Carol Leeming MBE FRSA, on Fri 9th October 2020, was announced by Sandra Pollack MA the inspirational founder and lead of East Midlands Awards, as the the new Patron for the prestigious East Midlands Awards organisation. now celebrating its fourth year. the Awards Ceremony was live streamed online. Carol made a short enthusiastic introductory speech as ew patron, and contributed a poem titled Against All Odds, about Women, achieving despite the challenges, commissioned previously by Sandra Pollock for an earlier EMWA Awards Ceremony event. Excitingly this year marked Dare to Diva company sponsorship for the first time, of the Black Ethnic Minority Woman Leader Award. it was a glittering event presentation, with first class music entertainment by artists Mellow Baku, Mia & The Moon, Jersey Budd and Cosmopolitan Music Ensemble. Furthermore, a regional audience was asked at home, to dress up, have delicious food and sip their favourite tipple, to celebrate the East Midlands Women’s Award nominees and winners. In addition during the programme, the audience was asked to send in photos of themselves enjoying at home for the website gallery. Details of all the winners will be published on the website. It is hoped there will a live Awards Ceremony, with live audience in attendance, to present winners with their Awards in person, in a regional venue for 2021.
Carol Leeming was the Host for the 2Funky Arts Virtual Concert Series a programme music band performances over 12 weeks July -Sept 2020 every Saturday evening online, due to the COVID 19 Lockdown. This was a very successful programme and the music bands were selected from across the East Midlands Regions, offering an excellent broad range of music genres from Funky Jazz, New Orleans style brass bands, RnB Soul & Rock. Th programme was broadcast on Youtube and Facebook simultaneously. This yielded phenomenal audience viewings figures, made up of committed previous fans and undoubtedly new audiences. This was significant added benefit in raising awareness fo the musical excellence of the region and ability for music bands, to maintain their ability to retain and extend their audiences, during the challenging period of the COVID 19 as they are unable to perform live in venues to a live audience. In addition new skills and learning in terms of performance and digital recording and mixing of sound and vision, clearly a needed development for music bands during the current pandemic. With in thousands of Youtube & Facebook views, comments and likes.
The annual Festival 2 Funky 2020 funded by the Arts Council England, due the Covid 19 Lockdown, took place via live streaming in May 2020, and was very successful. The Festival Launch Event featured an all Women MOBO music programme, curated, hosted online, for the first time ever, by Carol Leeming MBE FRSA. Three of the artists were also commissioned by 2Funky Arts to produce music, they also received mentoring from Carol to prepare for their Live stream performances on May 22nd for the Launch.
Live streaming presents, particular challenges to artists, in terms of their performance without a live audience, that artists are used to. In addition to the all the digital technicalities involved. All the artists that took part, performed successfully and were able to engage with their own audiences, and stats show they also gained significant numbers in terms of new audiences. Importantly the artists confidence and performance abilities, were enhanced as a result, of taking on the challenge of performing for Live Streaming.
The current climate is very challenging, with some artists, arts organisations/groups facing financial hardship or closure due to the lockdown. It is becoming more clear, that performing artists, and arts organisations in general, are taking to live streaming their arts programmes, with events, webinars, video chats etc. In order to survive, and continue to maintain their arts offer. In addition for them to be able, to retain and connect with their audiences, and other arts colleagues/contacts. It is certainly likely to be part of the new normal, for some time, and for when usual activities resume, hopefully after the Covid 19 pandemic is over.
#BlackLivesMatter Dare to Diva stands in solidarity, with all those who have lost their lives, along with the suffering endured by their loved ones and communities. Due to police brutality and injustice. The list is far too long, of Black People who have lost their lives, due to Police Brutality and Injustice, USA Ahmaud Aubrey George Floyd, Belly Mujinga, Breaonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, in the UK Cherry Groce, Tony McDade, Mark Duggan, the list goes on, with countless other cases, we haven’t heard about in the media.
This sadly continues to this very day. We all have to confront terrible manifestations, of wider systemic racism, anti-black racism coupled with white supremacy and white privilege. We have piles of reports gathering dust, that evidence the inequality, disparities, and injustice, Black deaths in police custody etc poor health and educational outcomes etc.. Her in Britain from over many decades . It now time to change the conversation and take action. To challenge and be proactively anti -racist and make significant change now.
#The Black Lives Matter campaign continues it has been re -kindled, with the recent world wide protests in the wake of the George Floyd killing by Police in USA. We need to ‘seize the time’ to maintain the momentum, long after the headlines of protests. With this in mind there are e links below this text, information resources to read and share with colleagues, associates and friends.
