WATGB: Organisations supporting Black creatives across Merseyside

To coincide with their new monthly residency on the MDR airwaves, Where Are The Girl Bands? offer us a monthly glimpse into what they’ve been up to and what’s caught their attention over the past 30 days… 

This month’s article compiles a list of organisations dedicated to supporting Black creativity. 

As Black History Month came to a close in October, it is important that the support of Black creatives continues. We have put together a list of organisations in Liverpool who do incredible work to amplify the voices of Black creatives and offer culturally-informed resources, support and community spaces all year round.

Skywriters – https://www.skywriters.uk@Skywriters_

Skywriters is an award winning social enterprise that uses creative writing, education and training as a catalyst for uplifting personal and social impact experiences. Founded by Liverpool writer and Director Natalie Denny, Skywriters works with individuals, communities and business, using a variety of creative workshops to meet their needs. One example of this is their Ignite Project which offers a free creative writing space for Black young people aged 11-16 to have their creativity nurtured and developed with the outcome of having their words published. Skywriters is a multifaceted organisation, providing safe creative spaces, learning and community in unique ways. To support them, you can check out their website https://www.skywriters.uk or follow them on social media @Skywriters_


Noire Gayze – @noiregayze 

Noire Gayze is a platform to amplify and celebrate Black Queer voices and experiences. Founded by Kolade T Ladipo, the project has already made a lasting impact on the Liverpool creative scene through a variety of expressions. Their events such as their Soft Launch at District and upcoming Club Renaissance night provide a safe space for celebration and creative community while uplifting local DJs and dancers. During October they hosted a panel discussion titled ‘Being Back & Queer’, sharing lived experiences around how each of the panelist’s have been able to navigate their careers and lives as Black Queer people. Most recently they have founded their monthly Noiregayze Show on Melodic Distraction (available on this very website, so no excuses to not go and give it a listen!!) during which founder Kolade T Ladipo discusses trending topics, culture and community with amazing guests. You can listen back to previous episodes via Melodic Distraction and make sure to tune in to future shows too! Alongside all of these ventures, Noire Gayze functions as a magazine to highlight and promote Black Queer people and their joy through sharing their stories and working closely with brands, organisations and people to create new, exciting events and more. To keep up with all the incredible things they are doing, make sure to check out @noiregazye on instagram and twitter.


BlackFest – https://www.blackfest.co.uk@blackfestcreatives

BlackFest is a groundbreaking grassroots Black Arts festival founded in 2018 by Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jubeda Khatun. Each September/October, BlackFest provides brilliant opportunities for development and empowerment through their festival. The festival runs across the city, situated in community spaces as well as established venues, with a diverse programme including music, theatre, film, visual arts, spoken word, poetry and more. In the words of BlackFest, the Festival answers a crucial need in the city’s cultural offering, celebrating Black arts and bridging the gap between institutions and the marginalised communities they represent. While this years festival may have come to a close, the conversations, creatives and collaborations platformed by the organisation can be appreciated throughout the year by following their work on social media @blackfestcreatives and checking out their website https://www.blackfest.co.uk


Aurelia magazine – https://aureliamagazine.com@aureliamagazine

Aurelia magazine is an award-nominated independent publication that platforms and supports the stories and opinions of marginalised genders (women, non-binary people and trans men), creating space for creatives to share their experiences through personal writing. Aurelia’s mission statement is a dedication to spotlighting first-person stories in an effort to encourage readers to slow down and connect with one another, and in doing so has formed a directory for empathy in which you can read the feelings of others and feel seen by those who have traveled similar paths to you. The magazine includes articles that cover deeply nuanced and complex challenges, joys and discoveries in a way that intersects art, identity, and emotion in beautiful and incredibly touching ways. Alongside their articles, the Aurelia Podcast ‘Close-up’ is an intimate portrayal of friendship, reflection and thought between Aurelia editors Kya Buller and Amelia Ellis and the guests that appear on each episode. You can find them on socials @aureliamagazine , their articles via their website https://aureliamagazine.com and their podcast via spotify and apple podcasts.


