Our Chief Executive- Roger Griffith
Roger is a social entrepreneur, lecturer and engaged in several community and social action projects. These initiatives include consultation, media, employment and diversity activities. He was the Executive Chair for 11 years at Ujima Radio where he is also a broadcaster. In the turbulent 1980’s Roger had long periods of unemployment before rediscovering education. He rose from a trainee to a senior manager in local government where he specialised in social housing, empowering communities and working on a number of schemes to develop BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) staff.
He is a lecturer for UWE Bristol helping to diversify the curriculum and working on a number of community engagement projects. A keen writer he published his first book ‘My American Odyssey-From the Windrush to the White House Volume One’ in 2015 about the American Deep-South comparing America and Britain during the term of the first black president and his own families journey as part of the Windrush Generation. He sits on the Arts Council England South West advisory board. He is an artistic producer, a contributor to the online cultural magazine Bristol 24/7 and a film curator with the Come the Revolution collective at Bristol Watershed as well as a writer at large for Bristol Post on race issues. In March 2018 Roger was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Medal for his community and voluntary work on race equality. He is currently researching and drafting his second book ‘Reflections Across A New Black Atlantic’ combining his personal insight, experiences and connections across the African Diaspora. In 2019 he was awarded the M.B.E. for services to diversity and arts.
Millie Wood-Downie graduated with a First Class Honors in Drama with Creative Writing from UWE, Bristol in 2018. She first came on board as Roger’s Creative Projects Intern through the Santander Summer Internship Programme in partnership with UWE, becoming inspired by the work Roger does for diversity and inclusion within Bristol and beyond. Their collaboration continued when she was asked to stay on board at the completion of her internship as Creative Producer for Creative Connex.
Millie is an actor, spoken word poet, producer and performer alongside her work with Creative Connex. She is currently a commissioned artist for the BBC New Creatives with a Spoken Word Audio piece: I Want To Be Good. In 2019 she co-created Place, an immersive exhibition providing platforms for emerging artists in the South-West with her award winning theatre company, Penultimate. At the core of all her work is inclusion and collaboration, helping to bring opportunities to those who find them harder to find, and to be a pioneer for change amongst the next generation of artists.
Gnisha Bevan co-developed and coordinates our Black Seeds Environmental Justice Network. She works as consultant advisor on a range of environmental and social justice projects and is currently studying for an MSc in Sustainable Development in Practice at the University of the West of England Bristol. She is an education specialist with five years of experience collaborating with the Rwandan Education Board, international development partners and the voluntary sector to improve the quality of education in Rwanda. She has lived in different countries around the world and has a passion for collaboration and breaking down barriers between people. Gnisha believes that education, positivity, creativity and innovation are vital tools for building a more peaceful and equitable world for us all.
Benjamin Junior James
Benjamin is a Media Designer with a BA(Hons) degree in Creative Media Design, obtained at the University of The West of England, who takes great pride in producing visually appealing content. He is a Photographer, Videographer and Graphic Designer who helps businesses and Individuals with their branding, online presence and aesthetics. He is currently working for Creative Connex where he handles their website and produces content for their social media platforms.
Anna Mundy-Ostergaard, Business and Event Management graduate, has been the most recent addition to the Creative Connex team. Through the UWE Santander Internship programme, she has joined our organisation as our Project Manager intern in order to aid project progression and management. Anna specialises in management processes and organisational techniques, and she hopes that her expertise in these fields, alongside her passion for social justice, will provide support for social change.
Chloe Smith is a Creative and Professional Writing graduate from UWE Bristol. She first met Roger through a guest lecture and later supported the Windrush Generations project with Creative Connex whilst finishing her degree. After graduating, Chloe joined the Creative Connex team to manage the social media, working closely with the team to raise awareness and promote the fantastic projects and opportunities that Creative Connex offers and organises for communities. At the heart of everything, collaboration and inclusivity is what makes Chloe tick.
Alongside Creative Connex, Chloe is a freelancer and blogger who shares her graduate journey through Instagram, focussing on motivation, mental health and self-love, plus honestly-told experiences that remind people that they can achieve anything they put their mind to. Her most recent project is her podcast coming in the Spring which will expand on the conversations she has online.