Fereshteh Mozaffari Vanani
Founder and Creative Director of Sheba Arts. A previous journalist and translator, Fereshteh started a new life as a multidisciplinary artist after she moved to the UK in 2010. She has written and performed her solo shows and poetries in venues and festivals across the country and her short stories, and plays appeared in anthologies in Farsi and English. She has been working with variety of charitable organisations across Greater Manchester including the British red Cross and Rainbow Haven as volunteer refugee support.
Dipali Das was born in Bengal and grew up in Burnley and studied at the University of Dundee. She is a writer of short stories, poems and plays. Past and present careers include Radio Frequency Engineer, Traveller, Teacher, Workshop Facilitator and Mother.
Her work has been performed at Dundee Rep Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Tay and Royal Exchange Theatre.
In 2016, she became the first Writer in Residence at the AIURRC (Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre), based at Manchester Central Library. She ran memoir based workshops, for the award winning project, Kotha and Kantha.
Dipali is a member of Southern Voices, a black led organisation, who are committed to bringing the knowledge, experience and understanding of people from the ‘global south’ into education and current issues today. She recently worked on their ground-breaking exhibition, Shadows of War and Empire, and with the source materials ran workshops in Primary schools and Community groups across Greater Manchester.
Broadcaster, actor, singer-songwriter and DJ, Geli Berg, began her career producing a vocal soundtrack for a play featuring young people from refugee backgrounds at Manchester’s Contact Theatre back in the 1980s. Since then she has worked as a vocal coach and as Senior Producer and Presenter of the Cultural Collage radio show on Manchester’s ALL FM Community Radio.
Geli worked semi-professionally as a jazz/Bossa Nova singer before retiring from solo performance to set up the Lingua Franca World Music Agency to promote ethnically diverse professional performers. During this period, she sang with the Manchester Internal Festival’s Sacred Sounds Womens’ Choir and more recently with the Amani African Community Choir.
Geli’s interest in theatre was rekindled in 2013 when she produced and directed a mixed media theatre show, Behind the Silken Veil which featured professional dance artists from India, Uzbekistan and Morocco. The show toured three rural touring venues in Cheshire to rave reviews from audiences. Recently Geli completed a year-long evening course in professional acting for film and television run by DNA Casting in Manchester.
Geli believes her mixed heritage has seeded her fascination for world cultures and she is particularly interested in projects which address intercultural issues.
Sophie is a visual artist of Irish descent born and raised in Manchester. She studied Foundation Art & Design and later, Interactive Arts at Manchester School of Arts.
Her work includes painting, sculpture and installation and has been exhibited both in the UK and internationally from the Carpathian Mountains to Chicago.
She has been working with refugees and asylum seekers and working to promote welfare for migrants in Manchester since 2009, working with a number of organisations including RAPAR, Commonword and Migrant Support and currently works as an ESOL teacher.