Metroland Cultures

A new charity established to deliver Brent 2020 and ensure its legacy thereafter.

Brent 2020 is a new model for supporting culture in the borough, one that actively supports youth development and the participation of as many people as possible in programming. This is a model for a collective endeavour - including young people, engagement boards, cultural leaders in schools, volunteers and community advisors.

The new charity – Metroland Cultures – delivers Brent's year as London Borough of Culture and, crucially, will take this new model beyond 2020.

Everything Metroland Cultures does – from commissioning new art works, to organising festivals and designing new support programmes – starts with local residents. After Brent 2020, Metroland Cultures will support an annual series of four artistic commissions in Brent; one of these will be led by young people and another will be commissioned with the London Borough of Brent. All are informed by Engagement Boards bringing together local people and national partners. After 2020, Metroland Cultures will also extend the London Borough of Culture's existing support programmes for young people, artists, Community Advisors and teachers to those in boroughs that border Brent.

Metroland Cultures will continue the work of challenging perceptions of Brent and the power dynamics on which they rest. The London Borough of Culture is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the status of culture in Brent - altering how the borough is seen and how creativity is supported here. Metroland Cultures will ensure that opportunity is not missed.

The first initiative to be launched is the Metroland Cultures Fund, a brand new fund providing financial support to Brent artists and creatives during lock-down. Applications are now closed and successful applicants have been announced. Click here to find out more.


Cultural Arts Consultant & CEO, Mindspray

Errol Donald

Errol is a pioneer of UK graffiti art and qualified creative wellbeing practitioner. He is also the CEO of Mindspray, a creative platform connecting globally to celebrate the art of cultural storytelling. In celebrating creative approaches to health and wellbeing, Mindspray aims to unite and inspire the next generation of creative leaders to create new approaches to mental health and emotional wellbeing. With a unique blend of experiences that include everything from brand strategy and cultural heritage, to leadership coaching, Errol advises clients on the planning of initiatives that meet at the intersection of arts, culture and healthcare.

Director, Flint Public Relations Ltd

Digby Halsby

Digby is an award-winning communications professional whose promotional experience spans public relations, marketing and publishing. At the Paris-based advertising agency Iceberg-Bozell he developed pan-European advertising campaigns for market-leading consumer brands. In agency and in-house roles within the publishing sector he developed the brands of breakthrough literary talents, media managed leading literary awards and publishing events and directed promotional campaigns for internationally bestselling authors, thought-leaders and cultural figures. In 2009 Digby co-founded Flint Culture, a specialist cultural consultancy that has gone on to provide cultural advisory and communications services to brands, businesses and organisations ranging from the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the British Library, Christie’s and the London Art Fair, to BT, Time Out and the National Trust. Based in London and working across Flint’s international offices, Digby offers expertise in brand management, audience engagement, business development and corporate, consumer and cultural partnerships.

Cabinet Member for Public Health, Culture & Leisure, Brent Council

Cllr Krupesh Hirani

Krupesh graduated with a Politics degree from the University of Nottingham in 2007 and has developed strong hands-on experience in the political sector, working for Barry Gardiner MP in the House of Commons and being on the Parliament and Government Programme at the Hansard Society. He then went on to work as a Policy and Business Development Officer for a new public affairs think tank and was mentored through the Operation Black Vote shadowing scheme by the Rt Hon David Lammy MP. In 2008 he was awarded with a Youth Gold Achievement Award during his tenure at the British Youth Council. He stood as a Labour Party candidate in the 2010 local elections and was elected as Councillor to the London Borough of Brent, representing Dudden Hill Ward. In 2012, he joined the Council’s leading Executive Group after becoming the Lead Member for Adults and Health, making him the youngest person in the country to hold this portfolio. He is the current Cabinet member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing at the London Borough of Brent. He works part-time for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Young Theatre Director, Producer & Blueprint Collective member

Jessica Mensah

Jessica is a Young Theatre Director and Producer. She is a recent graduate in BA Theatre and Performance from the University of Surrey, Guildford School of Acting. She is also a member of the Blueprint Collective and performed a spoken word piece for Brent’s winning video called This is Brent. Jessica is currently on the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme; on a three-month placement at tiata fahodzi as part of the Artistic Director Leadership Programme. Previously, Jessica completed a year-long placement at Kiln Theatre and took part in the Young Vic’s Introduction to Directing course and the Young Producer’s programme at Battersea Arts Centre.

Designer, Filmmaker & Blueprint Collective member

Raden Anandra Natalegawa

Raden is a designer and documentary film-maker from Kingsbury who believes in the power of art and design to promote legal and social change. He recently finished a creative placement with Pentagram / Do The Green Thing, using design to raise awareness of the gender gap in climate action. Raden has made films for, and exhibited work with, The Photographer’s Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Somerset House, exploring race, religion and sexuality. He studied Law and Politics (LLB) before transferring to study Graphic Communication Design (FAD) at Central St. Martins. Raden loves dancing, skating and Indomie noodles.

Co-Founder, Creative England

John Newbigin OBE

John is the Chair and Co-Founder of Creative England. As Special Advisor to the Minister for Culture, Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, he was closely involved in developing the UK government's first policies for the creative industries in the 1990s. He was Head of Corporate Relations for Channel 4 Television and Executive Assistant to Lord Puttnam at the film company Enigma Productions. As a policy advisor to the Rt Hon Neil Kinnock MP, he had responsibility for environmental and cultural issues, amongst others.

Artistic Director, Kiln Theatre

Indhu Rubasingham MBE

Indhu is the Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre. Productions as Artistic Director include: Red Velvet (Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Award, also at St Ann’s Warehouse, NYC and West End), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, Multitudes, The House That Will Not Stand, Handbagged (Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, also West End transfer and UK tour), Paper Dolls, The Invisible Hand, Holy Sh!t, White Teeth, and Wife. Other selected directing credits include: The Great Wave, Ugly Lies the Bone, The Motherf**ker With The Hat, The Waiting Room, The Ramayana (National Theatre); Women, Power and Politics, Stones in His Pockets, Detaining Justice, The Great Game: Afghanistan, Fabulation, Starstruck (Tricycle Theatre); Belong, Disconnect, Free Outgoing, Lift Off, Clubland, The Crutch, Sugar Mummies (Royal Court); Ruined (Almeida).

Artistic Director, Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture

Lois Stonock

Lois is the Artistic Director of Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture and a consultant, writer, researcher and programmer working in the arts. She specializes in taking people and organisations through change and development with new approaches and strategic thinking. Lois’ work in areas of cultural strategy with Associates is in collaboration with other academics, policy experts, curators and sector experts. Over 2018 she developed a cultural think tank, The Jennie Lee Institute, to imagine new cultural futures for the UK, engaging the voices of young people, artists and policymakers to extend the value of culture to all areas of the everyday. In addition to this Lois develops curatorial and research projects which are always artist and idea-led, working with artists to realise ambitious projects. This work also informs her strategic thinking in other areas, as she is increasingly working at the intersection of art and society.

Arts and Textiles Teacher, Alperton Community School

Andria Zafirakou MBE

Andria has been teaching art and design at the Alperton Community School for 14 years. In 2018, she was awarded the Global Teacher Prize and has recently set up a charity called Artists in Residence to support the arts in education. Andria received an MBE in 2019 for her services to education.