About Us

Serendipity – Institute for Black Arts and Heritage, Leicester.  Serendipity’s mission is to centre perspectives from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora, embedded as part of cultural experiences for all.  Serendipity’s programmes include the flagship dance festival, Let’s Dance International Frontiers, Black History Month Leicester and the Annual Windrush Day Lecture. Serendipity have established a legacy; hosting a growing living archive documenting Black arts, heritage and culture, publishing the voices of Black arts practitioners and community activists, nurturing artists to create high quality new work and mentoring young people.

What We Do

FESTIVALS

Let’s Dance International Frontiers and LDIF+

Launching each year on 29 April, to celebrate International Dance Day, LDIF brings diversity to the forefront in dance with a two week festival showcasing new work from local emerging talent to internationally acclaimed companies. Three dedicated platforms (Signatures, Autograph and Biography) support artistic development at different career stages. The programme also includes a national conference, films, workshops, site-specific projects and performances. LDIF+ is our year-round programme of continued professional development offering quality training in diverse dance techniques from around the world. Through conferences, workshops, masterclasses and courses with international practitioners, LDIF+ provides opportunities not widely available in the UK.

Black History Month and BHM Live

Serendipity, on behalf of Leicester City Council, coordinates Black History Month in the city each October. Trailblazing artists and activists from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora take centre stage in a programme featuring film, theatre, dance, lectures and exhibitions. Serendipity’s initiative BHM Live supports and highlights the work of emerging Black artists.

In 2017 Serendipity marked 30 years of Black History Month with Lost Legends, a National Lottery Heritage Funded project that recorded, documented and archived the contributions of Leicester’s African and African Caribbean community to the UK over the last three decades.

Conferences and Publications

A series of discussions and debates in partnership with universities and international agencies including, De Montfort University, University of Leicester and CARICOM. Each conference result in a publication, and to date Serendipity has released; Hidden Movement: Contemporary Voices of Black British Dance; Creolizing Dance in a Global Age; Blurring Boundaries: Urban Street meets Contemporary Dance; Black Women in Dance: Stepping Out of the Barriers; Identity and Choreographic Practice; Invisible Visibility: Diverse Voices within Inclusive Dance; Black Dance: A Contemporary Voice; and Lost Legends: 30 Years 30 Voices. Each book leaves a legacy of untold histories and debate around dance and diversity.

Creative Education

In partnership with training providers such as De Montfort University, Serendipity offers opportunities from internships and apprenticeships to placements and volunteer roles for people wishing to explore a career in arts administration or as a practitioner. Each student has a bespoke package that provides practical experiences and real insights into the area of work in which they are interested.

Additionally, LDIF+ offers year-round continued professional development for artists, provides opportunities and experiences such as workshops, masterclasses and residencies with leading artists and practitioners to supplement the curriculum and provide opportunities for nurturing artistic growth.

Serendipity Connect

Our Membership Scheme brings together artists, practitioners, enthusiasts and industry professionals to create an international community of creatives.

Serendipity Connect allows members to build and strengthen connections through discussions, experiences and exclusive events, as well as offering professional development, research and networking opportunities.

Find out how to join our creative community.

Archive

The regional digital archive encompasses the history African and African Caribbean communities in the East Midlands, whilst connecting the dots between national and international initiatives that document Black History. A physical archive is housed at Serendipity’s office at Bowling Green Street, allowing for a unique research opportunity. Through establishing partnerships and knowledge exchange, we aim to serve the needs of Leicester’s culturally diverse communities and use technology to open doors to how archival materials and intangible heritage is recorded, preserved and shared.

Cultural Product

We create resources and publish books suitable for researchers and enthusiasts. Our subject areas include dance, the arts, social and cultural history.

Commissioning

Serendipity is dedicated to supporting and commissioning new work across a variety of art forms. Its platforms include BHM Live, which provides opportunities for emerging Black artists to develop their work, and also Signatures, Autograph and Biography, three stands of work associated with Let’s Dance International Frontiers, supporting artists’ development throughout their careers from the emerging to the established.

Collaborate

Developing work in partnership with artists and organisations both in the UK and internationally, including Dance4, De Montfort University, CARICOM, Curve, Kulturconsulting, People Dancing and Take the Space.

Funders

\art Council England, Leicester City Council, Heritage Fund Logos