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About Us

WHO WE ARE

The Amplify Project is a social enterprise and a not-for-profit organization.

Our mission is to amplify the canon of Black British and other minoritized writers.

Our aims are:

  • To create a series of informative podcasts with Black British and eventually other minoritized writers from the page, stage and screen, with an accompanying website that contextualizes and documents their place in the British canon.
  • To document and explore the creative practice, legacy and context of the canon and its place in British society.
  • To inform the public, arts organisations, funders and decision makers, artistic peers, students and researchers about the canon and the creative and critical context in which it exists.

The Amplify Project is led by Patricia Cumper and Pauline Walker. We’re both writers and we share a fascination with the people, the process, and the art and craft of writing so we’ve invited Black writers for the stage, page and screen to tell us about themselves, their work, what inspires them and why they write.

The discussions that led to setting up The Amplify Project began before the pandemic, before the summer of George Floyd, before the world assumed its current shape.  We both saw similar patterns in the publishing and theatre industries: Publishers saying they couldn’t find Black British writers, who felt that there wasn’t a sufficient market for  the work they were receiving.

We wanted a practical response to these concerns, one that we could shape ourselves and reflected our interests, as writers ourselves, in the lives, work and practice of Black British writers, not just when their latest book, play or programme came out but as thinkers and artists in their own right.  So we set up the podcast and accompanying website. 

If you like what you hear, please spread the word and recommend The Amplify Project podcast to your friends and colleagues. All the episodes can be found on your favourite podcast platforms; listen, like, comment and subscribe.

Portrait of Patricia Cumper

Patricia Cumper, MBE, FRSL

Patricia Cumper has written for stage and radio since her twenties. Her plays have been produced throughout the Caribbean and in Canada and the US. Here in the UK, she has won awards for her work in audio drama, most recently the BBC Outstanding Contribution to Audio Drama award in 2020 for her adaptation of the autobiographies of Maya Angelou. She was Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre company, then the UK’s leading black led theatre company, for six years and was awarded an MBE for services to Black British theatre. In 2023 Pat was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  Visit Pat’s website here.

Portrait of Pauline Waler

Pauline Walker

From a very young age Pauline loved reading and getting lost in her imagination. She wrote her first story in primary school and had her fifteen minutes of fame when it was pinned on a notice board for the whole school to read. Fast forward a few decades and in 2017 Pauline won the platinum prize from Creative Future Literary Awards with her short story ‘The Wait’ which was published in the winner’s anthology Important Nothings alongside the work of Kit de Waal and Dean Atta, and later online by Wasafiri. Pauline is currently working on her novel Welcome Home.  See more on Linktree.

Joining Patricia and Pauline for Series 2 are:

Marketing Manager, Jennie Gentles

Jennie has over twenty years experience of working in the arts. She values the arts and strongly believes creativity is a strong catalyst for social change. She’s passionate about audience development and supporting organisations to grow and diversify their audience base. She has a strong commitment to harnessing digital communications to support brand development and social engagement.

Career highlights include working in the commercial and voluntary sectors with leading organisations such as MGM, Sony, United Artists, Virgin and more recently Hoxton Hall and Horizon Showcase. Added to this, she has been privileged to support several freelance artists to devise strategic marketing and communications plans as well as hands-on delivery of campaigns for organisations and festivals including Amina Khayyam Dance Company, Shoot Festival and Horizon Showcase.

She’s mentored several early career arts marketing professionals and has been a board member of the Arts Marketing Association, Bristol Old Vic and Vice Chair of ACE Dance & Music.

Email: hello@jenniegentles.com

Publicist, Tolu Rachael Akisanya
Tolu has a BA in Public Relations and is an experienced publicist with over ten years’ experience in the industry. With a multifaceted career history, she has worked with some of the UK’s top organisations, spearheading and contributing to several successful campaigns across entertainment, creative arts, sport, consumer, and finance.

Email: tolu@trakisanya.com

Administrator, Annika Brown

Annika has worked in theatre venues for over fifteen years and is an experienced senior manager. In 2021, Annika was featured as one of twenty five Black Champions of Theatre by the Alfred Fagon Awards for her contribution to the industry. Annika is part of the collective, Black Womxn in Theatre, that saw over 250 black womxn come together for the #WeAreVisible photoshoot at the Globe Theatre in 2019, and the #AllofUs campaign in 2020 which supported black and brown people who were made redundant during the pandemic. More recently, Annika was Operations Director for Woolwich Works, where she, along with the senior management team, opened the new cultural district in the heart of Woolwich riverside in September 2021. Annika is currently the Company Secretary for Crystal Palace Park Trust who are set to become custodians of Crystal Palace Park in 2023.

Join our Mailing List

Sign up to the Amplify Project mailing list for regular updates on the podcast and to find out more about notable developments in the sphere of Black writing.