Anand Chhabra

Anand Chhabra is a founder, sole director and the incumbent Chair at Black Country Visual Arts and has been involved in the arts as a photographer for over 20 years. He began a full time career as artist beginning as Wolverhampton’s recipient of the ‘Collide’ programme in 2005. Anand as Director at Black Country Visual Arts since it was founded in 2014 has initiated all their projects single-handedly including finding partners, writing proposals and sourcing funding for their projects up to date which include Exodus : Movement of a People, Desi Pubs and Apna Heritage Archive. Anand initiated and profiled the AHA project to Community Archives and Heritage Group winning the award for best New Archive in the UK in 2017. Anand continues to work on photographic projects that profiles stories in ethnic communities that remain untold. At the heart of Anand’s work is people and the stories that they share. He recently received a British Council grant to conduct research around the family album and present on Punjabi migration in India with considerable success presenting at India’s major institutions Dr Bhau Daji Lad in Mumbai and Punjab Lalit Kala Akademie in Chandigarh. Anand continues to work on various photographic commissions and on exhibitions. In 2018 Anand was shortlisted for Magnum Foundation’s Photography in Collaboration : Migration and Religion and has been nominated for Prix Pictet 2019 for his work SUPNAA : Dreams of our Fathers.


Board of Advisors -

Since March 2018 BCVA Anand Chhabra has been strengthening our partnerships with our advisers into a informal board. Through steering group meetings the following key people both regionally and nationally have agreed to advise and steer Black Country Visual Arts organisation and their projects. These highly talented, knowledgeable individuals all with relevant experience have already been involved in the input into the success of our organisation’s projects and future growth over the last few years. They steer the vision and purpose and values of BCVA to help profile diversity within the region through any number of artistic outcomes. They strategically provide insight, advice and shape all our projects through their various skills sets.


Bobby Tiwana (Twitter @Bobstaah) 

Bobby is a freelance creative practitioner of live performance and digital shorts and a curator of moving image shorts, creating space for marginalised and less visible communities.

He works collaboratively with other artists across media and wider non-arts partners to answer questions which are seldom asked. Bobby also works as an arts consultant: developing cross-sector partnerships; writing arts and heritage applications; and as facilitator, providing a sounding board and critical friend to organisations, artists and projects. Bobby Tiwana has been working on our behalf from the very inception in 2014 as a consultant, advisor and in his skills as described above which have ultimately proved very successful for and on behalf of BCVA.


Creative Black Country - Creative Director

Parminder works closely with Creative Producers and partner organisations to develop people’s ideas and ambition to make the Black Country an even more creative place.
Always on the look out for interesting meeting points and collaborations between sectors e.g. arts, business, media, to help increase creative opportunities in the area. Parminder thrives on this role, it combines the skills from my previous life with ACE, BBC and working with independent arts organisations and artists. Parminder is strategically involved in the projects created through Creative Black Country(CBC). CBC is impacting diverse audiences in the arts and cultural scene of the Black Country with recent work such as DESI PUBS, 100 MASTERS, THE SINGH TWINS and FUNNY THINGS.


(Reader in Social and Political Photographic Cultures) 

