My journey started as a participant in 2009 to eventually becoming a core team member of The GAP and had a whole lot of fun on the way. I realised what I want to do is develop opportunities for communities to use cultural practice as a means of understanding ourselves and the world in order to imagine and remake it into the world we want to live in. I am really interested in exploring the political potential of the cultural institution and experiment with how these spaces can be used. Things I like doing include lots of cooking, making hot sauces, reading and causing mischief. You’ll probably see me at about in Balsall Heath high street.
Having experienced the benefits of The GAP’s work myself as a young participant for several years, I’m now committed to developing further transformative cultural learning experiences that other young people can benefit from. I first joined the core team in 2016 as project manager on Beyond Borders, and since then I’ve been involved in whole host of projects working as an exhibition curator, event producer, programmer, creative workshop facilitator, set designer, community story researcher, venue manager, and more. One of the biggest joys of working at The GAP for me is holding space for people to come together to share ideas, develop skills and build community. I’m really fascinated by the lesser-heard histories of people and places, and the role that art can play in connecting us to these stories.
I first met The GAP team in 2016 at a Refugees Welcome banner-making workshop. Soon afterwards I joined their photography workshop and produced my own photography exhibition in The GAP called My Space? I have been involved ever since. I took part in the Beyond Borders project, Stories from the Threshold, Children in Movement and lots more, eventually leading my own project – The Food Chain – where I taught other young asylum seekers how to cook for themselves. Now I am part of the core team at The GAP and my main responsibility is to work in The MIX cafe. I want to study politics eventually and realise my dream of bringing peace and stability for Afghanistan. In the meantime I am raising money to set up an Afghan GAP in my home town of Mazar-i-Sharif, so Afghan boys and girls can have somewhere they can go to learn and be creative, like Birmingham young people can here.
Since founding the organisation in 2009 I’ve continued to mentor the core team at The GAP, but these days, in truth, it’s usually me learning from them and I often struggle to keep up. I am lucky to have worked in the arts with and for young people, both here and abroad, ever since I was one myself. I’ve directed and written plays for them, designed theatre-in-education, delivered arts projects and festivals, taught them drama and illustrated picture books. Facilitating young people’s creative development is My Thing. It’s my privilege to witness on a daily basis the capacity of all kinds of young people for creating meaningful art and culture of the highest quality and significance for the wider community. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather work.
Out of gallery
My work background is in TIE and currently for Geese Theatre Co whose work is mainly in the Criminal Justice System and also with those at risk in the community. Our approach recognises people as whole beings, whatever their past...with the aim to sharing tools to build and create meaningful futures. I am a firm believer in the power of the arts. It is useful for exploration of the world and self, and its power to change people and challenge perspectives is unique. It is an essential gift for all - especially the young. As well as being a strong advocate for The GAP and its commitment to its community I am super happy that The MIX exists alongside, as my second love is food...and lots of it!
My background is in Community Engagement, Development and Project Management. I have worked with a number of third sector organisations including Ramblers, THSH, Brap and Accord. I have supported women’s organisations in producing and delivering educational materials, and advised, trained and managed local delivery of the government funded Holiday Kitchen and Happy Healthy Holidays projects, supporting children and families during school holidays. I run Adventures With Food, a local cookery educational initiative that I set up, and am a director at Communities, Engage & Thrive, a CIC specialising in nutrition and wellbeing.
I work for an educational charity that works with students and others on sustainability, with my role focussing on ethical finance and supply chains. I previously worked in the corporate world as a tax adviser before moving to the not-for-profit sector in 2017.
As an education specialist, I am a big believer in lifelong learning. Since joining The GAP family as a student in Birmingham, I have gone on to work with various non-profit organisations in science communication, global health and disability education, bringing my passion and commitment for social justice to The GAP. In my spare time, I am almost always found in the kitchen, experimenting with plant-based ingredients.
I was born in Birmingham and now work here practicing commercial law as a barrister. Many lifetimes ago, when I was a young person, I became involved in youth theatre and performed in many plays in the UK and abroad. Because of this positive experience, I became involved in The GAP from its inception and was its chair of trustees for 10 years. I strongly believe that young people’s lives and opportunities can be shaped or even change completely through their contact with creative work such as theatre, art and music.
Will Moore - Chair
I have been a trustee of The GAP since 2014 and became Chair of the Board in 2020. I am currently studying a Masters in Social and Public Policy at the University of York and I am employed as a Student Transitions Teacher in the Institute of Society and Community at the University of Wolverhampton. I am also a keen musician, playing in two local Birmingham bands (Lobster and Ire-ish), both of which have featured at a number of events at The GAP. I strongly believe in the positive work of The GAP and am immensely proud to have witnessed the growth and development of the charity over the course of my involvement.
I have conducted scholarship (teaching, research and writing) and activism on climate breakdown for over 15 years. This work is motivated by a deep concern over the ways in which climate breakdown is caused by and contributes to deeply ingrained historical oppressions. When not fretting about the apocalypse, I like to watch prestige TV series, read novels, run, cook and climb. I am excited to be a Trustee of The GAP and to be supporting our work to collaborate with local young people (and others) on issues of social and environmental justice.
Abbas Shapuri - Treasurer
In the day time I’m a Chartered Accountant specializing in the hospitality sector. I believe in the ability that numbers have to create lasting change and communicate events and pictures that words may not be able to. I’ve been affiliated with The GAP for over 10 years, having been a member of its predecessor, Theatre Ark. The personal impact of the charity was instrumental in my decision to continue to support The GAP as a treasurer. I’m passionate about The GAP’s ability to connect with young people and its role in supporting young artists to realise their potential. I’ve also recently learnt how to cook! This skill has allowed me to serve up various dishes such as oats, oats with peanut butter and also toast. Aside from being a Michelin Star chef, I’m also a world-class footballer who just hasn’t got my break yet.
I first joined the organisation in 2009 and have been involved in various projects creatively and now manage the bookkeeping and finances along with being secretary for the Board. Things I am passionate about include, community, conversation and cake!