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Rise Up 2023: A Sonic Hug Presents: BPoC Wellbeing in Scottish Arts

  • MH Big Sky Studio
  • Music Hall
Rise up logo


Presented by mental health podcast A Sonic Hug, this is a panel featuring creative practitioners and a healthcare professional looking at ways we can protect our mental health and wellness while working in the industry. This panel will be also recorded as part of a live podcast.

Host – Halina Rifai / (A Sonic Hug)
Panellist – Brenda Vengesa
Panellist – Shirin Karbor
Panellist – Ica Headlam
Panellist – Shirin Karbor


Free but ticketed


Halina Rifai
Halina Rifai podcast producer, music writer, PR & digital marketer. She founded music site Podcart in 2009 and went on to become a Podcast Producer, working with the likes of BBC Scotland, Mental Health Foundation, Fringe of Colour and more. Her mental health podcast A Sonic Hug is part of The Big Light network and has gained praise and acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, The Metro and The Times. She also works in Communications for We Are Here Scotland.

Brenda Vengesa
Brenda Vengessa is a poet, writer and diversity and inclusion advocate. She has worked in the Accounting and Finance sector for over 10 years. She is currently working full time whilst working on her first novel and poetry collection. Brenda has also worked on stage where she has performed in amateur musical theatre with the MAMA (Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association). She used the lockdown period to reignite her passion for the arts and sharpen her skills.

Shirin Karbor
Shirin Karbor is an Italian-Iranian illustrator and designer based in Edinburgh. An advocate of traditional drawing, Shirin’s work features a world of lively characters, humour and bold expressive lines inspired by her love for classic animation, graphic design and European comics. Exploring the links between creativity and wellbeing, Shirin has worked with various charities and schools using drawing as a tool for building confidence, increasing representation and showing that art can be accessible to everyone. After studying Graphic Design at Gray’s School of Art, Shirin spent the following years involved in the Aberdeen creative scene before moving to Edinburgh where she is currently the project lead for Create Community Wealth, a Culture Collective project in partnership with WHALE Arts and North Edinburgh Arts.

Ica Headlam
Ica Headlam is Creative Practitioner based in Aberdeen. He moved to Scotland in 2004 and is also a qualified Social Worker who works with vulnerable young adults across the city.

In late 2017 Ica started to independently produce and host Creative Me Podcast a fortnightly show that explores creativity and arts in the North East of Scotland, with the aim of drawing a wider focus on Aberdeen’s creative community.

Ica is also the founder of We Are Here Scotland which is an organisation that aims to amplify the voices of Black and People of Colour artists and creatives across Scotland’s creative industries. Ica is a strong advocate for representation across the creative sector and values the importance of open and honest dialogue.

About Rise Up

Rise Up

A weekend of performances, talks, workshops and community spaces celebrating Black and People of Colour Creatives in Aberdeen and Scotland. Curated by We Are Here Scotland in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts.

See the whole programme here.