Project Noir is a creative network for Black, Asian and mixed Black/Asian heritage professionals who work in media i.e. TV,Film/Visual arts. Project Noir holds informal events to support our network and also aid our members with jobs and opportunities to help diversify the industry.
Once a month we hold Parlour, which is a safe space in Soho for members to come to meet other Black/Asian creatives and share their current projects; documentaries, short films, live readings of screenplays etc, where they receive peer feedback.
We recently launched Parlour+ where we have industry veterans come to talk to our members, we kicked off with June Sarpong MBE in February, Kwame Kwei Armah in July and Sir Lenny Henry is joining us this December. Parlour+ is a meet up in a living room setting, where with our special guests discussions are had about diversity and conversation is driven by questions from our members, which often regards their experiences, thoughts and treatment within the industry.
Ultimately Project Noir exists to ensure that there is representation of Black and Asian creatives in the arts & media industry. Find out more here
-How and why did you come up with the idea of creating Project Noir?
Project Noir was started as what was at first a simple concept to create a space where Black and Asian creatives working in TV and Film could connect to post jobs and access advice within a safe space in a closed Facebook group. It came out of a conversations with a few frustrated friends who were thinking about leaving the industry to find a job where they might be able to progress, we were looking at how very few of us there were working in TV and at that time there weren’t many, if any, Black or non-white executives so the outlook was pretty bleak in terms of carving out a future.
-How can people be part of the project and contribute? If you are a Black or Asian creative who wants to connect or attend some of our events you can sign up for free at the moment by filling out an application, all you need to do is email email@example.com . If you want to support us, and we always need support you can either send job applications/ opportunities or reach out to us if you want to give us access to events for our members. There are many other ways to support, we are interested in partnerships, collaborations and of course we need financial help as I am running PN pro bono at the moment and that’s something that needs to change so I can continue to run it and help build our outreach.
-What do you think is the biggest challenge in the creative industry for the collective Project Noir aims at? The biggest challenge is progress and visibility, that goes for individually at base level, where employment is beyond hiring juniors, mid level creatives need access to higher level jobs and training/support too, there seems to be a trend of doing the bare minimum to tick boxes. It also means as an industry we need to go beyond conversations about diversity issues, we have more than enough “talks” and “reports”, its now about accountability and action, I’d like to see more people putting their money where there mouth is and less conversations about how they might do it, content wise we must do more to nurture talent and this means more than a special edition or a season dedicated to diversity, its constant work for inclusion. We also need to hire the people already doing the free labour where all the above are concerned.
-What are your plans for the future and next steps for Project Noir?
I would like to create opportunities for specialised PN training and more partnerships where we can open up accessibility to usually exclusive industry events or with companies/people who are considered difficult to reach, as an industry we must be more contactable, especially for people without ready-made connections.
-You studied production at Ravensbourne university in London and I read one of the best experiences in your life was working for the 2012 olympics. Why? What was special about it?
Rave is such a great uni, it’s brilliant for the connections you can make let alone the courses that are made to make you industry ready. It was one of the unis selected to participate in the 2012 Olympics, some of us applied to work others to volunteer, I was one of the fortunate who were paid to work at one of the biggest and historical events in the world. That in itself was what made it special, aside from that I was working alongside people from all over the world, broadcasters, volunteers and sporting personalities. I was placed in the boxing arena as a liaison officer, it was a really electric environment and I had the best time working and also just spending time at the Olympics.
-What projects are you currently working on?
There are a few things in the pipeline I can’t talk about as they are yet to be confirmed, I’d like to launch PN in another city like Paris too, though currently I’m working on our next special guest for Parlour which is our event where we invite a industry veteran to have an informal conversation with our members and our members also get the opportunity to share their content/projects with the guest/audience for feedback. In 2018 we had June Sarpong, Kwame Kwei Armah and rounded up the year with Sir Lenny Henry, it’s been pretty epic. I’m also hoping to do some training workshops for our members but all that depends on funding.
-Have you already thought what you want your legacy to be?
I’d love for my legacy to be a person who created opportunities for fair representation in media and space for Black / Asian creatives to be themselves, tell their own stories and achieve success without any glass ceilings.
-Do you have any favourite quote/motto/slogan?
I have a few but at the moment I’ll go with a loose Matisse quote ‘Creativity demands courage’
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