Curve announces first cohort of the new BAME Curve leadership programme

Fri 2nd December, 2016 @ 8:00pm by seedcreativenetwork

Curve announces first cohort of the new BAME Curve leadership programme

Curve are delighted to announce the appointment of Black and Minority Ethnicity cultural managers, artists and early career leaders in Leicester and Leicestershire as part of a new cultural leadership programme.

Samuel Javid, Jiten Anand, Charis Betts, Shruti Chauhan, Seetal Kaur, Kesha Raithatha and Farahan Shaikh will take part in the two year programme which will be delivered in association with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and supported by Arts Council England. The leadership programme will consist of a series of practical workshops, hands on learning placements and secondments.

In addition the programme will offer mentoring, talks and seminars from leading figures within the arts world and beyond including Liz Blyth,director at Watson Blyth Ltd, a management consultancy with the public and charitable sector, Farooq Chaudhry, co-founder of Curve Associate company Akram Khan Company and Producer for English National Ballet and Sarah Weir Executive Producer of the Roundhouse and previously Chief Executive of The Legacy List and Executive Director of Arts Council England.

The Curve Leadership Programme seeks to strengthen cultural leadership from across the county and consequently the range, quality and ambition of the work originating from the region. The seven participants will be encouraged to develop the skills and awareness required of leaders in the 21st Century and will equip them for the challenges that lie ahead.

Curve Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said in a joint statement…

Curve, in partnership with De Montfort University, is excited to have assembled this exceptional group of early career leaders. Developing and strengthening diverse cultural leadership is vital for our industry and we’re incredibly excited to be at the forefront of this. This leadership programme would not be possible without Arts Council England and we’d like to thank them for their continued support.”


Jiten Anand is co-founder and Director of an exponentially growing Social Enterprise, Inspirate. As a young entrepreneur, he is passionate about using arts, creativity and business as a tool for education, cultural fluency and positively impacting people’s lives.

Jiten started his journey whilst on an extended university placement at touchRainbow Productions in Leicester. Shortly after becoming a Company Director of the one year old media business, an opportunity sprouted for him and his business partner; in June 2011 An Indian Summer festival was born.

In 2013, Jiten became Project Manager of An Indian Summer. Working with a festival team and volunteers has helped Jiten to build fundamental management, leadership and directorship attributes. He has played an active role in the business development of the festival and nurtured An Indian Summer to its current breadth. Over the course of six years, Jiten played a key part in building relationships with corporate and education sponsors such as State Bank of India, Kingfisher World, Lebara Mobile, University of Leicester, De Montfort University and Leicester City Council.

During his time at the Social Enterprise, Jiten has helped to pioneer projects that will advance Inspirate in the near future. These include Leicester’s largest outdoor cinema in partnership with Derby Quad; leadership experiences with students and a street art festival that is on the verge of shifting the Cultual Quarter’s landscape.

Most recently, Jiten become a Director of Creative Manifesto, a technology arts organisation that specialises in producing interactive digital work and delivering large scale festivals such as Light The Night. He has also joined Leicester’s Diwali Advisory Panel in an aim to transform the event into a nationally attended celebration.

Charis Betts graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Public Sociology (BA hons), which has given her the platform her to take up international work experience combating social issues through carnival arts across the continents.

She has been involved within the Leicester Caribbean Carnival from a very young age and has been recognised by the Leicester Mercury, BBC as well as receiving multiple community awards for contributions to the Leicester Caribbean Carnival.

At the age of 16 she was entitled the Leicester's youngest troupe owner managing a youth led project, costume workshops and dance sessions and a budget for other young people in Leicester. Her touring troupe Inspire has been going for 10 years evolved in to a partnership with a Group True Masquerade, which claiming 'band of the year' on 5 occasions. In 2012 Charis Betts was titled the Leicester Caribbean Carnival Queen and the EMCCAN Carnival Queen in 2013/14. Her 2015 Arts council funded, Grants for the Arts the NACA project (Native American Carnival Arts) which she went on to win the titles of 2015/16 EMCCAN, Leeds and Manchester Carnival Queen. Of which she built the costume with Trinidadian costume builder Lincoln Rahamut and Athan Martin. This title gave her the opportunity to headline in many local and national events such as the Rugby world cup and the Lincolnshire School games.