To educate ourselves further, to begin the the process of deep reflection, to be actively anti-racist, in what ever, context, sphere or way we can. especially in the arts cultural and heritage sector that i work in. There is also a template, for a letter to the Education Minister Gavin Williamson, to make for a Black Curriculum for all our children, to address Britain’s hidden historical narratives about itself as a nation. Now is the time!
Carol Leeming MBE FRSA Director Dare to Diva
List of Resources BLMLinks for White Allies
Carol Leeming MBE is very proud to be one of the contributors, for an important book published by Serendipity Arts launched Windrush Day June 22nd 2020. The book features a stellar group of contributors, as this new Serendipity Arts publication brings forth the contributions of Black people in Arts, Culture and Heritage, from a British and European perspective, rendering them visible. It explores historical and contemporary contexts and how these are expressed in various art forms. Reflections includes a paper by Professor Stephen Small which delves further into the cultural implications around Windrush.
All of the above with regard to this important publication, is most timely, with both the Celebration each year Windrush Day 22nd June and recent shocking events that have re-invigorated the #BlackLivesMatter movement . This was triggered by the death of George Floyd in USA, as a victim of Police Brutality, which led to continuing World wide protests. In addition to statements of solidarity, there have been strident calls for action to address longstanding issues of systemic racism, that impacts Black People in USA, Britain and elsewhere in the world. The global conversation is underway in earnest, and its terms, the way it is articulated has changed, with more of a focus on White people to reflect and understand their white privilege thorough avid and appropriate reading and other resources: as to how they can understand and change systems that perpetuate racism, inequality and disparities, together with being proactively anti-racist, across all areas of society of and how to be an ally to Black people, to implement strategies to challenge racism effectively.
This book will be a must have for those working in Arts Culture & Heritage, both in academia and the sector. It has arrived at a time when the Arts Cultural & Heritage, is facing the challenge of the Covid 19, its current and future impact. This pivotal moment therefore is a further opportunity, by arts cultural & Heritage institutions, to address the many decades of evidenced racism in the sector, in terms of injustice, indifference and neglect, with regard to Black Arts Cultural & Heritage, its critical role and contribution to 21st century Britain. Order the book here https://serendipity-uk.com/product/reflections-cultural-voices-of-black-british-irrepressible-resilience/
Carol Leeming, along with colleagues at De Montfort University, has been working p/time remotely with Students online during the Covid 19 Lockdown period from March 2020 to the end of term. Throughout this period also, Carol has continued to work remotely online via video meetings, online project management platforms, via phone and email, working as an Arts Consultant for a client a Leicester Arts Group that work with Children specifically.
All work flows at times have been ad hoc, and there have been real challenges and steep learning curves. Carol like many other self employed arts cultural practitioners, accessed successfully the HMRC Self Employed Income Support Scheme, due to the loss of other freelance work from the arts cultural sector which is closed down.
However Carol has completed some very short pieces of work , in roles as follows: as Host for the launch of an online Festival 2 Funky Urban Music Festival in May 2020 with pre-recorded performances of an all Women Music Artist Line Up. it was a great success with significantly large online audience of 700 viewers and very large audiences across the whole festival, with viewings continuing via Youtube.
From June 20th 2020 Carol also is the Host (filmed) for 2 Funky Music Cafe Virtual Concert Series which includes 12 Bands online pre-recorded performances each Saturday night evening over a 12 week period. It anticipated to also attract good numbers in terms of an online audience in comparison to numbers in a live venue context.
The current situation overall, remains difficult and unclear as to the arts cultural sector, which is at a stand still due to Covid 19 regarding the country as a whole. In particular as to arts organisations, venues, theatres, offices etc. re-opening. All of which is dependent on the latest Government advice as to any likely easing of restrictions e.g. social distancing etc.This in turn is dependent on the reduction of levels of infection across the country, delivery of testing, track and trace, alongside effective treatments and vaccines.
Overall mid term to long term planning therefore is difficult, creating anxiety, in this challenging current economic situation. We can but wait and see to plan as best as we can for the future, it is clear for the short term, Carol will be working more from home and online, which also shapes the way how she works going forward.
in recent weeks the Black Lives Matter Campaign has been re-ignited worldwide in the wake of the yet another tragic, brutal and callous killing by the Police of a Black man George Floyd in USA. This has had a seismic effect across the world and protests continue. More importantly it has re-vigorated, the discourse around systemic racism as a white issue to address, and the need for change, the urgent need for dismantling wholesale of systemic racism .
This demand has been clearly articulated and demonstrated with widespread protests, and messages of solidarity with #Black Lives Matter here across the UK. We have witnessed the overspill of frustration of years of inaction, and seen in response some small changes, by institutions, or large organisations as an initial response, but there is so much more to do, than statements or one-off actions now and in the future. It is unclear how #Black LivesMatter campaign will impact the UK arts cultural sector, together with the impact of Covid 19 Lockdown as we all move forwards.