Gil Pasternak is Reader in Social and Political Photographic Cultures in the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) at De Montfort University (DMU). His published research investigates intersections of photographic practices with socio-political realities and cultural heritage endeavors, especially, but not exclusively, in the context of Israeli society and the histories of Polish Jewry in the interwar and post-communist periods. Prior to his work in academia, Gil was a war photojournalist, fine art photographer, photography instructor and archivist. Much of his approach to research largely draws on these past professional experiences. In 2017 Gil established the DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium and in 2018 he secured a large European Commission research grant to explore uses of digital heritage in nationally framed zones of cultural conflict. In the same year he completed the volumesHandbook of Photography Studies(Bloomsbury 2019) andVisioning Israel-Palestine: Encounters at the Cultural Boundaries of Conflict(Bloomsbury [I.B. Tauris] 2019). In 2011, he also published the volumeVisual Conflicts: On the Formation of Political Memory in the History of Art and Visual Cultures(with Paul Fox) and now he is finalizing a sociohistorical monograph on Israel’s political photographic cultures. A member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the journalPhotography & Culture(Taylor & Francis) and the journal Jewish Film & New Media(Wayne State University Press, USA), Gil also sits on the Research Ethics Committee in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities at DMU, and in2016/17 he worked as consultant for the BBC filmSmile! The Nation’s Family Album(2017). Regularly contributing information about family, amateur and digital photographic practices to international newspapers, news agencies and corporations (e.g. BBC,BBVA OpenMind,Telegraph,Sputnik International,20 minutos etc), he has been invited to deliver academic keynote lectures and public talks on related subjects in national and international venues such as,State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russian Federation, 2017),The European University in St Petersburg (Russian Federation, 2017),Institute of Arts at the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw, Poland, 2016), Institute of Social & Cultural Anthropology, Pitt Rivers Museum (University of Oxford, 2015), the French Academy in Rome (Villa Medici, Italy, 2014), Musée Nicephore Niepce (Chalon sur Saône, France, 2012), Tate Britain (London, 2012), andthe Photographers’ Gallery (London, 2011 and 2012), among others.


Emma is the director of Multistory which has long been the ‘go to’ organisation for photography in the Black Country region and has initiated original projects like ‘Black Country Stories’ commissioning world renowned photographers like Martin Parr and Susan Meisalas. They are currently working on projects for and also preparing for a huge arts festival in 2019 across the region called ‘BLAST!’

Emma Chetcuti has been instrumental in the early days of Black Country Visual Arts projects, helping match fund our Exodus : Movement of a People which was met with great success and led to greater work for such as the Apna heritage Archive and so Emma remains a great supporter and friend.

Based in West Bromwich, Multistory works with outstanding artists to make art with, for and about the people of Sandwell. Multistory projects reflect and celebrate everyday life from factories, pubs and clubs, people’s homes, places of worship and markets. They work with local residents, photographers, artists, writers, documentary film-makers and many more.

Multistory commissions new work with acclaimed artists who are recognised by their peers for their work. They do this in order to develop a body of outstanding work called The Multistory Collection. Multistory also nurtures and support emerging artists to develop their practice.


Vanley Burke is often described as the ‘Godfather of Black British Photography’

Vanley’s iconic images have captured the evolving cultural landscape, social change, and stimulated debate in the United Kingdom over the past four decades. He draws strength from remaining a humble man of the community, whose personable character allows him to capture the intimate and private nature of people’s everyday lives.

His body of work represents possibly the largest photographic record of the Caribbean Diaspora in Britain, and as an avid collector, Vanley continues to connect histories through his substantial archive housed at the Library of Birmingham. From local community organisations to the Victoria & Albert Museum and Whitechapel, Vanley has exhibited widely in the United Kingdom, and as far afield as New York, South Africa and China.

Vanley’s artistic enquiry is not simply limited to black and white documentary photography, as his eccentric rebellious nature lends itself to sculpture and painting, and crafting art that gives life a shape. His simple motivation has been the preservation of culture and history through creation, documentation, and discovery which often leaks into the private.

Vanley and Anand have recently worked together on the ‘Many Rivers to Cross’ a photographic project to mark the 50th anniversary speech by Enoch Powell and exhibited at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in May 2018.

SAJIDA CARR Director of Operations and Development at Creative Black Country.

Sajida was instrumental in the career of director Anand Chhabra involving him in the Collide programme in 2005 and more recently with Desi Pubs at CBC. Her role is about making the most of the Black Country through Arts and Culture. Championing unique collaborations with key stakeholders and leading initiatives which encourages local people to have a say in what they want to see and do. This role is part of Creative People and Places national Arts Council initiative which engages people least engaged in the Arts. She has been part of Creative Black Country since 2014. Prior to this, her previous roles focussed on widening audiences at Wolverhampton Arts and Museums Services and the National Trust. Her experiences have been shaped by ‘doing’, co-creating projects and learning from others.


