Created by the people of Greater Manchester
Meet the incredible members of the Factory Assembly. Together, they're creating The Welcome – a celebration of the opening of Aviva Studios. Taking place over nine days in November 2023, and filling every inch of the building, The Welcome will bring together a programme that includes the best of circus, music, fashion, food, exhibitions and more.
Adeola Adelakun (R)
I am Adeola, a fashion designer and business owner based in Manchester. I became involved with Factory International when I directed a short film called Black Stories Matter as part of Festival in My House. I was then involved in Portrait of Black Britain where my portrait was taken by Cephas Williams and displayed. It is a huge pleasure to be a part of the Factory Assembly where I use my love for spoken word, music and event planning to create programming for the opening of Factory International. It's been incredible working with such a talented team of people and I am excited to see the vision come to life!
I'm Amelia and I was a student in the first cohort of Factory Futures by the Factory Academy in 2020 which then led to having an interview for a Kickstart placement at Factory International. I then became a Creative Engagement Intern for six months working in the Creative Engagement team. This led to me getting involved in Factory Assembly. In my spare time I take part in the Small-Medium Projects, Artistic Programme: Participation and Audiences & Marketing strands of the Welcome.
I’m Arlene from Ashton and have volunteered at a number of MIF festivals and Factory International events over the years. I love to meet and greet the lovely people attending the events and chat with them. There is always excitement and anticipation in the air. I am not really an arty person, more community-based, but the events that I have attended have been so varied that I feel there is something for everyone, and everyone can get involved at whatever level. That's why I am a member of both Factory International's People's Forum and Factory Assembly!
I first got involved with Factory International as a member of their Young People's Forum. Since then I've helped design the David Lynch exhibition at HOME (I’m an architect by trade!), worked with inspirational community members in the event Looking Forward to Tomorrow and, most recently, I’m honoured to be a small part of the group feeding into Factory International. It's a huge stride forward for culture in the North West and will bring Greater Manchester to the creative world stage. It's a privilege to help feed into the process and see the building develop. I am also passionate about film making and have just started a small business looking at repurposing under-valued buildings.
I first volunteered at MIF19, after many years of being in the audience of MIF events and loving the atmosphere the festival brings to the city every other year. It was a fantastic experience, where I especially liked meeting other brilliant volunteers from across Greater Manchester and Factory International staff. And I got to share my enthusiasm for Manchester and the arts. I enjoyed being part of MIF19 so much, that I put myself forward to be on the community panel for Festival in My House and Yours in 2020. This opportunity then led me to get involved in the Factory Assembly on The Welcome. And what an insightful and exciting process it’s been so far… I can’t wait to see Factory International open!
Carmen Fyfe Paulo
Hi I'm Carmen, and I joined the Young People's Forum with Factory International in 2019. I loved getting involved in the event Looking Forward to Tomorrow at MIF21 and really wanted to stay involved in Factory International's community co-curation groups, which led me to joining The Welcome team. It's been amazing and I've loved meeting so many different people with such cool ideas about the arts, community, and Factory International's role in the arts scene in Manchester!
Hi, my name is Dawn, I’m a creative mover and organiser, collaborator and book artist. I’ve been a participant and volunteer with Manchester International Festival since 2009 and it’s been an amazing experience. Every festival and project is unique, each opening up a new world of creative possibilities and relationships. It’s both exciting and a privilege to be part of the conversation helping to shape and influence how we, as part of our communities, access and experience the arts in Manchester. I’m proud to be a member of the People’s Forum and Factory Assembly as critical friend to Factory International and co-curator of The Welcome.
I'm Dorretta and I'm a health and well-being instructor, as well as a volunteer community reporter for Talking About My Generation. I pride myself on my commitment to supporting the communities in Greater Manchester to promote and engage in initiatives that will make it a better place for us to live, work and grow, such as having access to amenities that they so deserve and promoting equality and diversity.
I'm Faith and I've been involved with Factory International in lots of different projects including co-creating Looking Forward To Tomorrow in 2021, stewarding Skepta's gig in 2019, and having loads of fun as a participant at events. Creative spaces are my absolute favourite because I believe they are a playground for us to explore who we are and our place in the world. I can't wait to have a hand in opening a brand-new space for the people of the North West where they can ask questions, push boundaries and discover!
I'm Farai, a passionate human rights activist with a strong love for arts and culture. I am the project coordinator for an organisation called Everything Human Rights that aims to promote the wellbeing and successful integration of migrant communities in the Wigan Borough, acting as a bridge between minority communities and the wider community. I first got involved with Factory International through the Little Amal project, when beneficiaries of our organisation (asylum seekers and refugees) shared their life stories as a bedtime story for Little Amal. This amazing experience and how it touched millions of people is the main reason why today, I am proud to be a member of the Factory Assembly.
I'm Ngozi, a creative practitioner in various disciplines including photography, filmmaking and performance. My work as an artist has previously been exhibited for Disability Arts Online and DaDa Fest and was on display as part of the Manchester Open 2022 at HOME. I have also performed nationally and internationally in wheelchair ballroom and Latin dance, competing for Great Britain. I've been at the BBC in Manchester since 2011, where my role has covered journalism, research, directing, content producing and editing for both BBC Children's and BBC Education. Since 2020, I've worked with Factory International through its People's Forum and as an active board member.
