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.

David Bryan

Untitled design (57)

David Bryan MBA FRSA has over 25 years experience of organisational development, management development and leadership and equality training in the voluntary and public sector (NHS, local government and regulatory bodies). His work experience includes working in academia, the arts, with contracts across the public sector, including several funding bodies (e.g. Comic Relief, Arts Council England and Trust for London). He also facilitates senior managers planning as they map strategies for the future. Equality and diversity training, within a change management context has been a constant aspect of his work. His breadth of experience has provided real insight into the challenges of enterprises of all scales and the leadership required.

Tony Graves


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.

Ben Browne

Untitled design (26)

Ben Browne joined De Montfort University (DMU) in January 2010 as Director of People and Organisational Development and Operations. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) in October 2013.

As COO, Ben provides oversight of the core professional services area as well as leadership and coordination across the university; for strategic priorities and programmes.

Ben has held senior HR positions in further education, the NHS and local government. Prior to joining DMU, Ben was Director of HR and Organisational Transformation for Nottingham City Council. He has more than 18 years senior HR management experience, which has been almost exclusively in the public sector. Ben has extensive experience in many areas of human resource management and development, including organisational development, equality and diversity and HR management.

karen Chouhan

IMG_0560 copy

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.

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’.

Adesola Akinleye

Adesola Biog Image

Dr Adesola Akinleye began her career as a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem, later establishing her company, DancingStrong, which creates dance in the UK and internationally. Her recent works include Untitled: Women’s Work, an international commission from the Center for the Education of Women, USA. This project informed Adesola’s recent chapter, ‘Her Life in Movement…’, in the publication ‘Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring Movement Cultures’, edited by Ian Wellard. Also, ‘Passing 2: The Price of a Ticket’ premièred this year as a duet at Duke University, USA, and then as a solo at LDIF16.

Her most recent work for young audiences, ‘’Light Steps, premièred at the Turner Contemporary Museum 2014 and has toured UK though 2016.

Adesola is a Fellow of the RSA. She holds a PhD in dance/sociology of the body and embodiment, Canterbury Christ Church University. She has an MA in Dance, Middlesex University. She has been a guest teacher/choreographer internationally including Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer programmes. She is a part-time Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University. Adesola is editor of the forthcoming book, ‘Narratives from Black British Dance: Embodied Practices’.

Her interest in dance as a language for communication of embodied experience has led her to community-informed starting points.

Gladys M Francis

Gladys Biog Image

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.

David Dabydeen

David Dabydeen

Critic, writer and novelist David Dabydeen was born in 1955 in Berbice, Guyana, moving to England with his parents in 1969.

He read English at Cambridge University, gained a doctorate at University College London in 1982 and was awarded a research fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford. David Dabydeen is Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies and Professor at the Centre for British Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick. He is also Guyana’s Ambassador-at-Large and a member of UNESCO’s Executive Board. In 2001 he wrote and presented ‘The Forgotten Colony’, a BBC Radio 4 programme exploring the history of Guyana. He is the author of four novels, three collections of poetry and several works of non-fiction and criticism. His first book, ‘Slave Song’ (1984), a collection of poetry, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Quiller-Couch Prize. A new collection, ‘Turner’, was published in 2002.

His first novel, ‘The Intended’ (1991), the story of a young Asian student abandoned in London by his father, won the Guyana Prize for Literature.

David Dabydeen’s most recent book is ‘Molly and the Muslim Stick’ (2008) and he has recently edited books for the Coventry-based Heaventree Press. In 2007, he was awarded the Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award for his outstanding contribution to literature and the intellectual life of the Indian diaspora.