20 Stories High – https://www.20storieshigh.org.uk – 0151 708 9728 – @20storieshigh

20 Stories High is an organisation that creates theatre with working class and culturally diverse young people. Through offering exciting community spaces for development, exploration and making, 20 Stories High helps young people to explore their experiences and work alongside emerging artists and world-class professionals. Alongside supporting creatives, 20 Stories High aim to support audiences by finding new ways to make people feel comfortable in theatre venues, as well as taking theatre out into communities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Notably, 20 Stories High have their policies, partnerships and accountability around anti-racist work transparently shown on their website. Some examples of their impactful work are Black with a capital B (a series of 7 commissioned short films by local young Black artists), Black, Scouse and Proud (a short film by Nathan Powell and Black youth theatre members) and Touchy (a series exploring 5 unique experiences around the theme of touch). To find these projects and more, check out their website https://www.20storieshigh.org.uk or follow them on instagram @20storieshigh


ROOT-ed Zine – https://linktr.ee/rootedzine@rootedzine

ROOT-ed Zine is an award winning independent zine and social platform for Black, Asian and PoC creatives in the NorthWest. The platform offers a space for development, community and amplification through publication, events and more. Their most recent initiative is a Facebook Group which offers a private and safe space for creatives to meet, communicate and collaborate, offering a space for inspiration that is truly safe and lived-experience-led. Their recent exhibition ‘Retrospect, Reality, Reform’ was an incredible community space created at The Tetley. The exhibition brought together visual arts, filmmaking, poetry, DJs, spoken word, vocal soul and more, giving an in-person experience of the cross-discipline creative world that ROOT-ed develops. You can find all of their previous projects via their LinkTree – https://linktr.ee/rootedzine and keep up with ROOT-ed as it continues to develop and blossom via Instagram @rootedzine


Arise Creatives – @arise_creatives

Arise Creatives is an Instagram based network for Black and mixed heritage creative womxn that aims to grow representation in the creative industry. Based in the North, Arise aims to address both local and bigger picture concerns about the lack of representation of Black women in the creative industry. The page platforms artists, hosts events, creates resources, shares advice and offers an online community space to meet others, learn and feel seen and supported. You can find them on Instagram @arise_creatives


Africa Oyé – https://africaoye.com@africaoye 

Africa Oyé is the UK’s largest Festival of African Music and Culture. Based in Sefton Park, the event is a free celebration that takes place annually, continuing to develop each year. Africa Oyé‘s mission statement is to create a positive representation of Africa, highlighting the culture, food, music and artists that make the continent one of the most vibrant and inspiring in the world. The festival hosts a wide variety of musicians on its stage alongside over 90 stalls, offering a space for community, joy and celebration. While the festival takes place once a year, you can support it and check out the amazing work that the organisation does at any time. One way to do this is through donations, which allow the festival to remain a free and accessible event. Alongside this, their website https://africaoye.com contains a blog which introduces a wide variety of musicians and creatives, meaning that you can get to know and experience the wonders of the festival line-ups all year round. Additionally, Africa Oyé have a monthly 2 hour show on Melodic Distraction (again, no excuses now that you’re already here! Go and check them out!) which features music from across the Diaspora, conversations, interviews, recordings from the festivals, archives, monthly guest mixes and more. Please check them out on their website, their playback episodes (and upcoming) on Melodic Distraction and their socials @africaoye 


Blk.ownd.lpl – @blk.ownd.lplThe Blk ownd Catalogue 

Blk.ownd.lpl is an amazing resource to find Liverpool-based Black business, talent, events and more. The page has a diverse catalogue, covering organisations and causes, support and wellness, markets and shopping, food, beauty and hair, fashion and jeweller, activities and lessons, products and services, events and media, artists and musicians and bloggers and socials. This page makes sure there are no excuses to not be supporting Black creatives and business owners across the city, so make sure to give them a follow on Instagram @blk.ownd.lpl and check out their catalogue (which can be found via this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rO4xaP5KXWE6iayvBh8EkLoVhNlGc311C-hnb9eLoHA/edit  ). 


These are just a few of many incredible organisations across Merseyside that are dedicated to amplifying the voices of Black creatives, so we encourage you to keep looking for spaces to support and the amazing creative projects that develop because of them!