Serendipity Board

Serendipity’s board of trustees are the guardians of Serendipity’s mission and purpose, with industry leads in arts and festival management, education and artistic practice. Serendipity’s board reflects and supports the organisation’s key aim of bringing diversity to the forefront in arts with high quality work that reflects the demographics of the UK.

Tony Graves (Chair)


Tony is Head of Subject and a Principal Lecturer for the Arts and Festivals Management, BA undergraduate degree at De Montfort University.

He has a background in the arts both as a performer and administrator. A former classical pianist, he is a graduate of the Royal College of Music, and was previously the Chief Executive of The Drum Arts Centre, Birmingham and a producer at Nottingham Playhouse.

Tony has been involved in the delivery of strategic arts planning at a regional and national level with particular emphasis on cultural diversity. He was lead researcher for De Montfort University’s Cultural Management and Policy Group evaluating the cultural diversity gateway of the New Audiences Programme for Arts Council England.

He is Director of the university’s annual Cultural eXchanges festival, and has developed this into a major event over the past 15 years. Previous guests include Ken Loach, Jamal Edwards, Germaine Greer, Melvyn Bragg, Trevor Nelson, Bonnie Greer, Meera Syal and Adrian Lester.

He has served on a number of boards including Nitro Music Theatre Company, The New Art Exchange and Dance 4. Amongst his publications are a report entitled ‘Fear of the Artist’ produced in collaboration with Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre, and funded by NESTA.

karen Chouhan

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Karen Chouhan is the Leicester Organiser for the Worker’s Educational Association which is a national charity providing adult education including for the poorest and most disadvantaged people in society. She is also Chair of Healthwatch Leicester City, a body which aims to champion public and patient views and interests in the Health and Social Care System.

Her background is in Further and Higher Education and she is a qualified teacher. She was previously a senior lecturer at De Montfort University where she managed the MA in Community Education. She has also built a body of expertise and practice in youth work, community development and equalities and human rights work and has managed a national equality charity. In 2005 she was one of 7 recipients of a Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust award called ‘visionary for a just and peaceful world’.


Dr Tracy Harwood

Dr Julie Harwood smiles at the camera

Dr Tracy Harwood is Professor of Digital Culture at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University.  She has a management background in practice, with a PhD in negotiation behaviour, and is also director of the university’s Usability Lab (see She is director of the award-winning Art AI Festival (see She is a Higher Education Academy National Teacher Fellow and has held positions as a member of the East Midlands regional board of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a chief examiner for the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply in the past.

Tracy’s research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, InnovateUK and InternetNZ. Her work is transdisciplinary, crossing computer science, arts, design, health and marketing disciplines. Current projects relate to the application of emerging technologies to business and consumer contexts, including AI, Internet of Things, VR and AR. She has published in leading marketing and digital creativity journals, including Journal of Services Management, Journal of Service Marketing, Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Leonardo, Digital Creativity and Journal of Visual Culture. She is Area Editor for the European Innovation Alliance's Endorsed Transactions on Creative Technologies and a Programme Committee Member of the IEEE International Conference on Creative Lifestyle Computing.

Having recently completed an InnovateUK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with Serendipity, Tracy is looking forward to continuing the relationship with us and brings knowledge and expertise in supporting the development of our future digital business and commercial strategies.

Javier Torres

From Cuba, Javier began his ballet training in 1994 and graduated as a Ballet Dancer and Ballet Teacher from the National School of Ballet in Havana-Cuba in 2000. The same year he joined the prestigious Ballet Nacional de Cuba, under the artistic-technical guidance of Alicia Alonso, and where he performed all across the Americas, Europe and Asia. He has participated as a Guest Star in International Galas in El Escorial, Spain (2006, 2008, and 2012); Carlos Acosta and his friends (2007) in London; Teresa Carreño Theatre Gala, Venezuela (2008, 2009 and 2010); in Brazil at the International Ballet Festival of Fortaleza “Fendador” (2012); Salzburg Ballet (2016 and 2019) among others.

He was awarded the Cuban Artists and Writers Union Villanueva Prize for his performance in the ballet Agon in 2002. In 2006 he received Mention in the Honour Book of the Havana Grand Theatre for his performance with Carla Fracci in the ballet Desnuda Luz de Amor (Naked Light of Love), in 2009 for his performance in the role of Prince Desiré in Sleeping Beauty and 2012 for his performance as Prometheus in the Ballet Poem of the Fire. In 2012 he received the award “Constructores de la Danza” for his contribution to the Culture of the state of Ceara in Brazil.
He joined Northern Ballet in 2010 as Premier Dancer under the artistic guidance of David Nixon OBE.

