Meet the GAP Contest Judges
The 2020 GAP Contest Judges – meet the Galaxy Art Project Contest Judges, drawn from the Luton community are all leading members of the local community with a variety of skills, talent and experience.
The Galaxy Art Project Art Contest
The Galaxy Art Project Writing Contest
manager – The Galaxy, Luton
Bashir was Born in Nairobi, Kenya before moving to Luton in 1974, where he has resided ever since. He went to Rotheram High School, Luton Sixth Form College and finally to university to study Leisure and Recreational studies.
Bashir worked at Vauxhall and the Post Office and then worked for Islington Council for 12 years managing their leisure centres.
Bashir was the first manager to manage The Galaxy when it first opened after that he went on to manage shopping centres around the country including Birmingham, Newmarket, London, Dunstable and Nuneaton. He spent one year in Kenya managing a large Mall there before returning to Luton and became the manager of The Galaxy once again.
Bashir loves playing sports, he plays cricket for Luton Town & Indians Cricket club and plays Hockey for Vauxhall HC.
Bashir also helps the Kokni community Luton (Registered Charity) on a regular basis.
community engagement coordinator
Jacqui Harding is a mum of three and a grandmother to five, who started her working life in a bank, until her five year old wanted to try making carnival costumes. From there she caught the bug and joined a carnival band in Luton, which became very successful.
Over the past 30 years Jacqui has been involved with Carnival. Starting with running a local carnival band, then moving onto running the Mas Camp as the technician.
In 2002 Jacqui took over the planning of the Luton International Carnival Parade with over 2000 people taking part and over 100k watching. She also teaches carnival arts specializing in headdress making and lantern making.
Jacqui has run many big events in Luton, including Luton Mela, Ghana African Festival, Colour of Time, with over 20k people at each event. She has been a judge for different events, fashion exhibitions and carnivals including Hackney for the past 3 years.
Over the past few years Jacqui has been a community engagement coordinator for Museum Makers who are volunteers for the museum. She also programme’s theatre and workshops in the museum.
Jacqui has a passion for art and music and that can come in many forms.
Editor – BlackBright News
Myrna Loy, Dip C (Inst. NH), was born in England of Jamaican parents and is a product and living example of how the arts facilitated her growth & development.
Loy paints from her imagination, which is quite rare these days, and her paintings tend to have a futuristic quality.
Loy is the Publisher and Managing Editor of Blackbright News, which the first of its kind published in Luton that serves people of colour. Loy is also a qualified Counsellor and teacher of Adult Literacy. As an extension of her teaching, Loy has been vlogging on YouTube, under the banner of Blackbright News and currently has just under 10,000 subscribers.
Myrna moved to Luton in October 1999, after living in the United States for 11 years and Luanda (Angola) for one year.
Myrna is the author of Spirit of Queens (2016) Poetry’s Promise (2011), which is an intimate insight into the author’s personal life; Poetry’s Teacher (2010), which shares her practical life experiences and The Other Side of Tourism, which is a travelogue published in 2006, that highlights the author’s prejudices and conflict as a Briton examining her Jamaican roots. This novelette has been endorsed by Lord Ouseley (House of Lords), Dianne Abbot (House of Commons) and Patricia Lashley (Momentum Arts, Cambridge) who wrote an extensive review on The Other Side of Tourism.
Myrna has been called ‘the creative cauldron’ because of her many creative facets, i.e., poet, visual artist, DJ, Magazine Publisher, Vlogger and published author.
Issues of Black-Bright News, can located at www.issuu.com/blackbrightnews, and can be downloaded for free.
UK, America, Jamaica and Africa’s life lessons have prepared Myrna for where she is today, honing in on every aspect she has learned by being a Project Manager, a UN diplomat, an HR Officer in Angola, Logistics & Procurement officer, secretary, filing clerk, a writer, a poet and a painter to create, produce, market and publish and re-establish herself in the realm of social influencing.
Myrna Loy (aka Lady Loy)’s past-time on the last Friday of the month, is an honorary radio DJ/Presentor for Loversrock Radio (www.loversrockradio.com) and has been presenting on radio since 2008.
Writer / Performer
Lee was born and shaped in Luton, went away for a while then came back to live, work and raise a family. UTTER! Lutonia, the poetry and spoken-word and music and literature and anything goes event he curates and hosts has it’s roots in Lee’s own ‘make-your-own-fun’ growing-up experiences and Luton and extends through more than two decades of professional practice as a writer, performer, workshopper and event producer.
Notable achievments include performing to multiple thousands at Luton’s epic PeoplePowerPassion event and being the poet who, as part of the Factory Reset event with Tangled Feet Theatre Company, helped to reopen Luton’s Hat Factory venue. His own work is a blend of craft, passion, anger and humour and he is looking forward to seeing what the writers of Luton have to offer in this exciting competition.
Author & Poet
Sapphira Olson is the pen name of author and poet Sapphira Olson French. Born in Cornwall she now lives in Luton. Faithfully LGBT, she is a trans woman with six published novels, including An Android Awakes, Fictional Alignment and The Dandelion Trilogy.
Nominated for the Galaxy British Book Awards and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, she has been a senior editor of The View From Here literary magazine and has interviewed authors such as Julian Barnes, Iain Banks and Markus Zusak.
She also has a short story collection published by Elsewhen Press called Parables which was born out of her experiences and deconstruction and ‘escape’ from a strict evangelical church. Stanley Park was her first collection of poetry, which was a surprise to her, The Girl in the Garden even more so.
When not writing she loves spending time in the countryside and enjoys watching Audrey Hepburn movies and listening to Dido and Caravan Palace.
Find her on twitter: https://twitter.com/SapphiraOlson