Pawlet Brookes

where Black people start with a perceived deficit, they can never recover.

In 1976, Khan founded the Minority Arts Advisory Service (MAAS). Despite support from the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Gulbenkian Foundation, and the retailer Marks and Spencer, MAAS was underfunded from the outset. As early as 1979, the request for additional funding to sustain and develop the much-needed operations that MAAS provided was brought to the UK parliament where it was referred back to the Arts Council of Great Britain. The service con-tinued for almost 20 years before it eventually closed due to lack of fund-ing. When Black people do not have a seat at the table in terms of funding, the quality and excellence of their work and their lives become a means of control and political jockeying around national governance. Without being part of the decision-making processes, Black people’s art is sub-jected to funding zeitgeists that change all too frequently. Without consis-tent or adequate funding, more often than not administration takes precedence over artistic practice, there is no room to establish legacy, or organizations are forced to change by shifting away from their Black identity.

"intervening years... have essentially said the same thing: Black arts in the UK are underfunded, marginalized, and unrecognized. Funders, programmers, and artists have forgotten the lessons learned..."

Pawlet Brookes MBE

Founder, CEO & artistic director of Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage

Pawlet Brooks is an experienced and highly respected senior leader and producer, Brookes has been at the forefront of the development of Black arts in the UK.  Brookes pioneered the establishment of an annual dance festival in Leicester since 2011, Let’s Dance International Frontiers, and coordinates the high profile annual Black History Month Leicester and has edited over 20 publications.

Brookes is currently a member of Arts Council England’s Midlands Area Council and an associate lecturer at Falmouth University; she has been a speaker at several international conferences, including being the UK representative at a UNESCO conference in Stockholm.  Brookes was awarded an MBE for services to the arts and cultural diversity in the 2022 New Year Honours and made an Honorary Fellow of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2023.

Photos:  Images for use from author, or under creative commons and / or public domain. 

Arts Management, Cultural Policy, & the African Diaspora

Art Management, Cultural Policy, & the African Diaspora