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)


Consultant, lecturer and arts producer Tony Graves brings a wealth of knowledge, skill and expertise to Serendipity with a career in the arts and education as a former Associate Professor and Head of Arts and Festivals Management, BA undergraduate degree at De Montfort University.  In addition to Programme Leader for the MSc in Cultural Events Management.

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.

Graves has been involved in the delivery of strategic arts planning at a regional and national level with particular emphasis on cultural diversity.  He lead the 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.  Alongside holding the position of Director of the university’s annual Cultural eXchanges Festival which has developed this into a major event over the past 20 years.  Previous guests include David Olusoga, Grayson Perry, Ken Loach, Jamal Edwards, Germaine Greer, Melvyn Bragg, Trevor Nelson, Bonnie Greer, Meera Syal, Munroe Bergdorf, David Harewood and Adrian Lester.

Graves has served on several boards including Nitro Music Theatre Company, The New Art Exchange and Dance4.  Amongst his publications are a report entitled ‘Fear of the Artist’ produced in collaboration with Jude Kelly, former 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

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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 (Vice-Chair)

Former Premier Dancer with Cuban National Ballet and Northern Ballet. Javier has over 21 years of experience and a demonstrated history of working in the performing arts industry.  A collaborative leader with an extensive network in the international dance scene, whose over two decades of personal experience and expertise span the entire spectrum from acclaimed professional dancer to executive cultural manager.  He is confident in his cultural ambassador abilities with a gift for inspiring the young generation of ballet dancers. He is skilled in Research, Dance Education, Dance Leadership, Communication and Business strategy.  With an intuitive and authentic character, highly organised by nature, detail-oriented, growth-oriented and self-motivated, known for orchestrating the creative direction of art initiatives, promoting an open and inclusive work culture, and perfectly balancing professional rigour with many other extracurricular activities.  He holds a BA Hons in Business Management and Leadership Practices and a Master in Business Administration (MBA).  He is currently the General Manager at the ADC and the Europe Business Operations manager at Sansha Group.

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

Kennetta Hammond Perry’s (Ph.D., Michigan State University) research examines Black diasporic communities and political formations shaped by and within the imperial bordering of Britain. Her first book, London Is The Place For Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race (Oxford, 2016) explores how a largely African Caribbean migrant community of Black Britons articulated claims to citizenship and publicly challenged the state to both acknowledge and remedy the ways in which anti-Black racism came to bear upon their lives in the decades following World War II.

Currently, she has completed a second book manuscript examining the life, death and legacy of David Oluwale, a Nigerian-born homeless man thought to have been murdered by police in Leeds, England in 1969. Drawing from Black feminist epistemologies, this study will contribute to burgeoning conversations within Black Studies and the discipline of History about how we ethically engage and demonstrate a duty of care in our historical writing about Black lives as they are represented in archives steeped in violence and disregard for Black humanity. Moreover, the book enlists the fraught historical record of David Oluwale’s existence in Britain to examine the life-depriving entanglements defining the relationship between the postwar welfare state and the carceral state past and present.

Professor Perry has previously held fellowships with the Carter G. Woodson Institute and the American Council of Learned Societies and currently is a co-investigator on an Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK) grant examining the regional valences of ‘Black Power’ in the UK. She is also an honorary senior research fellow at the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK where she previously served as founding director.

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.