Relational power

Relational Power - addressing the conditions needed for change

How can we harness the power in relationships and trusted networks to bring about change in our spheres of influence, and more widely? And how do we account for power dynamics to ensure that our thinking and action is socially just? This panel will discuss relational power and how we can actualize change in everyday life.

Chair: Dr. Furaha Asani

Panel: Khadijah Diskin, Dr. Francesca Sobande, Tony Bhajam and Dr. Keith Hebden

Khadijah Diskin, PhD candidate and decolonial theorist, Manchester Metropolitan University

Khadijah is an Anti-Racist educator, activist, community worker and is committed to intersectional research and activist praxis that explores the complex nature of race gender and class. She’s interested specifically in how we can move beyond 'Equality, diversity and inclusion' discourse toward more transformative pedagogies. Decolonising academia one meeting at a time, much of her current and past academic history has seen her work focus specifically on intersectionality, critical, queer and decolonial theories. Her current PhD is a critical-psychosocial and decolonial analysis of Lacanian ‘jouissance’ and ‘desire’ with a focus on Black African students in the UK.

Dr. Francesca Sobande, Lecturer in Digital Media Studies, Cardiff University

Francesca is a lecturer in Digital Media Studies and Course Director of the BA Media, Journalism and Culture programme at JOMEC, where she developed a new undergraduate module on "(Me)me, Myself, and I: The Power and Politics of Digital Remix Culture and Online Inequalities". Francesca’s work particularly focuses on digital culture, Black identity and diaspora, feminism, celebrity, the creative and cultural industries, and popular culture. She is the author of The Digital Lives of Black Women in Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and a forthcoming book on the relationship between digital media, social justice, and consumer culture (University of California Press).

Tony Bhajam, Inclusion Producer, Watershed

Tony is an Inclusion Producer on the Bristol+Bath Creative R+D programme. In this role he supports collaborative research and business development asking big questions about how we nurture the creative industries in Bristol, Bath and the wider South West.

Specifically, his role explores inclusion methodologies within the programme. That means experimenting with new ways of working to create tools and processes which can be implemented far beyond the reaches of this programme. Tony has worked in community engagement for almost ten years, particularly advocating for young people through arts and technology. He has also worked within creative research, building spaces for conversation and the sharing of ideas through play.

Dr. Keith Hebden, Community Organiser, Writer, Activist and Priest

Keith is committed to continued experiments in nonviolent resistance, community organising, and uncomfortable truth. Keith draws on experience of work and research among Churches and activists in India and the UK and his own experience of spiritual activism, community organising, and public liturgy. Keith has been involved in interfaith projects in Leicester and London, helping set up several events, a new group as platforms for greater political and spiritual engagement between Muslims and Christians.

Dr. Furaha Asani, Research Lead, Watershed

Furaha Asani is a public academic, mental health advocate, award-winning teacher and speaker, mental health advocate, and writer, with experience in community engagement and creative producing. Furaha has a PhD in Infection and Immunity, and a keen interest and passion for global health equity and science in pop culture. She is also committed to anti-hostile environment advocacy and highlighting the racialized injustices caused by borders. Furaha joined Watershed at the end of 2020 as Research Lead. In this role Furaha leads the Pervasive Media Studio’s research team on the delivery of a research strategy focusing on projects that span across inclusive and responsible innovation, hybrid (digital + physical) products and experiences, and the climate emergency.

Read an overview of Watershed's Research Strategy.

This work often involves collaboration with research partners in Bristol and Bath, the southwest region more broadly, and internationally too. Watershed's research strategy will keep evolving, always foregrounding Watershed's values and ethics.