Lecturer in Public History

Shirin is a historian based jointly at the People’s History Museum and Manchester Metropolitan University. Shirin’s research focuses on race, migration and the British labour movement. She has recently completed a book on Enoch Powell, racism and resistance in Wolverhampton published by Manchester University Press. 

Shirin is currently working on People’s History Museum exhibition plans to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester. Co-production shapes Shirin’s research and she is involved in exhibitions, public events and networks with artists, trade unions, museums and schools. 

Shirin and Anand have recently worked together on the ‘Many Rivers to Cross’ project, with oral histories undertaken and culminating in a photographic exhibition to mark the 50thanniversary of Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and particularly the resistance that emerged out of this moment in Wolverhampton. This was exhibited at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in May 2018. 


Grain Projects - Director

Nicola is a Producer, Curator, Project Manager, Mentor and Consultant specialising in photography, commissioning, exhibitions, the public realm and socially engaged practice. Providing project management, production, commissioning, research and consultancy services, working with a range of artists, organisations, museums, galleries and libraries as well as private sector and commercial clients.

GRAIN is an arts organisation dedicated to commissioning, facilitating and delivering ambitious, engaging and high quality photography projects, commissions, events and exhibitions.  They commission and produce new work in collaboration with artists and photographers and collaborate with major partners here and internationally to reach and inspire new audiences and participants.

Nicola’s relationship with the director Anand stretches back 20 years. Nicola was intrinsically involved advisor for the curation of the Apna Heritage Archive exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in 2018 which subsequently been acclaimed throughout the region and beyond.


Andrew Jackson - a contemporary British artist who engages with the challenges of representation and narration through the medium of photography.

He is an award-winning recipient of the Autograph ABP 2018/Lightwork International Photography Residency in Syracuse, New York.

His interventions focus on the African Diaspora, memory, family, storytelling and urbanism. They speak to how the experiences of others impact both upon our systems of belief and our notions of self, but also to our connection to the physical spaces around us - and those who inhabit them. Increasingly he seeks to explore notions of belonging and home specifically in works such as most recently From a Small Island.

He co-founded and was co-director of Some Cities CIC, a community-oriented participatory photography company, between 2013 and 2018.

In 2018 Andrew was nominated for the Elliott Erwitt Fellowship. 


Caroline Molloy is a Senior Lecturer in Photography, at Coventry University -

Caroline contributes to theory practice & professional practice and holds a Senior Fellowship at Higher Education Academy. She led the team that won the Coventry Excellent Award: Student Employability Initiative and was shortlisted for the Association of Photographer in Higher Education teaching award (2018), she was shortlisted for the Wharton-QS Stars reimagine education award (2016). She sits on the school ethics committee and the university course development approval panel.

Alongside of her teaching, Caroline is an Arts and Humanities PhD research student at Birkbeck, in the Centre of Photographic theory and history, UoL. The working title of her thesis is ‘Entangled objects: Exploring the visual habitus of transcultural photography.’ She has an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths, and has been trained in oral histories by the British Library. She regularly writes about photography for Photomonitor, 1000words and New West-Midland Arts. Her research interests are in the Politics of Representation, Transnational Identity: home/place and space. Photography, Visual Anthropology, Visual Culture, Visual Sociology, Archives and Visual Methods. She has spoken at a number of national and international conferences and research centres about her research, such the Transnational Family symposium, which she organised in association with the Family Ties Network, at Coventry University (2018), the encountering difference symposium Transnational Identity Art and Nation research centre, in assoc. w. Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon colleges of art, graduate school (2018). The University of Lisbon, Portugal, University of Bedfordshire, Format photography Festival (2017). The International Association of Photography and the Everyday, Nicosia, Cyprus, Lisbon consortium: Transvisuality conference, MeCCSA annual conference on communities, Christchurch Canterbury University, the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) de Montfort University, Leicester (2016) and the Visualising Histories symposium at UWE (2013). Out of these papers, there are 2 peer reviewed articles currently due for publication. Her work has been shown in the ‘family of no-man’ exhibition at Arles Photography festival (2018), the Jaipur Photo festival (2017) and was part of the Leverhulme funded Oxford Diaspora Arts Program (2014), with an accompanying publication (2015).


