Poetry & Covid 19 Anthology (Shearsman Press) Outstanding International Poetry Collaborations Excel!

Carol Leeming MBE FRSA, poetry is featured alongside her poetry collaborator Rakshan Rizwan, in a new ground breaking, excellent Poetry and Covid Anthology, of international poetry collaborators responding to the unprecedented world wide pandemic. The poetry anthology is published by Shearsmans Press, it was launched online in February 2021, with an event hosted by Anthony Caleshu and Rory Waterman, Plymouth University and Nottingham University respectively, and featured poets reading their poems with Q&A. It is worth noting, during this time of pandemic, poetry, and poetry anthologies on this subject, have flourished. They are seen as essential, as people have sought poetry to express and document, a common humanity, in the face of lockdowns and a perilous health crisis.

However, this particular collection, most deftly edited by Anthony Caleshu and Rory Waterman, with an illuminating and expansive introduction, is somewhat different. As it features very diverse highly acclaimed poets from across the world and Britain, working together to craft their divergent poetic responses to the Covid 19 pandemic, the scale of which we have never known before since the early part of the century.. The 19 pairs of poets selected, were commissioned last year, and their contributions form part of a joint project with Plymouth University and Nottingham Trent University funded by AHRC. Another part of this project, is a rather busy website which has seen unparalleled activity, in terms of visits and also the many poetry contributions, responding to Covid 19, from a diverse range of people across the world and UK.

All the above elements: the outstanding anthology, diverse online poems and video poetry responses, posted on the Poetry and Covid 19 Website. All amount to an incredibly important body of work, to be utilised, discussed and cherished for many years to come, by generations of academics, poets, artists and many others. Such. is the abundance of creativity, power and providence this historic collection of work affords.

The pairs of contributors are: Sinéad Morrissey and Jan Wagner (trans. Iain Galbraith); Carol Leeming and Rakhshan Rizwan; George Szirtes and Alvin Pang; Vahni Capildeo and Vivek Narayanan; Rory Waterman and Togara Muzanenhamo; Rachael Allen and Ilya Kaminsky; Zoë Skoulding and Yana Lucila Lema Otavalo; Inua Ellams and Omar Musa; Matthew Welton and Hazel Smith; Vidyan Ravinthiran and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra; Anthony Caleshu and Mariko Nagai; Selima Hill and Wang Xiaoni (trans. Eleanor Goodman); Declan Ryan and Linda Stern Zisquit; David Herd and Sharmistha Mohant; Luke Kennard and Hwang Yu Won (trans. Jake Levine); André Naffis-Sahely and Stacy Hardy; Harriet Tarlo and Craig Santos Pérez; Jennifer Cooke and Jèssica Pujol Duran; Momtaza Mehri and A. E. Stallings.




Black History Video Loughborough University #Black Lives Matter

In the wake of the momentous world wide movement, in response to #Black Live Matter movement. We find ourselves in the arts cultural sector, required to take necessary anti-racist actions, to decolonize curriculums and practices, create more opportunity for culturally diverse groups, in order to dismantle systemic institutional racism in society.

Further more , taking such action will galvanise and promote Equality Diversity and Inclusion-, social justice and equality, across the board for Women, LGBTQ Disabled Groups and all other currently excluded groups.

I was fortunate during Black History Month for Loughborough University, to give a talk on British Black History which is British History ‘my Black History is your History is our History’ This was well received, it offers crucial knowledge to acquire ,to be able to understand the UK, the World, its increasingly diverse society and communities. To promote respect and understanding, and importantly for White people, to learn to listen how to become better allies, to understand racism, as a toxic legacy of Slavery, Imperialism and Colonialism, and how it still its effects society today. To then learn how best to make change now, to effectively dismantle centuries old disadvantage and disparities. We owe it to current and future generations to do this. I do hope you will watch the video below and share with colleagues. In addition there are additional links to see and share re #BLM to become an ally.

Video https://www.lboro.ac.uk/news-events/black-history-month/

Links for White Allies – To Understand the Struggle Against Racism White Supremacy & Privilege


Why I Am no longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge


We New Stories: Challenging Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent by Nesrine Malik


Web Spaces





Carol Leeming MBE FRSA #TEDx Talk For Women Leading Social Change De Montfort University November 24th November

Join Carol Leeming MBE FRSA who is looking forward to the forthcoming #TEDx Event De Montfort University titled Women Leading Social Change. Carol’s talk will focus on historical and present day Feminist i.e Women’s Movements and issues The event is FREE see booking details here https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/tedxdemontfortuwomen-women-leading-social-change-in-leicester-registration-124284868387?fbclid=IwAR3X9qhbBWZJlJm_qS-KNJX471lJlfuFfgcmk0m4RHLY5r1mc7251j8E3Yw

Great News! Carol Leeming MBE FRSA Announced as New Patron of East Midlands Women’s Awards & Dare to Diva Sponsors Black Ethnic Minority Woman Leader Award live streamed EMWAAwards Ceremony 9th October 2020

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 Hosts 2Funky Arts Virtual Concert Series July-Sept 2020

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.

Live Streaming Success: Festival 2 Funky 2020 Launch Event with Host Carol Leeming

Festival 2 Funky 2020

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.


#Black Lives Matter: Dare to Diva Statement & Anti-Racism Information Resources

#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 BLM

List of Resources BLMLinks for White Allies

Will you contact Gavin Williamson



Carol Leeming MBE – One of the Contributors For An Important Black Arts & Culture Book by Serendipity Arts Launched Windrush Day 22nd 2020

04077_Serendipity_Reflections_Cover_Final-01-1536x1536Carol 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/










Dare to Diva Covid 19 Lockdown-DMU Remote Teaching Successful Freelance Projects Impacts & #Black Lives Matter

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.


New Position for 2020 – Part time Lecturer: Teaching Contemporary Music Theatre Module Performing Arts De Montfort University Leicester

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.