NSCD Events

black women in leadership symposium
This event has now ended

Thursday 23rd February 2023 - Friday 24th February 2023

This event is for anyone interested in equality and diversity, regardless of seniority, gender identity or racial heritage. 

Join us for two days of inspiring and insightful conversation, exploring how we can collectively increase and support diversity in leadership today.

Focusing on actionable change, this symposium brings together voices from across the arts and business to pick apart recent debates around diversity & inclusion, and ask "What next?". With panel talks and roundtable discussions on a range of themes including health & well-being, allyship and creative activism.

Ticket prices:
£30 standard
£20 concession*
*students, under 25s and self-employed

Included in your ticket price:

  • Thursday evening meal & Friday breakfast
  • complimentary refreshments, including tea & coffee
  • a ticket to see Alethia Antonia's Inscribed in 'Me' on Thursday 23 February, 7:30pm

See the full schedule here

Find out more about the speakers here

Consider yourself an artist? Find out more about our artist offer

Why attend?

  • Deepen awareness of the importance and value of diverse leadership
  • Learn more about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) principles
  • Share your perspectives and hear from others facing similar challenges
  • Connect with like-minded thinkers
  • Accelerate Diversity and Inclusion efforts through your work

This event is for:

  • Individuals who support Equality and Diversity
  • Individuals at all stages of their careers interested in leadership
  • Allies interested in supporting the voices of marginalised groups
  • Individuals interested in creative activism & challenging the status quo

Topics covered include:

  • The future of diverse leadership
  • Nurturing young leaders
  • Challenging the status quo & self-empowerment
  • Different leadership styles & Intersectionality
  • Cultural Activism in theory and in practice
  • Effective Allyship
  • Health and Wellbeing

Roundtables will be available to choose on the day

Download event schedule

Featured Speakers

Griselda Togobo MPhil, ACA, CEO, Forward Ladies

Griselda Togobo is an international corporate consultant. She is also a multi-faceted entrepreneur, engineer and chartered accountant. Her experience as a black woman in the corporate world drives her to help progressive global companies create inclusive workplaces. She works directly with CEOs and business leaders to embed a culture of inclusion at the heart of their talent strategy.  She is a respected and impactful speaker and is known for her high energy and engaging style. Griselda offers a fresh perspective and approach to developing leaders. Griselda is passionate about advancing girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math sectors and supports female leaders through forwardladies.com.Griselda has an outstanding reputation as a trusted provider of high-quality D&I learning solutions and consulting services through her businesses.

Read more at https://griseldatogobo.com

Sharon Watson MBE

Sharon Watson is the fourth Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Prior to this she was the longest-standing Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre. During her tenure at Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sharon received a number of awards and accolades: In 2010, she was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s ‘Women to Watch’, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK. She was awarded The Sue Ryder ‘Yorkshire Women of Achievement in Business Award’ and named ‘Yorkshire Woman of the Year’ in 2016. She recently received the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts’ Companionship Award from Sir Paul McCartney and was recognised as one of ‘100 faces of a vibrant economy 2017’ by Grant Thornton.  Acknowledged at the 2017 Northern Power Women Awards as part of the very first ‘Top 50 Power List’, in 2018 Sharon won the First English Woman’s Award for Arts and Culture and in October of the same year she was named the ‘Arts and Media Senior Leader of the Year’ by the Black British Business Awards.  In November 2020, Sharon was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. In January 2022 she was awarded an MBE for Services to Dance. She appears in the Yorkshire Insider Power 100 list 2022.

Pawlet Brookes MBE

Pawlet Brookes MBE is the founder, CEO and artistic director of Serendipity – Institute for Black Arts and Heritage.  An experienced and highly respected senior manager and producer, Brookes has been at the forefront of the development of Black arts in the UK since she was appointed Marketing Manager at the Nia Centre (Manchester) in the 90s, then Artistic Director of Peepul Centre (Leicester) and ultimately Chief Executive of Rich Mix (London). She has over 30 years’ experience as a cultural leader with expertise in partnership building, international programming and cultural diversity.  She is the trailblazer behind several initiatives with arts and cultural organisations both in the UK and internationally. Brookes has been a speaker at a number of international conferences, including being the UK representative at a UNESCO conference in Stockholm.  Brookes was a finalist for the 2009 National Regeneration and Renewals Award for Cultural Leadership and recipient of BME Leader of the year at the East Midlands Women’s Awards 2018 and One Dance UK’s Outstanding Programme Award 2018 for Let’s Dance International Frontiers.  Brookes was awarded an MBE for services to the arts and cultural diversity in the 2022 New Year Honours.

Plus Contributions From (TBC):

Pam Johnson, Head of Culture Programmes, Leeds City Council

Heather Paul, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University

Monique Jonas, Founder & Artistic Director, Jona Dance

Alethia Antonia, Independent Choreographer, Teacher, & Researcher

Amanda Parker, Director of Public Affairs and Communication, The Forward Institute

Callum Holt, Independent Creative Producer

Khadijah Ibrahiim, Artistic Director, Leeds Young Authors, & Independent Poet & Researcher

Heather Nelson, CEO, Black Health Initiative (BHI)

Gina Tavares Manuel & Cara Mia Cruise Brahm, Emerging Artists supported by the Geraldine Connor Foundation.



This symposium is a response to a Position Paper commissioned by Leeds Dance Partnership in September 2021, detailing the challenges and opportunities faced by Black female leaders in the Leeds dance sector.

Download the paper here


Serendipity Black Arts and Heritage logo Leeds Dance Partnership logo Leeds City Council logo Leeds Beckett University Geraldine Connor Foundation logo Forward Ladies logo Black Health Initiative logo