Tamsin Silvey has worked at Historic England as Programme Curator since 2015. Some of her recent exhibitions include Out There: Our Post-War Public Art and I Am LondonImmortalised: The People Loved, Left and Lost in Our Landscape and Human Stories: Another England. Her work includes commissioning a banner with Lucy Orta and the London College of Fashion working with inmates at HMP Downview for the PROCESSIONS march, to mark the anniversary of the Representation of the People Act which gave the first British women the right to vote. In previous roles Tamsin has produced photography-based projects and exhibitions which included the first edition of Photo London Fair, and the management of the Prix Pictet photography prize and international exhibition tour. She holds a MA in Arts Policy and Management. She studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and is currently undertaking postgraduate research within the History of Art School at Birkbeck, University of London. Tamsin has been strategic along with her team at Historic England in helping profile the Apna Heritage Archive via their website ‘Another England’ as well as a subsequent exhibition at NOW gallery. We were privileged to be able to have representation on these platforms and be part of of 100 years of Black & Asian history in the UK.


Rajinder Dudrah - Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries Birmingham City University.

Rajinder leads on new areas of research and innovation across the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media (ADM), and develops BCU’s existing strengths across media, cultural studies and creative industries research, especially among early and mid-career colleagues. Rajinder has taught across the range of core undergraduate and postgraduate courses concerned with screen theory and aesthetics, screen methods, and screen texts and audiences. He particularly draws on interdisciplinary approaches from Film and Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and Sociology to think about the development of screen theory and how best to analyse the relationship between screen industries, texts and audiences. Rajinder is Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries, based in the School of Media in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media. This is a cross faculty research professorship where he is leading the University's growing group of creative industries researchers, coordinating the University's efforts to consolidate its reputation in this area, and working with the Institute for Creative Innovation to establish our expertise in the field. He is also working to help develop researchers across the faculty and is one of the University's Midlands3Cities AHRC Doctoral College Site Directors. Rajinder is working with colleagues at BCU and across the cultural and creative industry sectors in Birmingham and beyond to help realise the University's plans for its STEAMHouse project.

He has been a script reader and adviser for Maverick Television (Birmingham) on their Crossovers project which mentored 6 British feature film scriptwriters with their work. Rajinder has also researched and written with Dr Malcolm Dick (University of Birmingham) entries on the social history of Handsworth's (Birmingham) post-war development for Birmingham City Council's on-line Digital Handsworth project, project His doctorate work was a combined extended qualitative interview and textual analysis of the popular cultural texts of British Bhangra music, Bollywood films, and the non-terrestrial Zee TV channel as they are used by British Asian audiences in processes of social identity formation.

Rajinder is also one of the founders and co-editors of the internationally peer reviewed journal South Asian Popular Culture with Routledge publishers.


Mike Poloway - Documentary Photographer and Consultant

In 1984 Mike Poloway graduated from the Documentary Photography Course in Newport, South Wales led by legendary Magnum photographer David Hurn  and has been supplying creative editorial images  to a wide range of clients ever since. Mike is responsible for teaching Anand Chhabra photography in Manchester and has been involved in BCVA’s Apna Heritage Archive and other projects providing strategy, insight, advice and support on a regular basis.

 Based in Salford Quays, Manchester, UK, Mike's clients include the following:

 The Independent,  The Times, The Times Educational Supplement, The Scotsman, The Nursing Times, Health Service Journal,  The BBC, Channel 4 TV, Five TV, The Department of Transport, The Department of Work and Pensions, Farmers Weekly, Canal and River Trust, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda, Lidl, Aldi, The Jerusalem Report, The Jewish Chronicle, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Lloyds Bank, Yours Magazine, New! Magazine, British Red Cross, Redwood Publishing, Mercedes Benz, McCann Erikson PR, BOC,  Lawyer Magazine, Auto Express.


