Speech Debelle

Speech Debelle is a musician, author and chef.

Speech kicked in the music industry’s backdoor in 2009 with her debut album, Speech Therapy, which went on to win the Mercury Prize for British Debut Album of the Year.

She later tantalised the nation with her inventive recipes as a semi-finalist on Celebrity MasterChef, and in her weekly podcast ‘The Work Brunch’where she cooked and discussed music, life and inspiration with a range of esteemed guests, such as Lianne La Havas, Nitin Sawhney, Shabaka Hutchings and Mikill Pane. 

She accompanied her third album Tantil before I breathe with her own cookbook and memoir, expressing that ‘music and food are art – they heal and inspire’. The nine songs spanning all three of her albums tell a story of abandonment, the artistic process, and healing, with a delicious, inspired recipe for each.

Her fourth studio album, Sunday Dinner On A Monday, is set for a June 2023 release. 

Ben Newell

Ben Newell is a content creator, influencer, public speaker, and owner of Worcester Terrariums. Ben’s work centres around the creation of micro-ecosystems called terrariums.

As a content creator and influencer, he has established himself as a leading figure in the field of terrarium building, amassing a total of 1.5 million followers across his social platforms. Ben has become well known for his short form video content, with his videos totalling hundreds of millions of views.

As a public speaker, Ben has delivered demos and workshops across the UK including The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Greenrooms Market and the Colwall and Wyche Horticultural Society. Most recently, Ben has continued his work with Great Ormond Street Hospital where he hosted 21 demos and workshops as part of their involvement in the 2022 Bloomsbury Festival.

His work has attracted interest from local and national press, including being featured in The Spruce magazine, The Week Junior, Encyclopaedia Britannica, BBC News, Worcester News, UNILAD, LADbible and social media giants Buzzfeed where he created a series of educational videos for their platform.

Most notably, Ben won a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022 with The Plant Clinic (https://www.houseplantclinic.com) and has been nominated for the Garden Media Guild Social Media Communicator of the Year Award 2022.

Funmi Adebanjo

Funmi Adebanjo recognises the vast power that widely accepted narratives have – to build cultures and shape identities – and that these narratives are heavily driven by media and entertainment. As someone who’s often felt underrepresented, Funmi’s passion has always been to combine this awareness with her deep interest in understanding others and her love of storytelling. As well as to write stories with well-developed characters and inclusive storylines, showcasing multifaceted representation.

Funmi tells stories that lean toward positive and aspirational because she believes that using our best efforts to promote the most productive narratives into this world is one of the key ways to contribute to the success, self-esteem, and positive identities of the next generations.

Funmi mostly writes comedy and drama across TV and feature film scripts, although her writing also spans into shorts, poetry, prose, and even a little animation. No matter what she writes, Funmi focuses on being the change she wants to see, and this approach allows her to subtly weave educational and aspirational elements. For example, rather than discussing certain issues, the narrative will act to carefully navigate normalising solutions.

Funmi recently found success with a story in an untapped space, with a feature film commission on a festival-based rom-com script themed in the multifaceted nature of modern Black-Britishness, celebrating food, family and culture. One of her passion projects is a university-based comedy drama, and her pilot script was placed in the top 2% of BBC Comedy Writersroom.

Tice Cin

Tice Cin is an interdisciplinary artist from north London. She has an MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture from UCL. Tice has acted and performed at venues such as Battersea Arts Centre, The Roundhouse and Barbican’s Pit Theatre, and has been commissioned by organisations like Cartier, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Edinburgh International Book Festival. She was named one of Complex Magazine’s best music journalists of 2021, and has written for places such as DJ Mag and Mixmag.

A DJ and music producer, she is preparing to release an accompanying album for Keeping the House with a host of talented features including those from the creative house she is part of, Fwrdmtn, such as Kareem Parkins-Brown and Latekid. Keeping the House has been named one of Guardian’s Best Books of 2021, and has been featured in The Scotsman, The New York Times and the Washington Post.  She is a recent recipient of a Society of Authors Prize, and was shortlisted for Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. A filmmaker, she is currently writing and co-directing three short films. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Aydın-Barberini. 

Tommy Rowlands

Tommy Rowlands is a London based writer of Lebanese and Welsh heritage. He has worked in hospitality for most of his career, across some of the capital’s most iconic venues. In 2021 he was the recipient of a London Writers Award for literary fiction. Channelling Puppy is his debut novel.