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Our Storytellers 

Sharon Miller - Sakura - DS Storyteller

Hi, my name is Sharon Miller, and I'm also known as Sakura. I was born and grew up in Birmingham, UK, where I have lived my whole life. I am a Home Manager working with individuals who have Learning Disabilities and or Mental Health issues. During my reflective moments, I've become aware of internal happiness when I've shared developmental nuggets designed to immerse themselves and endorse a reality to enhance and inspire individuals on their quests as they journey through life. From a young age, my creative pen has been at its simplistic form spiralling through and around the many facets of the forests; diving into the deepest part of the ocean; climbing to the peak of the highest mountains, up to the stars and the galaxies beyond – the connecting force of my pen, deep, deep, deeply positioned within my inner verse. Holding me still!


Wendy Shearer - DS Storyteller

Wendy Shearer is a London-based storyteller, writer, imagination weaver and author who brings stories to life from her African and Caribbean heritage. She tells tales of wily tricksters, spirits, and shapeshifters in schools across the UK and venues including The V & A, The British Museum, Royal Academy of Arts and The Eden Project.Wendy is the author of ‘African and Caribbean Folktales, Myths and Legends,’ ‘Bedtime Stories: Beautiful Black Tales from the Past ‘ and Caribbean Folktales: stories from the islands and the Windrush Generation.’


“Wendy Shearer is a masterful storyteller, bringing everyone with her imaginatively and playfully at the Just Imagine Festival.” - Literature & Spoken Word Programmer, Just Imagine Festival (Southbank Centre)

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Horlene Hanlan - DS Storyteller

Horlene Hanlan, a graduate of the University of Surrey, Greenwich University and most importantly, Camperdown High School in Kingston, Jamaica. She, like many a teenager in 1980's was shipped' to the UK because it was a tumultuous political period on the island. Though born in England, to Horlene, the Land of Wood and Water is always home. Often, she will say, 'I relate to that Banana Man Evon Jones described in his poems. I may live here but want to die and be buried in Jamaica anyhow.' I write stories that reflect the ordinary Jamaican man and woman, stories that link Jamaica and England.

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Sologon Jaya - Shri - DS Storyteller

Sogolon Jaya is Trinbagonian by birth and Grenadian by heritage. She is a historian and anthropologist by training with degrees in both disciplines. But she is a storyteller and write-worker by fate, design and intent. In 2018 she was selected for the Mentoring with the Master's Programme, where she received guidance from accomplished author and playwright Pearl Eintou Springer. From this, two of her write-works were performed onstage at the Little Carib Theatre, Trinidad. In 2019 she was accepted to the Cropper Writers' Retreat and gifted with the intense support of two literary successes; Funso Aiyejina and Merle Hodge. Her literary write-work has been shortlisted in 2019 and 2020 Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Prize. She has also been published academically and has written for the international cultural magazine The Mantle.


Jesse Wilson - DS Storyteller

Jesse Wilson is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, now IT professional. He lives in the East Midlands with his wife, two teenage boys and a super laid-back dog. He accidentally discovered his passion for writing while on holiday back in 2018. Since then, he has explored his creative side with written work and performance poetry on race and equality, personal development, mental health, love, life and happiness. His work has appeared in the anthology Fieldnotes on Allyship - Achieving Equality Together and various online publications. As a writer and poet, he aims to inspire and tell the stories that encourage us to remember, reconnect and examine who we are and who we can be.



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Elaine Yap - DS Storyteller

Elaine Yap was born in Jamaica, and she came to Birmingham in the 1960s. Elaine is a mother of 6 children; she is a grandmother and great-grandmother. Elaine trained and worked as a nurse for many years and eventually became a Community Caregiver – Befriending Project Manager for the over 50s. During her career, Elaine worked for Age UK, setting up and supporting groups for the elderly. Elaine is passionate about writing and documenting cultural and traditional ways of telling stories. She is a published writer and poet, a member of Birmingham's Writers without Borders UK, and a member of Writers Café and The Cornerstone Project. Elaine continues to share her passion for documenting and passing on the African and African Caribbean oral storytelling traditions.


Dr Pamela Lawton - Project Ain't We Clever too?

Dr. Lawton is the Florence Gaskins Harper Endowed Chair in Art Education and thought leader for the Hurwitz Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art. A fifth-generation educator from Washington, DC, she earned a BA degree in Studio Art and Sociology, University of Virginia; an MFA in Printmaking, from Howard University; and an EdDCTA (Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of Art) from Teachers College, Columbia University. Lawton’s scholarly research and teaching revolve around visual narrative and intergenerational arts learning in BIPOC community settings. 





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Dr Onyeka Nubia - Historian

Dr Onyeka Nubia is a pioneering and internationally recognised academic historian: researcher, lecturer, consultant and presenter who is reinventing our perceptions of methodology, epistemology, and pedagogy in regards to diversity, history, mythology and theology. His research has helped academia and the general public to entirely new perspectives on BAME communities in British and European history.