Director @kalaphool

Kala Phool is a bespoke project management, event planning and development agency. they are a small team that make big things happen. Kala Phool was founded by Indy Hunjan and her ethos has always been to strive for excellence with the ‘experience’ of an event being open to all. With over twenty five years of arts industry experience under her belt, Indy has worked across artforms to build experiential projects which have crossed socio-economic, cultural and demographic boundaries. We are very excited to have Inderjit on the board of advisors….. a fantastic talent.


Principal Lecturer MA - University of Wolverhampton

Su Fahy is an artist working in lens – based media, principally photography, drawing, and sculpture, Fahy’s research utilises the aura of the documentary photographic image in order to interrogate and contextualise our readings of natural or architectural environments. Working principally to commission, Fahy engages with theorists, photographers and archive materials with a view to producing images for collaborative publication or exhibition. Recent projects have included Fugitive Testimonies (2009-2017)an artist led archive with Oh Yeah Decca !an artist bookwork exhibited in Readers Art : Concealed,Confined and Collected, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, USA (2015). OFF THE S(H)ELF – the eclectic in the artist’s book, group show at iKlektik Arts Lab Space Gallery, London (2015), a small artist bookwork installation XIII Can’t Take You Leaving Me: A Torch Song. The Severn Sea in Oceans, an e flux platform artists’ collective project initiated by Tania Kovats, exhibited at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2014;Outmoded Rituals (2005-2016)a study of the landscape and topography around the environs of the Severn Estuary with the first in the series exhibited at Ambika P3 Galleryin London (2008); and the series continues to be exhibited in the Royal Photographic Society’s 154th International Print Show (2012), and in the publication by IRIS of an artist’s book in 2013, An AHRB funded project of photographs on the use of light by Basil Spence in the architecture of the Rome Embassy – published with Dr. Brian Edwards of the Edinburgh College of Art – ‘Basil Spence – Visions in Light’ and another photo – essay with the same author, ‘The British Pavilion at Expo’67 ; ‘Art , Architecture and National Identity’, based upon the architecture of the Expo ’67 site in Montreal, Canada.


Iona Fergusson has a strong background in the creative industries having worked for a leading international fragrance house and a pioneering global magazine publishing conglomerate. Both professions enabled her to develop and hone an invaluable combination of creative, analytical and strategic business skills. As Photo Editor for Vogue India, she developed an abiding passion for the photographic image. As part of her role, she was able to commission and mentor emerging photographers – interests that she carries with her to this day. Following a Masters in the History and Critical Theory of Photography in London she worked for the Delhi Photo Festival, a not-for-profit arts organisation, as Director of Talks & Education and Consultant Creative Director. Both roles have deepened her knowledge and expertise of photography and been instrumental in advancing her skills in audience engagement, curation and strategic planning. Currently, she works as a London-based independent curator and producer. Recent projects include an on-going three-year photographic commission and exhibition titled: Girl Gaze: Journeys Through The Punjab & The Black Country, UK – a four artist commission. And a two-exhibition show of abstract photography titled CUT BEND PULL THRUST by Yamini Nayar and ARC by Zoe Croggon at Peckham 24 London in May 2018. Current book projects include an invitation in November 2017 by 10x10 Photobooks to be the selector for South Asian and Australasian women photobook makers for their forthcoming publication and traveling library How We See: Photobooks by Women (October 2018).

LUKAS BIRK / / / Lukas Birk is an Austrian artist, storyteller, and conservator.  

Director Anand Chhabra met with Lukas Birk in India 2018 and was amazed by his experience and ethical and loving way of supporting and promoting the work of people from various countries in Asia. Not only this but his way of working and the excellence he produces was phenomenal. Looking forward to working with him in the near future.

Lukas’ multi-disciplinary projects have been turned into films, chronicles, books, and exhibitions. A large part of Lukas’ work deals with archival material he collects through travel or while delving into his own background.  His narratives tackle recorded history by creating alternate storylines and fictional elements, alongside commonly accepted facts. Lukas often researches his imagery through explorations into cultures that have been affected by conflict. His created ‘archival artworks’ have little to do with institutional processes but rather center around personal stories, the desire to preserve their place in history, and Lukas’ own emotional attachment to them.Currently, he is working on the Myanmar Photo Archive – his endeavour to re-interpret and tell the story of Myanmar through collected photographs taken over the last century. 