Charis is a workshop practitioner and has run workshops across England, Isle of Wight, Europe and Bahamas, and has used Carnival Arts as a tool for breaking the barriers. Charis Betts is an ambassador for carnival arts within the Midlands and strives for artistic excellence within all elements of heritage products.

Shruti Chauhan is a poet and performer based in Leicester. She has won slams internationally in Chicago and Mumbai, and has performed at Royal Albert Hall, the US Embassy’s American Centre in New Delhi, the Green Mill in Chicago, and at poetry festivals and events across the UK. In 2015 she toured Three the Hard Way – Part 2 nationally with Jean Binta Breeze MBE and Lydia Towsey. She is a trustee of Writing East Midlands - the region’s writer development agency, a Breakthrough Artist at Curve Theatre and an MGCfutures bursary recipient. Shruti is currently writing her debut solo show, The Sky Diaries.

Samuel Javid is a Project Manager for Big Difference Company, the charity behind the annual Leicester Comedy Festival. Prior to this Samuel was a Producer for cultural development agency ArtReach, where he programmed and directed Journeys Festival; a multi art form celebration of refugees and their extraordinary journeys. He has just finished a 3 year term as a Young Trustee at Curve, and now sits on the Board of Leicester City of Sanctuary, a charity that supports and encourages a greater ‘Cultural of Welcome’ across the city. Samuel, originally from Bristol, is an alumni of De Montfort University where he received a First-Class Honours in Arts & Festival Management.

Seetal Kaur is passionate about creative cultural practices and their power to provoke change, Seetal extends her skills into dance, programming and coordinating arts projects. She graduated with a First Class degree in Linguistics from University College London and Certificate in Sanskrit from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2013 and has since toured nationally and internationally with Amina Khayyam Dance Company as a Kathak and Contemporary Dancer. Having been involved with South Asian Arts UK from a young age, Seetal has also worked in both Leeds and London with Darbar Festival, Yorkshire Dance, Leeds City Museum and freelanced as an editorial and copy writer. She moved to Leicester in 2016 and is now working part-time at Attenborough Arts Centre while pursuing an artistic career in Kathak dance and managing live events with Sitar Music Society. Seetal also co runs a popular blog on diaspora and culture at She hopes to grow this platform into a social initiative that empowers young women through heritage and identity.

Kesha Raithatha started her training in Kathak with the well-known pioneering Kathak exponent and Guru​, Nilima Devi (MBE) at CICD at the age of 8. She has accompanied Nilima Devi and CICD in various productions such as Vyom, Christmas Gala, Uttsava Festival, Nartam, South Asian Arts Festival and various showcase performances. While training with Nilima Devi, Kesha also achieved her foundation level of ISTD grades in Kathak Dance.

Kesha has since had the opportunity to study with several legendary teachers, including Smt. Daksha Sheth of the Daksha Sheth Dance company in Kerala; Dr. Maya Rao of the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography in Bangalore; Mayuri Upadhya of the Nritarutya contemporary dance comapny and is currently under the tutelage of renowned dance exponent Smt. Nirupama Rajendra of Abhinava Dance Company in Bangalore. Kesha has also trained in Kalaripayattu with Ranjan Mullarat and Daksha Sheth.

As an artist, Kesha has performed at several prestigious venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, the House of Commons and at events such as Her Majesty’s Royal Diamond Jubilee Pageant and China Arts Festival. In addition, Kesha has significant teaching and choreographic experience gained in the UK. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards for her contribution to the community through cultural dance performance and activity.

Farahan Shaikh is a writer and publisher born in Leicester. She is the founding editor of The Asian Writer, an online magazine championing Asian literature. She established Dahlia Publishing to publish regional and diverse writing and Leicester Writes Festival to celebrate local writing talent. She has facilitated creative writing workshops and judged competitions in the UK and India. In 2010, Farhana received an arts bursary from the Royal Shakespeare Company. She writes feature articles, reviews, poetry and fiction. Farhana lives in Leicester with her husband and their two children. She can be found on Twitter talking about books and publishing @farhanashaikh


No comments yet... why not be the first?

Leave a comment