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Speakers 2020

Baroness Sheila HollinsBaroness Sheila Hollins

Baroness Sheila Hollins

City Lit Fellow Baroness Hollins is Patron of the Mental Wealth Festival.  She is the founder, editor and lead author of the Books Beyond Words series and Chairs the Board of Beyond Words. She is Emeritus Professor of the Psychiatry of Disability at St George’s, University of London, and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench peer.


Uma NaidooUma Naidoo

Uma Naidoo

Dr Uma Naidoo is a Harvard trained psychiatrist, Professional Chef and Nutrition Specialist. Featured in the Wall Street Journal, and many others, Dr Uma has a special interest on the impact of food on mood and other mental health conditions. She is the author of This Is Your Brain On Food, released August 4th, 2020. In her book, she shows the cutting-edge science explaining the ways in which food contributes to our mental health and how a sound diet can help treat and prevent a wide range of psychological and cognitive health issues, from ADHD to anxiety, depression, OCD, and others.

Dr Kathryn MannixDr Kathryn Mannix

Dr Kathryn Mannix

Kathryn Mannix is a retired palliative care doctor campaigning for better public understanding of dying, using her experience drawn from 30 years working in hospitals, hospices and people's own homes. Her book about the way people live while they are dying, With The End In Mind, became a best-seller and was short-listed for the Wellcome Book Prize. She has written and spoken extensively about end of life care and supporting dying people, across the UK and around the world. 

Tanvi KantTanvi Kant

Tanvi Kant

Tanvi Kant is a contemporary textiles artist and jeweller exploring simple hand-constructed techniques in textiles & mixed-media. She has over ten years’ experience in running workshops within a variety of settings including galleries, museums, education and women's charities. 

Move Beyond Words actors Move Beyond Words actors

Move Beyond Words

Meet the actors, dancers, authors, artists and academics living with dyslexia in the brand new podcast series Move Beyond Words with hosts Charlotte Edmonds and Elizabeth Arifien. As two dyslexic creatives, Charlotte and Elizabeth want to start a conversation about it and share our journey...from the challenges to the countless rewards.

Kirubel BelayKirubel Belay

Kirubel Belay

Kirubel Belay is a professional freelance dance artist. Specialising in hip hop and contemporary styles as-well as experiencing other styles such as; Ballet, African, Commercial, Funk. He trained at both London Studio Centre & Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Paul FarmerPaul Farmer

Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer has been Chief Executive of Mind, the leading mental health charity working in England and Wales since May 2006. Paul is Chair of the NHS England Independent Oversight & Advisory Group which brings together health and care leaders and experts to oversee the current mental health long term plan for the NHS in England. He co-authored ‘Thriving at Work’ for the government, setting out how to transform mental health in work places. He has an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of East London, is an Honorary Fellow of St Peter’s College, Oxford, and The Royal College of Psychiatrists, and was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours 2016.

Steve ChapmanSteve Chapman

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman, also known as Steve Xoh, is an artist, writer and speaker interested in creativity and the human condition. He regularly give talks on creativity, spontaneity, human social change, imperfection, stuckness, counter-culture, shame and the inner critic and is a regular guest on various podcasts. 

Saba SalmanSaba Salman

Saba Salman

A freelance journalist, editor and writer, Saba Salman specialises in social justice, equality and diversity. She’s a regular Guardian journalist and writes for other national press like The Independent and Byline Times. Saba’s book, Made Possible, is out now, a collection of essays on success by learning disabled people. The book is inspired by her youngest sister. Saba is a trustee of Sibs, the charity supporting siblings of disabled people, and an RSA fellow (Royal Society of Arts). 


Noreena HertzNoreena Hertz

Noreena Hertz

Noreena Hertz is a renowned thought leader, academic and broadcaster. Her books are published in more than twenty countries. She has hosted her own show on America’s largest radio network Sirius XM show, served as ITV’s economics editor, and spoken at events including TED. Noreena is based at the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London, where she holds an Honorary Professorship.

Shaun WebsterShaun Webster

Shaun Webster

Shaun Webster is a project worker for human rights charity Change and an involvement coordinator for Leeds and York Partnership Foundation NHS Learning Disability Services at St Mary’s Hospital in Leeds. Shaun was awarded an MBE for services to people with learning disabilities and their families in 2015. He works on projects tackling challenges experienced by people with a learning disability and autism including mental health, employment, parenting, sex and relationships and LGBTQ issues. The training Shaun delivers changes attitudes and raises awareness. Shaun is married and is a parent and grandparent.