I'm Heidi and my journey with Factory International began in 2019 on a traineeship in their digital department; since then, I’ve performed at, curated with, made brews for, and generally have been buzzing about the organisation ever since! At the moment I’m excited by exploring my movement and voice practice, as well as travelling and discovering different cultures.
I'm Josef and I am an artist, musician and teacher from Bury. I release music as Nation of Two and am and artist with The Manchester Art Authority. I first got involved with Factory International when me and my wife Louise hosted a Festival in My House event called Future Feast. This was a great event and in the next festival we worked with so many amazing people to co-create Looking Forward to Tomorrow. I am really excited to be involved in the Factory Assembly and have loved the process so far of meeting and engaging with people across Manchester to help bring this event together. Factory International is an amazing venue and really has the potential to revolutionise how communities can develop and create the artistic life of a city and share it on a local and global stage. What an amazing thing to be part of!
I'm Josephine, from Stretford. I became involved with Factory International as part of MIF21, when I performed in Sea Change, a dance piece choreographed for the festival to celebrate togetherness after lockdown. It felt wonderful to be back in the city centre with people from all across Greater Manchester and it made me keen to stay involved with Factory International. Later that year, I was proud to be part of the team of puppeteers welcoming Little Amal, the refugee puppet from Syria, to her final home in Manchester. This year I have completed the Factory Academy's Managing Creative Projects course, and am now a member of the Factory Assembly, helping to shape the events for Factory International's opening programme. I am proud of our work, proud of our city and really excited for Factory International to open its doors!
My name is Keri and I'm a Neighbourhood Organiser for Factory International as well as part of the Factory Assembly. My role is to introduce as many, schools, colleges, churches, community groups and local people to our amazing new building. It's a new, fresh and welcoming building – a place for local jobs, a safe space to come together and make bonds and new friends putting on programmes and events. It's ours to do what we wish... Let's make things happen and bring opportunities along the way!
My name is Lorraine. My first Factory International experience was way back at MIF13 when I took part in a play called Neck of the Woods as a member to the Sacred Sounds Choir. Since then I've been a member of the People's Forum and an avid festival attender. I went on to join both the People’s Forum and Factory Assembly for reasons both professional and personal. Professionally I wanted to increase my knowledge of the diverse range of possibilities in Manchester's art sector. Personally, I enjoy attending and engaging with the shows, artists, audiences and staff that participate in and contribute to Factory International. I believe the arts serve as an essential factor in the betterment of today’s society by giving voice and substance of self-expression through social and cultural engagement.
I’m Nakib. I’ve been hooked on MIF since Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth in 2013. With Factory Assembly I’d love to explore opportunities for older people. I’m “Roving Provocateur“ for Age UK Arts Conference and run Chorlton Good Neighbour’s Drama Workshops with 40 members aged 50s to 80s. I am also on Chorlton Arts Festival’s Committee. I was a journalist with BBC Radio/TV and Granada News before becoming an actor and theatre maker. I’m from Blackburn, Lancashire and visited and lived in Manchester since childhood: from helping my dad on trips to Northern Quarter and Strangeways wholesalers for our market stall to working for Granada in Quay Street. I was again on the Quay Street site playing a Priest in Coronation Street and now, amazingly, I’m back with Factory International!
My name is Raphale, I had the privilege of being a part of Portrait Of Black Britain curated by Cephas Williams and showcased as part of MIF21. Since then, I have been lucky enough to be a part of the Factory Assembly; putting forward ideas for the opening of Factory International. I've grown fond(er) of the organisation as I've been able to witness first hand the great lengths gone into making sure Factory International is inclusive and accessible to everyone. I have a keen interest in business and I'm the proud owner of ARMRstore & ARMR in The Community CIC both of which have a strong focus on supporting the wellbeing of local residents through food, arts and culture initiatives and events.
Ronke Jane Adelakun (L)
I'm Ronke Jane, an award-winning poet, spoken word artist and filmmaker based in Manchester. My work explores themes of race, social justice and empowerment. I was introduced to Factory International through Festival in my House and produced my short film, Black Stories Matter, which was supported by Factory International. Following this, I acted as a recommender for Portrait of Black Britain which eventually led me to join the Factory Assembly. I am also a freelance writer and have been commissioned to write for organisations including Refinery29, Black Ballad and Huffington Post. In 2022, I was selected as one of BBC’s Words First cohort, and my spoken word performances have been featured on BBC Radio Manchester.
My name is Shada and I first got involved with Factory International from its debut festival MIF07 as a volunteer and I haven’t stopped – everything from volunteering right through to co-creating Looking Forward To Tomorrow in MIF21. I feel honoured to represent the people of Manchester and others like me, in creating and sustaining a burgeoning creative community within Manchester as well as internationally. Factory International has supported me in taking that leap in my 40s to finally become a creative.
I first got involved with Factory International when I took part in the Factory Academy's Managing Creative Projects course in January 2022. It was a wonderful experience learning and connecting with people from such a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds and stages in life in Manchester. I then joined the Young People's Forum and more recently the Factory Assembly, which have both been a great insight into co-production and decision-making. Being involved with Factory International has allowed me to feel connected to my city and the people in it after the pandemic!
Hi I'm Ushiku. My initial involvement with Factory International was via the Disabled Peoples Engagement Group. From there I got more involved around the 2021 festival as a creative participant for I Love You Too, Notes on Grief and Matchmakers, and as a member of the Factory Assembly where I’m part of the Music and Artistic Working Groups.