Voted one of the top hundred dancers of the season 2010-2011 and 2001-2012.
Nominated: Dancing Times Award for Best Male Dancer at the 19th National Dance Awards UK – 2018.
Nominated: One Dance UK Dance Personality of the Year 2018
Winner: One Dance UK People’s Choice Awards 2018.
One Dance UK Member
the International Dance Council CID, UNESCO, Member
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts FRS
BA (Hons) Business Management and Leadership (2016-2021)
Clore Leadership 2019, Emerging Leaders
Rural Retreat 2020, Emerging Leaders (Dance East, Ipswich)

Jean Francois Manicom


I am a conceptual artist photographer and a film director from Guadeloupe. I was awarded the Best Photographic Expression Prize at the Vera Festival in Moscow in 2016 and the Prize of the Caribbean Photographer in 2001. I also got a FEMI’s award for my film Pas in 2012. My artworks explore the imbalance at the heart of human life and more specifically memory, as much historical and family memory, as cognitive and allegorical memories. The image for me is a door leading to question the instability of our human condition in very different social and cultural environments.

Influenced by the human encounters I made as a sailor in the Mediterranean, in the Pacific and in the Caribbean Sea, my approach is also engaged in community development projects. I co-founded an orphanage in Haiti from 1997 to 1999 and I was the Director of the Maison de l’Architecture of Guadeloupe from 2005 to 2008. In 2015, I curated the permanent collection of the Memorial ACTe in Pointe à Pitre and set up the first Caribbean Festival of the Image.

Though my visual perspective is not purely autobiographic, I am clearly influenced by my complex, broken and recovered Caribbeanness while leaving in and out of the Caribbean. Behind my photographs, there is a philosophical quest for the universal enigmas of our nowadays, in a world where multiple and fragmented pasts challenge our power to imagine new possible futures. would define myself as a hyper-contemporary visual artist with a strong historical awareness.

Editorial Advisory Board

Serendipity is expanding its publishing portfolio and is establishing an Editorial Advisory Board to underpin this area of development. Serendipity’s mission includes providing an outlet for the unheard voices and stories from people of African and Caribbean heritage working in professional contexts in Britain and internationally.

The organisation’s focus is on the arts, with special reference to dance and social and cultural histories.  Its first publications evolved out of the proceedings/papers presented at LDIF’s annual conferences, but it also commissions edited collections and accepts proposals to publish academic theses and books.

The Editorial Advisory Board will be galvanised into action as Serendipity’s next publication will focus on ‘African Dance Development in the UK during the period 1950 – 2000’.

Dr Gladys M Francis

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Dr Gladys M Francis is a native of Guadeloupe. She teaches in the United States, at Georgia State University, Atlanta. As the Director of the South Atlantic Center of the Institute of the Americas, Dr Francis facilitates academic and artistic collaborations throughout the south eastern region of the United States.

Her research interests involve Caribbean Studies; Theory and Cultural Studies; Francophone, African, and African Diaspora Studies; Visual and Media Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Dr Francis’s research on the Black body offers a reading together of the literary and performing arts (as well as traditional Caribbean dance, music, and oral practices) to arrive at a transregional (trans-Caribbean and transatlantic), trans-genre, and transdisciplinary conversation in Women, Gender, and Africana studies.

Dr Francis’s career includes numerous publications, invited lectures, interviews, teaching awards, and international research grants and fellowships. She has also directed and coordinated several research field trips and long-term study abroad programmes in Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.

Dr Kennetta Hammond Perry

DR Kennetta Perry

Dr Kennetta Hammond Perry serves as Director of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre at De Montfort University where she is also a Reader in History. Prior to her appointment at De Montfort, she was an Associate Professor of History and Co-Director of the African & African American Studies Program at East Carolina University in the USA. Dr Perry received BA degrees in History and Political Science at North Carolina Central University and obtained a PhD in Comparative Black History at Michigan State University.

She has been awarded research fellowships with the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African & African American Studies at the University of Virginia; Duke University’s Department of History and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Her research interests include Black British history, transnational race politics, Black women’s history, archives of Black Europe, and anti-racist movements for citizenship, recognition and social justice throughout the African Diaspora. She has published widely, including a book-length study on Afro-Caribbean migration to Britain following World War II titled London Is The Place For Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race (Oxford Press, 2016).

Currently, she is researching histories of state-sanctioned racial violence and the relationship between the decline of the welfare state and the expansion of the carceral state in Britain during the second half of the twentieth century.

Dr Karen Salt

Dr Karen Salt

Dr Karen Salt directs the Centre for Research in Race and Rights at the University of Nottingham. She is an expert on sovereignty, race, collective activism and systems of governance.

Dr Salt leads and collaborates on a number of research projects, including the Arts Council England funded project, The Bigger Picture, where she acts as the Research Lead and an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project, Geographies of Black Protest, dedicated to preserving the histories and materiality of black protest cultures around the world.

She is an active grant reviewer and recently began a 3-year appointment as a member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council Advisory Board. AHRC’s 14-member Advisory Board is made up of senior academics and sector leaders from across the UK. This group advises the AHRC Council and Executive on the development and implementation of strategic approaches to funding which reflect the challenges and opportunities arising for arts and humanities research and those that engage with it.

Salt remains a national leader, consultant and collaborator on a number of cross-sector initiatives on social justice, racial equity and inclusion.