We hope that you have your calendars marked, because we’re only a little over a week away from the 4th Teakisi Woman Talk – our annual Black History Month conference.

Community organisations and members of the public will be heading to The Common Room to join us on a much needed discussion on Inclusive Communities For All, which is this year’s theme. This influential event is sure to be the go-to place to get inspired by our communities best leaders and members, those who want to see change and of course connect and network.

Do you as a citizen and member of your community feel safe, respected, and comfortable in being yourself and expressing all aspects of your identity in the community? Are our communities places where each person shares a sense of belonging with its other members?  There are so many reasons as to why people don’t feel included, welcome or part of a community – with the most likely reasons being discrimination and racism. Those who feel like their communities are not inclusive also mention that in most cases when they are acknowledged, it may in most cases be in a negative way. These and many others will be some of the questions that the conference will try to address.

Bringing Our Community Closer

We’re starting the conference with guests browsing stalls by some of the best organisations doing fantastic work right here in our community. The stalls will be set within the beautiful Wood Hall and refreshments will be served too. The opening keynote, message will be delivered by Dr. Claire Ogah, a self-taught digital artist, bespoke jewellery designer and PhD holder. After supporting the work Teakisi does for quite sometime now, Claire is the perfect person to reveal what Teakisi is all about while doubling as the events MC.

Visionary Keynote Speakers

To keep the momentum going, Liz Mayes will be the first speaker we will listen to. Liz joined The Mining Institute as Development Director in 2017, to lead the £7.1m National Lottery Heritage Fund Bid for The Common Room project, and lead the restoration works. She moved over to become Chief Executive of The Common Room in March 2019 upon successful award of the bid and upon the transfer of assets of the building, Neville Hall and collection. The Common Room reopened in July 2021 with the project value now at £8.9m following a covid-related grant increase from National Lottery. Prior to this Liz held senior roles in Make UK and CBI. She is Chair of the North East Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Forum and a member of their Council. Originally from Lincoln, Liz moved to the North East to study Economics at Durham University.  

Fred Suadwa, will share his insight and real world content examples of how the youth feel when it comes to inclusivity. Having started volunteering in community and youth work in 1984 and has been in paid employment since 1996, Fred has a combined total of 36 years experience. Fred is responsible for managing project workers at Streetwise; which covers drop in work, detached street work, information and advice guidance and school work, he specialises mainly in work with young men around masculinity and sexuality. Fred has a BA Honours Degree in Community and Youth Work.

You’ll also hear from Jackie Laughton, the Assistant Chief Executive at North Tyneside Council. In this role she is part of the Council’s top Senior Leadership Team. Her broad ranging portfolio of responsibilities includes leading the Council’s approach to equality and diversity. This includes a new Embedding Equality Programme which has recently been launched. She also leads on all aspects of community engagement and participation. This part of Jackie’s role incorporates the Ethnic Diversity Community Taskforce which is chaired by the Elected Mayor.

Fozia Haider who is a graduate in Business Studies and has worked across the public and voluntary sectors in a variety of roles is one of this year’s speakers. Specialising in community and stakeholder engagement, she currently works for Newcastle City Council within Public Health, tackling health inequalities within marginalised groups, and for the Good Things Foundation, bridging the digital divide exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. In 2021, she managed the delivery of the Census for Gateshead with the Office for National Statistics and prior to this, she simultaneously managed an ethnic minorities women’s organisation and was as a Peer Researcher for a mental health research foundation. She is passionate about women’s causes, building strong community networks and empowering those facing multiple disadvantage to unlock their full potential.

Another key speaker on this day is Kemi Gates who started spoken word almost 8years ago, and like most passions in life hers were also born out of pain, more specifically heartbreak. At the time it was just a way to release and she didn’t even know what spoken word was then, but as she shared it with friends, she realised her story was also theirs. She never stopped writing and speaking ever since. Apart from being a spoken word artist, Kemi is an ACCA Chartered Accountant, Fashion Designer, Hair Consort, Compere and Host and voice artist who’s most memorable performance was at the January 1st Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome (Nigerian stand-up comedian and actor professionally known as Ali Baba) show in Lagos Nigeria. Kemi also performed at the Black Lives Matter 2020 in Newcastle with thousands of people in attendance.

The goal for all our speakers at the conference is to deliver their keynote messages and guide us through their take on the theme of this year, inspire us to step outside our comfort zone and fight for inclusivity in all areas of our lives.

This conference is open to the general public and and also celebrates the culture and heritage of Africa, minoritised communities, people of African descent and the entire community. This #BlackHistoryMonth conference also gives those attending the opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the discussion with a hope of tackling the issues that we all face.

We’re very excited to have all speakers at this year’s event and we can’t wait to see you there too! The conference takes place on Saturday 15th of October 1-5pm at The Common Room, Newcastle, NE1 1SE. Thanks to social media, insights into what will be talked about on the day can be accessed by everyone via the twitter hashtag #TeakisiTalk22.

To book your spot at the conference, please click here


We hope you enjoy the event!