NISHA TANDON OBE
Founder & Executive Director
Nisha is a social entreprenuer, founder & director of ArtsEkta - one of the only organisations on the island of Ireland promoting ethnic arts, culture and heritage. She founded this organisation in 2006 following two decades of experience in the arts and after discovering a critical gap for quality ethnic arts engagement in the sector. She holds a degree from the National School of Drama in New Delhi and is a trained Bharatanatyam Indian classical dancer. Nisha was former member of the executive board of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland by appointment from the Minister for Communities, and is also a member of the Intercultural Arts Steering Group which oversees the implementation of the Intercultural Arts Strategy developed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. In addition, member of Belfast City Council's Festival Forum strategy sub group and is Northern Ireland representative for Voluntary Arts BAME Advisory UK Panel. Nisha is a founding member of 'Stronger Together', a collaboration of organisations working in the field of racial equality to support an integrated community development approach to tackling racism, promoting good relations, sharing & exchanging information, experience and knowledge towards achieving rights based interdependent integration. She has also been a trustee of Cahoots NI Theatre Company, Community Arts Forum, and the European Mela Network and a member of UTV's Regional Advisory Board.
From 2002-2005, she was the driving force behind the development of the Indian Community Centre, leading the integration of the Indian community through creating a regional hub for Indian arts, culture and heritage, and in 2007 initiated Northern Ireland's first multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary arts festival Belfast Mela now attracting annual audiences of up to 30,000 people. At the early stages of her career, she worked across different roles in the private sector and as a freelance artist. Over the last decade she has developed ArtsEkta from a voluntary initiative run from her home to one of Northern Ireland's leading and most recognised arts charities. In 2013, she developed a new trading subsidiary 'Ekta Events' to underpin the sustainability of ArtsEkta and is currently developing new commercial models to drive the growth of the charity.
In June 2014, Nisha was the first Asian women from Northern Ireland to be awarded the prestigious UK Asian Women of Achievement Award for contribution to arts and culture, and later that month was awarded an OBE for services to the minority ethnic sector in the 2014 Queen's Honours List. In 2015, Nisha won the British Indian Award for 'Indian Spirit in the Community' presented by Trade Next and BDO. Nisha has also been awarded the Chief Officers Third Sector award for Leading Growth & Innovation.
Krishan has worked Northern Ireland’s arts and cultural sector almost a decade following graduating with a undergraduate degree in Accountancy and masters degree in Management at Queens University Belfast. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Krishan joined ArtsEkta in 2009 and after working for some time across the arts and cultural sector in London, he took up position as Project Manager for the company in 2015. In 2010, he was selected as part of Belfast Media Group's Top 40 under 40 celebrating those that contribute to the social, economic and political life of Belfast.
Krishan is currently working on the development and production of large scale participatory creative arts projects, events and festivals, particularly in the outdoor arts sector. He works as producer of the Belfast Mela - the largest festival of world cultures in Ireland. In 2015 he was responsible for co producing one of the largest outdoor theatre events ever to take place in Belfast - 'Nine Nights'.
Working across a variety of dynamic roles, skills include devising project frameworks, fundraising/securing investment leads, cultural programming and marketing / audience development to production, budget management and tailored evaluation for key stakeholders. He also assists with the wider strategic development of arts, cultural, heritage and tourism organisations through corporate and business planning, developing robust, sustainable partnerships and delivering general and specific marketing initiatives that connects a company's programme of work to its stakeholders.
Finance & Administration Officer
Deirdre is an experienced administrator working on a range of funded programmes within the community and voluntary sector for over 10 years. Following a degree in Economics she completed training in manual and computerised bookkeeping with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. She previously worked as the Administrator for the Together For You project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aimed at delivering mental health and wellbeing services to a range of people across Northern Ireland and more recently as the Office Co-ordinator for a community development charity based in Belfast.
Deirdre provides finance and administration support to the Executive Director, Board of Directors and Programme Officers of ArtsEkta and Ekta Events.
AOIFE NIC AN TSAOIR
Outreach & Engagement Officer
Aoife has worked Northern Ireland’s arts and cultural sector for the last eight years following graduating from University of Ulster in 2009. Before joining the ArtsEkta team in April 2017 Aoife worked as Tourist Officer for Cultúrlann and as Project Manager of the Creative Belfast Farset Project. She has worked on community based arts, cultural and social history projects and is also a freelance Arts Facilitator specializing in children’s workshops. Aoife was the Pop-Up shop manager for Rita Duffy’s Thaw Factory exhibition at Féile an Phobal 2014. Aoife is a Director of social enterprise company ’Bí Gaelach’ and runs her own Irish language stationary business, ‘Déanta ag Belfast Belle’.
Nabeela graduated from Bradford University in Community Studies with Social & Public Policy and after which she completed a research project funded by the Kings Fund based in Huddersfield exploring the mental health needs and facilities available for the south Asian community and the African/Caribbean communities that lived in the area. From there she developed the Sheffield Community Access and Interpreting Service which is now based in the Public Health Department and is one of the largest interpreting and translation services in Yorkshire. Nabeela worked with the the South Asian community in Wakefield as community services manager and then with the Primary Care Trust as a community health development manager and ultimately ended up working for Wakefield local authority managing their interpreting and translating service. During her time in Yorkshire she was chair of DIVA (Development Initiative for Voluntary Arts) and sat as a Non-Executive Director for Wakefield Primary Care Trust as Vice Chair. In 2011, Nabeela moved home to Belfast where she worked as community development worker in the Dunmurry area with the BME community and has been extensively involved in cross community work. Before becoming employed with ArtsEkta she worked as a freelance facilitator for our One World Day programme focusing on cultural awareness on Pakistan and Islam.
Project Officer - Peace IV
Julie has worked in the community sector for the past twenty-five years in both a paid and voluntary capacity. Prior to joining the Artsekta staff team, Julie was a community development worker with An Munia Tober, supporting the Irish Traveller community. She has been involved with the West Against Racism Network for many years and has a robust history of working with and supporting the Black and Ethnic Minority Community, including the Philipino community, the Islamic Centre, Al Nisa Women’s Group, the Indian community and the Baha’i community. She has been on the Boards of TEO Equality Sub Group, West Belfast Access Group, the Federation of Community Work Training Groups and the Employment Services Board.