Our Staff

Bilkis Malek, Director

Bilkis is the founding Director of Transculturalvisions. She is also leading the research strand for Singing Cultures.

Bilkis has 20 years experience in the areas of race and diversity spanning policy development, training, casework, consultancy and academic research.

Bilkis graduated from Kingston University with a Bsc (Hons) in Sociology and completed her MPhil in Cultural Studies at Middlesex University. She worked as a Race Equality Officer for three years for Barking & Dagenham Racial Equality Council. She then held a research studentship at the British Film Institute and Middlesex University including part-time lecturing on the undergraduate Cultural Studies programme.

As a freelance consultant Bilkis has led a number of initiatives for various organisations. She was the Managing Consultant to deliver a programme to improve diversity within the monitoring and recruitment practices of Independent Monitoring Boards of prisons in England and Wales. She led an Arts Council and GLA initiative to improve diversity within the boards of mainstream arts organisations (including Rambert Dance Company, Spitalfields Festival, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tricycle Theatre, The Photographers’ Gallery, and Action Space). Bilkis has also undertaken consultancy work for Merton Council – to define remit and structure of a new Race Equality Partnership; The Listening Zone – to promote mental health services amongst black and minority ethnic communities; and Kingston Council – to involve local communities in the development of council services.

Bilkis’ published essays on culture and identity include ‘Rethinking Segregation’ for Issue 34 of Soundings; ‘Not Such Tolerant Times’ for the book Young Britain; ‘A Game of Two Halves’ for Issue 10 of Soundings; and ‘South Asian Femininity at Home on the ‘English’ Seaside’ for the book Revisions of Englishness.

Bilkis has held several non-executive posts. She has been a trustee of the Spitalfields Festival; a member of the Independent Monitoring Board of Brixton prison; a trustee of the Amiel Melburn Trust; and a governor of Barking College.

Juwon Ogungbe, Associate Artist

Juwon is a composer, singer, pianist and bandleader. He is leading the artistic strand for Singing Cultures.

Juwon was born in London to Nigerian parents. His early education was in Nigeria and the UK, where he studied voice and composition both privately and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Placing African music at the heart of his work, Juwon also incorporates pop, jazz and classical music into his expressive range.

Juwon’s choral projects include a choir of prisoners at HMP Wormwood Scrubs; Initiation Songs performed by 1000 London schoolchildren at the Royal Festival Hall; Oriki composed for Lontano and Vox Simba; and Time and the Trickster’s Heart for The London Lucumi Choir. Juwon is leader of The Vocal Ensemble of Africa.

Juwon’s theatre compositions have been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the BBC, South Bank Centre, Union Dance and Lontano amongst many others. In 2008 a New York Theatre Company commissioned one of his earlier RSC musical theatre pieces for Broadway.

Juwon has undertaken education projects for the Horniman Museum, Africa Centre, English Pocket Opera, and Sinfonia ViVA amongst others. He has been an artist in residence at the V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green and at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Richmond, Virginia in 2012/13.

Juwon’s debut album Life Force Music was released in 2012.