Sea Changers




Saturday 15 November, 7.30–9.30pm
The Fishermen’s Vestry St. Paul’s church, West St, Brighton BN1 2RE

Free but places are limited and booking is recommended.
To book please visit Eventbrite, speak to a member of the gallery team, or call 01273 778646.

In front of the large open fire built to dry out fishermen before church services I will host performances and discussion from three artist-activists. British-Palestinian novelist and lawyer, Selma Dabbagh; spoken word artist, coach and diversity practitioner Akila Richards; and musician, actor, writer and accessibility/social inclusion consultant Mik Scarlet will use the theme of the constantly changing sea to present their work and to discuss the relationship between their creative and political activities.

Selma Dabbagh is a British Palestinian writer of fiction. She grew up between Scotland, England, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and has since lived in Egypt, the West Bank, France and Bahrain. She currently lives in London.

Originally having trained as a lawyer working in the field of human rights, Selma started writing fiction while living in Bahrain in her thirties. Since then, Selma has published short stories with Granta, International PEN and most recently with the Letters Page. Her first novel, Out of It, was published by Bloomsbury in 2011. Radio 4 aired her first play, The Brick, in January 2014, which has since been nominated for an Imison Award for new writing. She is currently working on her second novel. Find her @SelmaDabbagh

Out of It features a girl and a gun and the characters, when in Gaza, are trapped between a fence and the sea, stuck between a compromised governing authority and an uncompromising religious movement. For Sea Changers, Selma will read from her work and talk of the sea in Gaza as a space of potential freedom and tradition as well as one of observation, attack, surveillance and psychological warfare.

Akila Richards is a published writer, poet and spoken word artist of Liberian and German heritage. Some of her material gives voice to the Black German experience. Her poems and short stories hav been anthologised in  The Map of Me (Penguin 2008), ‘Red Saviour‘, RED (Peepal Tree Press 2010) and Ink On My Lips, (Waterloo Press  2013) with a  short story forthcoming in Closure (Peepal Tree Press, 2015).  Working with Sound Spectrum in their production Where Are you REALLY from? and as an associate artist in Snakes and Ladders 2011, Akila also became involved in theatre and play writing. Earlier in 2014 she took part in the 1st Fringe Saint Lucia and Brighton Festival, part of an international cohort of writers reading in public and educational settings. A participant in the Inscribe professional writers development program, Akila is currently writing her first short story collection.

On her plans for Sea Changings, Akila writes:  I decided to use the theme of sea change as an exploration of belonging. My piece is based on an incident at Brighton beach involving faith, a desire to heal, a desperate need to connect and the barriers and boundaries that exist underneath. The story highlights what may be submerged and bubbles up when experienced. It is funny in parts, even cringe worthy with a taste of bitterness. The experience of writing it was revealing to me and helped change my personal narrative of what belonging can be and mean.

Mik Scarlet is a London based broadcaster, journalist and musician. He began his career as a club DJ and singer/songwriter with the bands Freak UK, Eroticis and the modestly named Scarlet Messiah.  After being spotted during a gig in his home town of Luton, Mik broke into the world of TV presenting, where he is best known for presenting the Emmy award winning and BATFA nominated Channel 4 kids TV show Beat That, and his work as a lead reporter for the BBC2 disability magazine show From The Edge. He also works in radio, while his print journalism has been published in The Independent, Best For Music, Skin Two, Pure and The News of the World. Mik  is now the fashion and lifestyle columnist for Disability Now Online and has regular columns in PosAbility Magazine and The Huffington Post.

Mik also runs a successful access advisory service, advising businesses on best practice regarding accessible procedure within their business structures and accessible design of their premises. He is the resident access advisor to Camden’s Stables Market and is advising the market’s owners, Stanley Sidings Ltd, on the designs for their new development in the heart of Camden Town. Find him @MikScarlet

Mik loves to be beside the seaside. In his youth he spent his summers dressed in his New Romantic finery partying in the dingier Brighton clubs and recovering wondering the lanes. For Sea Changers Mik will regale us with memories of sun, sea, sex and a beach filled with great big pebbles that meant he could never get anywhere near the sea, as his wheelchair tended to sink or get stuck.




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