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Rise Up!

Friday 05 – Saturday 06 May 2023

Rise Up!, a weekend festival celebrating Black and People of Colour creatives in Aberdeen and Scotland, returned in May 2023 for its second year with a host of events at the Music Hall and the Lemon Tree.

Curated by We Are Here Scotland and commissioned by Aberdeen Performing Arts, Rise Up! brought an exciting programme of unity, creativity and expression.

This year’s festival boasted some firsts in its programme including a Cabaret kicking the weekend off. It featured a diverse array of performances, including poetry from acclaimed Scottish writer and performer Courtney Stoddart and a comedy set from the hilarious Safeena Rashid. Also on the line-up is the celebrated Egyptian playwright Sara Shaarawi and international talent Dorine Mugisha, who will be performing a dance piece.

See the full programme from Rise Up 2023 below!


Rise Up Reflections podcast

In 2022, We Are Here Scotland curated the first ever Rise Up Festival as commissioned by Aberdeen Performing Arts. It was a weekend celebrating Black and People of Colour Creatives from the North East and across Scotland.

As part of the festival, there were a host of panels exploring different subjects. Those panels were recorded and in the lead up to this year’s festival, we wanted to look back at those conversations, listen to them in a bit more detail and explore them one year.

It’s being hosted by Spotify for Podcasters here.

Available on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon or wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode 1. Taking the Initiative

This first episode looks at forging and evolving a career and work within communities as Black people and Peoeple of Colour. You will hear different parts from a conversation We Are Here Scotland Founder and Director Ica Headlam had at the first panel of the Rise Up! festival 2022 with Briana Pegado. Briana continues an impressive career embedded in the creative sector, politics and policy, consultancy and much much more. Her latest work sees her facilitating valuable anti-racism work with organisations and bodies.

Episode 2. More of our Faces in Decision Making Spaces

This second episode discusses more of our faces in decision-making spaces. You will hear different parts from a conversation hosted by Cultural Producer Tomiwa Folorunso, Independent Consultant and Campaigner Talat Yaqoob and Director and Founder of We Are Here Scotland, Ica Headlam exploring this.

Episode 3. How can the North East be more supportive of BPoC creatives?

This third episode asks how can the North East be more supportive of BPoC creatives? You will hear different parts from a conversation hosted by Aberdeen Archives, Galleries and Museums as a Learning Manager Rachel Thibbotumunuwe, self-taught digital illustrator Natasha Falconer, self-taught Ceramist potter Leonie Cowie and Director of Film & Television Tim Courtney. Natasha started her career as a scientist and is now a self-taught digital illustrator.

We Are Here Scotland

We Are Here Scotland is a Community Interest Company with an aim to amplify the voices BPoC (Black People and People of Colour) in particular Artists and Creatives who reside in Scotland with opportunities to share their work, connect with each other, and have their voices heard within the wider art community.