Inspired by the iconic “A Great Day in Harlem” which featured 57 Jazz musicians in New York City by freelance photographer Art Kane for Esquire magazine (August 12, 1958).
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced ~James Baldwin.
An entirely unique record of the moment around 60 black and Asian leaders in the media industry came together. It was powerfully captured in a series of portraits, gallery setting, photo book and documentary interviews.
These are their stories, our stories, your stories. Their impact and contribution to the UK’s creative industry is writ large.
It is the role of academia, media and artists to capture these stories — important moments in our collective history. These are moments which reframe public consciousness and shed new light on one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Conceived through a special collaboration within academia and leading diversity champion its use of film and photography should be made available for deeper engagement with wider audiences.
Phase one was the event staged. Phase two is a something else, co-creating, your momentum to invite greater interaction and debate, immersive media, given our international status in technology, as the belief is through events like the Leader’s List we can effect change, change in society that will be properly understood
Here is The Leaders’ List, in its various elements.
We shot 56 professional crafted photographs that were laid out in a gallery for four days, because of our budget. It included an extraordinary 1x4 metre composite photo made by photographer David Freeman and a behind-the-scene set of photographs.
We focused on a set of intimate questions that revealed personal details about the leaders’ work, their contribution to the creative industry and the challenges they face. These were designed to be reflective and inspirational, as well as revealing to senior industry executives the difficulties that can often be overlooked. Our perceived audience were the public and senior executive from the creative industries.
COFFEE TABLE BOOK
We felt strongly during the inception of the project that we should publish a book that captured the leaders, and that it should be a legacy. Our initial difficulty was finding a designer who could craft an aesthetic that would interest the public and senior producers in the creative industries. We were very fortunate that Gerald, one of our photographers recommended his cousin, Wayne — an award winning designer who’s worked in the US.
The turnout, according to the Gallery, was its biggest to date. Most of the talent turned up and mingled with execs, students and the public. The DCMS acknowledged our efforts with a letter complimenting our efforts.
We opened the night with performances that included BBC’s The Voice Emmanuel Nwamadi and dancers from a South London school inspired by Alvin Ailey.
NEED YOUR HELP
The Leaders’ List would like your support in building on what it’s created. We’d like to move the debate into phase 2, find new partners to exhibit the prints, establish permanent exhibition space sponsors, and produce a dedicated site incorporating several media gathered during its production, as well as utilising AI concepts.
Following this event, the Leaders’ list exhibited at the London’s Mayor event and toured schools, where it was well received.
If you’d like to work with us to a new stage please email co-producer Dr David Dunkley Gyimah at Cardiff University Gyimahd@cardiff.ac.uk
FEEDBACK ON THE LIST
BEHIND THE SCENES
An enormous part of the effort to make the project work happened behind the scene. We captured as much as possible to build a narrative about what it’s like to create an ambitious project, such as the Leaders’ list.
Wayne McLean designed the exquisite coffee table book. Gerald McLean an Artist- Architecture photographer captured the documentary photography and film on the day. David Freeman was the principle photographer and behind the line-up. The co-producers and co-creators, with photography and filling were Simone Pennant MBE and (me) Dr David Dunkley Gyimah. Malick was assistant on the shoot.
Thanks to Professor Kerstin Mey, formerly Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of University of Westminster for supporting the event. Prof. Mey is now Vice President Academic Affairs and Student Engagement. Thanks to Marcus Ryder for his editorial contribution.
What I do?
I’m a producer, filmmaker, academic and creative behind scaled stories and events. A former Newsnight and Channel 4 News journalist in the 90s, and BBC World Service journalist in Apartheid South Africa, (where I reported President Mandela’s inauguration) I’ve also worked in dotcoms, creative agencies and was a Southbank Artist in Residence. I’ve spoken around the world e.g Russia, Syrian border, Egypt, China etc and keynoted/spoken at Apple, BBC Leaders, SXSW. I’m into tech, culture, innovation and politics. More on me here
Email David at Gyimahd@cardiff.ac.uk. Tel: +44 (0)29 2087 0100