A new start with a new position in 2020 for Carol Leeming, at De Montfort University, Leicester, having been appointed as Part Time Lecturer, Teaching Singing Vocals, BA (Hons.) Performing Arts Degree, Contemporary Music Theatre Module, School of Visual & Performing Arts, Faculty Arts Design & Humanities. Carol will be able to bring considerable knowledge, expertise and experience, teaching singing, vocal/performance skills, with a culturally diverse musicality. Along with a wide knowledge and understanding of contemporary music theatre practice for the benefit of students.
De Montfort University, is recognised as a Centre for Excellence in Performing Arts, with great facilities, providing specialist studios and rehearsal spaces designed specifically for performance learning activities. With access to digital video cameras, sound recording equipment and editing suites, to enhance and perfect Students craft.
This new role and setting, therefore has delighted Carol, as it enables her to build, and consolidate her creative insights, to share her ample experience and excellent track record of work to date. Specifically in contemporary theatre music, with this opportunity, to work with the students, alongside other esteemed colleagues within the School.
BOHO MUSE: Is a brand new night of astonishing poetry and live music, launches Monday March 2nd 2020 6-10pm FREE ENTRY at the sumptuous luxurious Oasis Lounge by MELAYA a, 13, LE5 ODB Narborough Road. Hosted by iconic Poet/Musician Carol Leeming, with new to Leicester, mesmerising Poet Richard C. Bower. Both are luminaries, and critically acclaimed, nationally, and internationally in the poetry and music worlds. The night was a resounding success with music and poetry contributions from a range of quality artists which delighted the audience.
BOHO MUSE night offers an open invitation for local poets, writers and musicians, to release their inner muse, to perform Poetry/Spoken Word and/or play, available in-house are Piano, Guitar, Cajon Drum, with a small P.A. All artists are welcome to sign up, take part in artistic expressions, enjoy themselves or just relax and listen,in opulent surroundings, in a totally unique setting.
Following the launch night, BOHO MUSE will be every first Monday of the month. Carol and Richard, are much impressed, by the stunning artistic community of the city, they recognise, the need for a different, friendly relaxed, inspiring space for artists and their friends. To socialise, enjoy themselves, whilst encouraging artistic expressions, for fun enjoyment, to lighten the austere times, in a unique glamourous salon type ambiance, is what artists deserve, but not found anywhere else in the city.
The Lounge bar is located at the heart, of the friendly cosmopolitan West End area of Leicester. Serving wine spirits and amazing cocktails, handcrafted by the amazing in-house mixologist, with a wide range of hot & cold (non- alcoholic) beverages available. Compliment your drinks also with beautiful, delicious deserts, pastries and snacks.
Oasis Lounge By MELAYA
13 Narborough Road
Leicester LE5 0DB
Carol Leeming has been working as an Arts Consultant with the Leicester based Creative Creatures Collective. The group offer series a series of locally published Children’s Animal Fable books, with illustrations, as well offering as multi-disciplinary arts events for Parents and Children based on the animal fables, across a range of venues.
Carol’s role is to help the Creative Creature , a culturally diverse six person arts collective, to continue to develop their multi-disciplinary arts offer to Parents and children, as well as strategic development with a view to a future Arts Council England funding bid. Further support is given by Carol, to make links with key local arts organisations, to explore and develop partnerships and strategic support, along with developing a relationship with De Montfort University. To scope out possibilities for Student involvement with their work, and make contact with the ground-breaking Talent 25 Project, looking at Arts with Under -Fives and Parents, over 25 years in Leicester.
Carol Leeming MBE FRSA headlined a popular Speech Bubble Poetry Event 9th December 2019 , this a regular event held at Loughborough University in the Students Union building. The Event has two professional poets to headline (the other professional poet was Jamie Thrasivolou) and slots for Creative Writing Students of the University and an Open Mic for other Poetry Spoken Word Guests.
Carol read poems from her sold out debut chapbook The Declamations of Cool Eye, as well as new poems from here forthcoming book The Eclipse of Dread due to be launched published by Dare to Diva in 2020. With a range of poems covering food, football, the elements and the the season of autumn, all of which was very well received by the audience,
The Speech Bubble Event was curated by a Student Fellowship Winner Ames, the event was well supported by an keen attentive younger audience, along with exciting Leicester poets Richard Bowers (Modern) Cathi Rae (Your Cleaner Hates You) to published by new publisher Soulful Group Publishing.The event was well supported also by Loughborough University Staff Nick Slater Director of Arts, along with Kerry Feathersone Creative Writing Lecturer