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Millicent Chapanda - Musician

Millicent Chapanda is a proud cultural artist with a vibrant mission to bring the lived experience of women in Zimbabwe onto international world music stages. In performance, although her music goes deep into ancient Shona cultural heritage, it's clear that Milli is keen to sing out loud on gender issues and the barriers affecting women in the diaspora & back in Zimbabwe, and this gives her fine performances a real cutting edge onstage.A Milli Chapanda show is, above all, a celebration Shona-style that calls on those ancestral dancing spirits to rise through the trance of mbira's cascading sounds to the pull of the voice & the insistent pulse of the deep ngoma drum & hosho shakers. Onstage: vocals, mbira, ngoma, hosho, storytelling. "Mbira musician Millicent Chapanda just exudes presence and confidence; she is a great entertainer, and that's no mean feat. From the get go or from the very first lengthy Mhururu, Millicent had the packed audience in the palm of her hand. I haven't heard or seen anything like it since...Never. Since I'd never seen such a joyous performance so riotously embraced by an audience." [Outsideleft, 2020] Email: or

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Steve Tchoumba - Musician

Steve Tchoumba is a young talented Cameroonian entrepreneur. He holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Coventry University in the United Kingdom. Highly experienced in business development, he has founded various companies such as Gifted, Root Café and has extensive expertise in the following domains: Critical thinking and design thinking. He is currently the Executive Director of ActivSpaces. He works closely with various entrepreneurs in transforming their ideas into sustainable businesses. As the president of Kmer Tech, he is also responsible for developing partnerships with all actors in the tech ecosystem in Cameroon, including universities, corporates and other incubators. Steve Tchoumba has worked in England, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Congo, Malawi and Ghana. Before moving to Cameroon, Steve lived and worked in Birmingham, UK. Where he founded the crossroad collision. Crossroad collision is a Afro-jazz fusion band that includes kora and poetry--Steve Tchoumba, Executive Director, ActivSpaces, Cameroon.

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Tina Pringle-Hamilton - Merchandise Creator

Indigo Art Exchange Director Tina Pringle-Hamilton has extensive knowledge and experience with the arts as a Manager, Curator and Practitioner. Indigo Art Exchange is an Art Company based in the UK; the company's belief is individuality. I am developing and creating bespoke prints, using Indigo Dye as the signature to create new products. Our ethos is to use natural dyes and natural materials.


The Company - Indigo: is the colour represented in my work, the love for the pigment and the historical context of my heritage. Art: Primarily fibre art and relief print is my medium from block, screen and batik, using indigenous patterns from the world's pallet and creating them into my own designs and art pieces. The work also features handmade paper and felt making. Recently I have been experimenting with botanical dying and increasing my practice in Shibori.


Exchange: The Company supports other visual artists through their practice and development by offering project management and a platform to highlight their work.


Daina Anderson Mpunzi - Zoom Operator

Daina Anderson Mpunzi is an award nominated Filmmaker, Social Entrepreneur, Presenter and Author; passionate about using her extensive experience in Media and Enterprise to drive Social Change. Daina’s journey into the world of Media began at the tender age of 16 when she began writing for various print music publications. After graduating with a degree in Media and Communication from Birmingham City University she went on to carve out a career spanning more than 15 years in Television and Radio production, working for major broadcasters such as Channel 4, BBC, Endemol Shine and Premier Christian Radio.


As an independent Producer, she has been commissioned by numerous reputable establishments such as the BFI, BBC, NHS and more to produce thought provoking and emotive film that supports initiatives in social development across the UK and internationally. Her self-produced Documentary series 'BLACK: An exploration of the black male and female identities' was nominated for a Midlands Movie Award in 2019. Daina is dedicated to producing dynamic, engaging and vibrant Social Video, Film and Media platforms that promote discussions and initiatives that are transforming communities and the lives of people living within them.


Marlene Daley

Marlene is a Child, Adolescent and Family Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, specialising in working with looked after children suffering from trauma arising from early attachment disconnect. She has 30 years’ experience of working with young people with behavioural and special needs, disadvantaged families, victims of domestic violence , sexual abuse and those who are ‘stuck’ as a result of traumatic experiences. Marlene also specialises in supporting women who are struggling with the psychological impact of Menopause, women who need support with grief and loss and

women who are looking for happiness under the guise of beginning to realign themselves with their identity and deconstructing their mindset.


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Lorna and Isaiah Cheng - Social Media Co-ordinators

I am Lorna and was born in the UK to Jamaican parents. I am  a trainee counsellor and have an interest in African spirituality. I’m an educator, I also exercise and dance to protect my mental health, stay energised and inspired. Together with my Son, Isaiah, who is a student in Art and Design, we will be working to help friends of Nakuona hear, share and absorb the experience and knowledge gained during the session.


Adeola Russell - Trainee Therapeutic Counsellor

Adeola is a director of Black Therapy Matters CIC, a non-profit organisation that supports Black and Minority Ethnic counselling and psychotherapy students through their training. She is completing her psychotherapy training and currently facilitates race awareness workshops and hosts a number of online support groups for black communities.

Adeola Russell -

'I am because we are.' - Ubuntu


Tanya Wallis - Therapeutic Counsellor

Tanya works within a holistic framework tailoring to personal need; providing a private and confidential service to individuals and groups; with an African centered, trauma informed and attachment aware approach. She currently runs a practitioners’ forum, does trauma stewardship workshops; to facilitate an awareness of self-care to combat secondary and vicarious trauma. Nature has a pattern not a plan, therefor we have to locate and understand our own patterns in order to live healthy and productive lives: by exploring the past we can make changes to our present.


Owning our story and LOVING OURSELVES through that process is the BRAVEST THING that we will ever do... Brene Brown

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