Lauren Eaton is heritage manager at Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. She graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Egyptian Archaeology and a Masters degree in Public History and Heritage from the University of Derby. She has a background in working in a variety of heritage settings, which includes visitor services, education, outreach and events. Over the last seven years, Lauren Eaton has worked with different types of archives, both physical and digital, to ensure they are preserved and accessible to researchers. She is interested in what we can learn from our history and heritage and how engagement with the past helps to shape our understanding of the present.
Tasmin Evans is Collections Archivist for Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. In visitor experience roles she has had the opportunity to work with people from many different backgrounds and understand their connections with their communities. Knowing the important relationship between heritage and identity, she strives to make every individual experience meaningful. Graduating from Newman University with a degree in History and a Master’s degree in Research, she specialises in studies on British slavery and the complex history of African Caribbean identity in the colonial world. Volunteering in heritage collections throughout her working life, she has been able to share her passion for finding the historical Black voice with other institutions and continue development of the heritage sector.
Amy Grain is executive assistant at Serendipity and Black Arts and Heritage. Since joining the team as an education intern for Let’s Dance International Frontiers in 2013, Grain has grown with the organisation as administrator and general manager before taking up her current role in 2023. As well as skills in administration, Grain has experience in supporting programming, development, graphic design, video editing, branding, website maintenance and income generation. She has travelled internationally representing Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Hertiage, including attending Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf, International Dance Council Congress in Athens and the British Dance Edition in the UK. Grain completed the Passport to Leadership management development programme at Curve in 2020 and holds a BSc degree in Psychology from the University of Leicester.
Hafsa Hirsi is Digital Archivist at Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. Prior to her work at Serendipity, Hirsi completed a library traineeship at De Montfort University, where she had the opportunity to
develop her digital training skills and utilise digital archiving knowledge, organising digital materials in the library and collection, archives and special collections. She has held a number of front of house positions in the charity sector and supported heritage projects including the development of African Oral History Archive and Richard II Visitor Centre. She is an alumnus of the Young Archivists programme and holds a BA is History from De
Benoy John Mathew is the finance officer for Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. He has significant experience working in accounting and finance in the charity sector alongside commercial organisations. His interest lies in accounting, but he also has a passion for learning about the history of different civilisations and countries.
Roshni Parmar a recent graduate from Rose Bruford College in stage and events management. She previously worked alongside an immersive dance show Mumbai Masala as a stage manager in 2022 and as events assistant for Bombay Funkadelic and Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. She is currently an assistant producer and touring stage manager for a Bharatanatyam company Sanskruti Cambridge CIC.
Georgina Payne is digital innovation project manager for Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage, having joined the team initially as an events assistant in 2022. In this capacity, she has supported the development of the Black Digital Dance Revolution, exploring how technology can be used to create and share dance. As a multidisciplinary artist and creative expressive therapeutic facilitator, Payne has vast experience working with young people over the years in all aspects of the arts. In 2020, Payne graduated the University of Derby with a degree in Creative Expressive Therapies. Payne has worked predominantly with primary-aged children, young people with behaviours that challenge and SEND, delivering person-centred creative expressive art workshops and sharing her passion for the arts to the next generation of artists. Payne is also the founder of GP Designs and City Canvas.
Heather Saunders is membership coordinator at Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. She has a background in art and design and has worked with artists and creatives throughout her career, working in galleries and coordinating festivals. She has experience in promoting the arts internationally and has enjoyed great success when fundraising for charity. Saunders has a BA in Graphic Design from De Montfort University, is an excellent communicator and is dedicated to providing high quality experiences and resources for Serendipity Connect members.
Jacqui Sealy is one of Serendipity’s Event Assistants. She has a BSc degree in Sociology from the University of Southampton and a background in social welfare in statutory authority and voluntary sectors. This has included working in the fields of mental health, early years and social care with all ages and with groups at risk of, or experiencing social exclusion and discrimination. Jacqui Sealy has a longstanding love of the arts, especially dance and an enthusiasm for heritage.
Ashly Stanly is the Administration Assistant for Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. Before joining the team in 2021, she graduated from De Montfort University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She has worked with DMU Global to organise international trips and has a great interest in cultural and artistic events. She has a keen interest in dance and she was part of the DMU Bollywood Dance Society and Urban dance society. She is also a keen traveller and immerses herself in the various cultural aspects of different countries.
Sydneé Thompson is an events assistant as Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage. She has graduated from De Montfort University with a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts and a Masters degree in Dance and Choreography from the University of Derby. Thompson is a freelance dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. She has showcased work at the Birmingham International Dance Festival and Birmingham 2022 Festival as part of the Commonwealth Games. 2021 saw her original film ‘Blackspace’ programmed in the University Dance Festival and participation in projects championing inclusion and access within dance, with DanceXchange. Alongside this, Thompson runs creative arts programmes at Chroma Church.
Laura Wilkinson is an event assistant for Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage and an independent film Producer with her own production company Chasing The Sun Film. She also has MSc in Cultural Events Management and expanded her skills into the festival and events, working freelance with a focus on arts, creative and cultural festivals and events. Laura Wilkinson was awarded Outstanding Woman in Art, Media and Music for her contribution to the industry from East Midlands Women’s Award.