Publications: Afghan Box Camera, Polaroids from the Middle Kingdom, Kafkanistan – tourism to conflict zone, 35 Bilder Krieg, Photo Peshawar, Burmese Photographers.


Senior Lecturer: Course Leader Religious Studies

Opinderjit Kaur Takhar is an internationally recognised researcher within Sikh Studies. Her work on Punjabi Dalits and identity formation has been published in a number of books. She is undertaking further research into the current activities towards distinct identity amongst the Ravidassia community and the implications of the installation of Amritbani Guru Ravidass in replace of the Guru Granth Sahib in Ravidassia places of worship. Her publication on ‘Sikh Identity: An exploration of Groups among Sikhs’ (Ashgate 2005) is used as a key text in many Universities around the world. Takhar’s research is on-going in terms of caste issues and gender dynamics amongst Punjabis, and Sikhs specifically.  She is currently supervising two research projects and welcomes enquiries from prospective researchers.

In 2018 Dr Opinderhit founded the Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies at the University of Wolverhampton which is the first of its kind in the UK. Centre will offer PhDs and Master’s level courses in Sikh studies, as well as continuing professional development (CPD) courses for teachers and managers of diverse workforces such as national and local government, the NHS and the emergency services. It will also offer training for Granthis and Gianis, individuals taking the religious lead in Gurdwaras, short courses in religious literacy and language to address the loss of the Panjabi language in younger generations, as well as teaching in English to promote bilingualism and skills for life.

The Centre will be involved with the exchange of knowledge on an international platform using the links it has already established with Sikh Studies scholars across the globe.


Photographer and Researcher -

Jagdish Patel is a British born Indian, raised in the Midlands. He works as a photographer, teacher, writer and researcher and graduated with a MA Photography from De Montfort University, Leicester. He is an Associate member of the Royal Photography Society (RPS), the Nottingham Photographers’ Hub, the Nottingham Photo Social and Primary in Nottingham.

Notably Jagdish was deputy director of the human rights charity, the Monitoring Group, for many years and continues to research and write on issues relating to race, communities, policing and black and asian history.   HIs photography work is firmly located within the realms of portraiture and documentary, though by using the process of socially engaged art practice Jagdish work in collaboration with my subjects. He is keen to ensure that the process of making images is empowering for the participant to the project.

Over the past few years Jagdish has undertaken projects with people from the Gypsy community in Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, Portuguese farm workers in Lincolnshire, people with mental ill health, Northern Soul fans, victims of racial violence across England, and Punjabi bar owners in the Black Country.

Please click on Jagdish’s link above to see full list of commissions, exhibitions and publications.


Social Commentator and Political Activist -

Patrick was born in the constituency where Enoch Powell was an MP. His family still lives in Wolverhampton and he is proud of his roots and the contribution of migrant communities from the Windrush Generation have made to Britain which forms a larger of his values and principles.

Patrick’s career over the last twenty years has provided a real insight in working with many, often marginalised communities in the health and social care sector good grounding and understanding of issues and the challenges in delivering public services in a challenging environment.

Patrick Vernon OBE is a Fellow at Clore and Winston Churchill, Imperial War Museum and the Royal Historical Society. He was the first director of Black Thrive a mental-health multi agency tackling mental health in Lambeth and former non-executive director of Camden and Islington Mental Health Foundation Trust.

Patrick is also founder of Every Generation Media and 100 Great Black Britons, which develops education programmes, publications and films on cultural heritage and family history.  He is a leading expert on African and Caribbean genealogy in the UK. In 2017 was appointed editor for Black History Month magazine and in 2018 for Windrush Commemorative magazine. Since 2010 he has been leading the campaign for Windrush Day and in 2018 kick started the campaign for an amnesty for the Windrush Generation as part of the Windrush Scandal which led to a government u-turn in immigration policy. Patrick was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work in tackling health inequalities for ethnic minority communities in Britain.