Arts Production

‘Community Conversations’ is a 5-part podcast series for City Arts, hosted by arts and culture journalist Rachel Imogen Willcocks.

Rachel is diving into conversation with black and mixed-race black members of Nottingham’s creative community. Discussions explore the guests’ creative processes, the 2020 anti-racism protests and mental health. We also look at entrepreneurship, and our guests’ experiences of navigating the pandemic.

The podcast is part of Curator in Residence Saziso Phiri’s CATALYST programme.

Rachel Willcocks interviews Norma Gregory. Photo by Artist in Residence Richard Chung, 2020

Available on

Community Conversations is available on most major podcast platforms. Use the links below or try searching for “community conversations city arts’. If you can’t find it on the app you use, let us know and we’ll see if we can get it added.


Episodes

5. MELONYX

For International Women’s Day, Rachel is joined by Nottingham-based black-British Soul duo MELONYX.

MELONYX is a collaboration between Georgia Copeland and Nadia Latoya. The duo have performed at Peggy’s Sky Light, New Art Exchange, Camden’s Electric Ballroom and Gilles Peterson’s ‘We Out Here’ Festival. They released their first single, ‘Worth the Wait’, in May 2020.

In this podcast episode, the singers discuss sisterhood and the power of women supporting each other. They talk about how they came together as a group, their influences, wellbeing and self-care, and how they’ve continued to stay creative during the pandemic.

4. Nathaniel Wilson

In this episode of Community Conversations, Rachel speaks to Nathaniel Wilson, founder of Mimm and Nottingham Street Food Club.

Mimm opened on Broad Street in 2011, located in the Nottingham City Centre area of Hockley. It combines the worlds of fashion, music and art by providing unique and independent sustainable clothing, audio visual events, creative space and a radio station.

Nathaniel discusses Mimm’s humble beginnings, the importance of inclusivity in the work that he delivers, the impact that his mixed-race heritage has had on his creative output and his passion for bringing Black-British culture to the forefront over American influences.

3. Norma Gregory

Norma Gregory is a historian, broadcaster, heritage consultant and arts curator. For over twenty-seven years, Norma has researched and produced quality, heritage-related media products, educational resources and exhibitions in relation to African / African Caribbean experiences in the UK, helping to develop, expand and enrich available heritage as well as helping to address misrepresentations of history.

In this episode, Norma speaks to Rachel about her love for books and how they changed her life, her experience within the education sector and the importance of black history being taught in British schools, bringing the hidden histories of the Caribbean community to life through art, and the impact of the 2020 anti-racism protests.

Find out more about Norma’s work:

https://nottinghamnewscentre.com
https://normagregory.com

2. Michaela Spencer

For this episode, we hear from Michaela ‘The Plentiful Poet’ Spencer, poet and spoken word artist and founder of Truth Mental Health. Michaela speaks about her journey as an artist, and how art can be used a a tool for healing. She also discusses the events that led to her starting Truth Mental Health, and the impact of George Floyd’s murder on the black community from a mental health perspective. Due to the UK National Lockdown, Rachel and Michaela were unable to meet in person to record the conversation, so this episode was recorded in the form of voice notes using their mobile phones.

Content/Trigger Warning: This episode of Community Conversations includes discussions of mental illness, suicide, murder, sexual abuse, racially motivated violence, domestic violence, death and dying, which some listeners may find triggering.

It is also important to note that the views, opinions and experiences expressed in this episode are those of the guest speaker, and do to necessarily represent the views of City Arts and those involved n the making of this podcast.

If you or someone you know have been affected by any of the topics discussed in this episode and would like further support, you can visit the following links (UK-based services):

Mental illness and bereavement

African and Caribbean Mental Health Services (ACMHS) – acmh-services.co.uk
Mind – mind.org.uk
Samaritans  – samaritans.org.uk

Domestic abuse

National Domestic Abuse Helpline  – nationaldahelpline.org.uk
Equation (Nottingham-based) – equation.org.uk

1. Jeremy Prince

Jeremy Prince is a music enthusiast who’s been DJing for 32 years. He is one of the main organisers for Nottingham Caribbean Carnival.

In this episode, Jeremy shares his experiences as a passionate creative. He speaks passionately about his influences and inspirations, from childhood to adulthood, and how music can be a form of escapism. He also discusses how he was able to take the 2020 Nottingham Caribbean Carnival online in response to the pandemic, and the coming together of the Caribbean community in times of adversity.


Podcast recording at City Arts - with Nathaniel Wilson
Rachel Willcocks interviews Nathaniel Wilson. Photo by Artist in Residence Richard Chung, 2020

About Rachel Imogen Willcocks

Podcast host Rachel Willcocks.

Rachel Willcocks is a passionate freelance arts and culture writer. She is fascinated with thought-provoking and meaningful stories, that capture under-represented narratives.

Rachel is joint arts editor at LeftLion. She has been contributing writer for Black Ballad. Alongside writing, Rachel has a wealth of volunteer experience within the cultural sector. She currently works as an arts marketer at New Art Exchange.


About CATALYST

CATALYST is a programme from our Curator in Residence Saziso Phiri. It was created in response to our Black Lives Matter commitments and a series of discussions that followed. It will be a catalyst for change at City Arts. We aim to create a long-term culture of investing in, listening to and amplifying marginalized voices.