Ian TucknottIan Tucknott

Ian Tucknott

Ian Tucknott is an educator, cultural theorist and creative practitioner, with 15 years experience of teaching & managing in the areas of contemporary art, critical & cultural theory, and art history. Ian is currently Head of School for Humanities & Sciences at City Lit.

Ben Chwistek Ben Chwistek

Benjamin Chwistek

Benjamin Chwistek holds a PhD in Political Theory. He has taught politics, history and philosophy at universities in the UK and Europe. Alongside this, he has spoken at numerous conferences and events, primarily on topics relating to myth, violence, and democracy.

Muskaan RazdanMuskaan Razdan

Muskaan Razdan

Muskaan Razdan is 18 years old and was born and raised in India.  She currently lives in Leeds where she is pursuing her undergrad in Communication and Media. While professionally she is going down the path of advertising, she is extremely passionate about creating open conversation and raising awareness around mental health, especially in the brown community. She strongly believes that generating dialogue and making resources more accessible is vital and the current climate has only amplified the need to act quickly.  

Mithun SundaresanMithun Sundaresan

Mithun Sundaresan

Mithun Sundaresan is a Brixton Finishing School 2020 graduate and an aspiring creative strategist with a particular passion for music and is a radio DJ. He is currently working on several creative projects fulfilling his desire to improve South Asian representation in the creative industries and also fostering creative culture and community as a whole.

Rowan Hisayo BuchananRowan Hisayo Buchanan

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan's first novel Harmless Like You won the Author's Club First Novel Award, a Betty Trask award. Her second novel, Starling Days, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. Her work has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic and the Paris Review among other places.

Mark Titchner Headshot Mark Titchner Headshot

Mark Titchner

Mark Titchner’s (b. 1973, Luton, UK) work involves an exploration of the tensions between the different belief systems that inform our society, be they religious, scientific or political. During the early stages of Lockdown he produced the project ‘Please believe these days will pass’. Poster and billboard versions of this artwork appeared in hundreds of sites in cities around the UK. 

Simon EnglishSimon English

Simon English

Simon English lives and works in London. He emerged on the London Art scene in 1994 with an exhibition of paintings at the Saatchi Gallery as part of Young British Art III. He has become best known for his large and small-scale works on paper, often described as painted drawings and referred to as “diaries of the subconscious.”

Keith ClapsonKeith Clapson

Keith Clapson

Keith Clapson is Trustee of Friends of the Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit at Bethlem Hospital, volunteers for Bethlem and Stonewall, and is a developing ceramic artist. In 2017 Keith spent four months in SLaM’s Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit at Bethlem undergoing life changing therapy, and in the process re-discovered his passion for art.

Professor Irene Tuffrey-WijneProfessor Irene Tuffrey-Wijne

Professor Irene Tuffrey-Wijne

Professor Irene Tuffrey-Wijne is Chair of the PCPLD Network; Professor of Intellectual Disability & Palliative Care, Kingston & St George's University of London. She is an acclaimed author with publications including pictorial resources from Books Beyond Words to support people with intellectual disabilities (and their families and carers) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pennie AstonPennie Aston

Pennie Aston

Pennie Aston is a writer, key-note speaker, counsellor, motivational coach, trainer and clinical supervisor specialising in addressing the emotional repercussions of Dyslexia. Penny is the creator of the Dyslexia Aware Counselling and Coaching Approach, is dyslexic herself and has raised a dyslexic family.

Keda BamberKeda Bamber

Keda Bamber

“Keda Bamber is a young advertising creative, starting out in the industry and looking for her next creative project. She grew up in Spain, moved to the UK aged 18 and graduated from university last year. Now she’s working on her digital illustrations and learning how to skateboard.

Ruby Wax OBE Ruby Wax OBE

Ruby Wax OBE

City Lit Fellow Rubvy Wax OBE is Frazzled Cafe Founder and Patron. Ruby has studied psychotherapy and gained her Master’s Degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from Oxford University. These days she promotes understanding of the brain and campaigns for greater mental health awareness and destigmatization.