November 5, 2021

Salon: Bringing Lived Experience into Tv & Film

“Drama impacts us on an emotional level. It enables us to walk in the shoes of another person and understand their reality in a way factual programmes do not” — Sir Lenny Henry and Marcus Ryder MBE, Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond

Counterpoints Arts invites TV/film creators and producers, storytellers, funders and narrative change makers to join us in this intimate online networking event to explore opportunities to create change within the UK entertainment sector. 

The PopChange Salon Series — presented by Counterpoints Arts’ Popchange initiative — arecurated exchanges with change makers, storytellers and the entertainment industry to explore opportunities for harnessing pop culture for real social change. Hosted by K Biswas (The Race Beat), and building from the recent New Brave World report (Sachrajda & Zukowska, 2021), the Salon Series focuses on areas with momentumfor narrative change in the UK — TV/film, gaming and comedy — with particular reference to themes of racial justice, migration and displacement.

The third in the series — Bringing Lived Experience into TV and Film — highlights inspiring case studies from US and UK content producers making impact in commercial TV/film, particularly around migrant and refugee narratives. We ask: how does lived experience get into the writer’s room? How best to nurture emerging talent from non-traditional routes? How do we make entertainment, not just with, but by and led fromlife experience?


  • Anu Henriques, Associate Director on the film Rocks — an award-winning film produced with and featuring young people in London — and helped set up We Are Bridge — offering aftercare and legacy support for new, emerging talent.
  • Hassan AkkadConsultant to Channel 4’s Home — a comedy centring a Syrian refugee — Netflix’s upcoming ‘The Swimmers’ and Obama’s Higher Ground production of Exit West featuring Riz Ahmed. He is Co-Director to Netflix’s Convergence: Courage in a Crisis.
  • Sameer GardeziAward-winning comedy writer and Executive Producer of East of La Brea — a scripted comedy about two Muslim American friends, produced as part of Break the Room Media — an innovative writer’s room incubator he co-founded.

Hosted by K Biswas (Biz), cultural critic and Founder, The Race Beat 

If you are interested in joining the discussion, please register your interest below (if you have any problems with the form, please email