Words of Colour is committed to facilitating and inspiring writers and creatives of colour to fully express their authentic selves, and developing new, inclusive models of creativity, entrepreneurship and wellbeing to allow their voices and ideas to shine – and be heard.
Our work is collaborative and non-hierarchical. We turn ideas into practical solutions. We believe in cultivating writers, artists and creatives, and developing sustainable relationships to make social impact. This also extends to the clients we work with. We also act as an independent broker, informing and advising commissioners, agents, editors and journalists of exciting writers of colour not on their radars.
Words of colour is a vibrant, creative organisation that provides professional development and nutures and promotes emerging writers of colour. I won its short story competition and have since attended their workshops and events aimed at showcasing digital awareness as well as self promotion and book launches for emerging writers. It’s an invaluable resource for myself and many other writers of colour who have looked for support and publication without success. Due to the help I got from Words of Colour, I had to confidence to go on to win the Wasafiri International Short Story Prize, pursue an MA in Creative Writing and have my first book published.
Ola Awonubi, winner, Wasafiri International Short Story Prize 2007
As our vision is underpinned by our desire to reshape the single narrative, which often excludes, minimises or disregards the stories of people and communities of colour, we realise that we have to develop organically, with purpose, to be impactful.
Honing this adaptability, without losing our core vision, enables us to carve out development time to allow projects to breathe and be considered. This process also facilitates our own personal and professional growth and relevance and is essential as we operate in varied and often face-paced environments. As a result, we work in an intuitive way, rooted in experience, which not only challenges our thinking, but that of our participants, partners and clients.
Words of Colour have engaged regularly with the Royal Court Theatre for the last seven years, profiling, interviewing and promoting BAME playwrights across much of our programme. Words of Colour’s content always offers a thoughtful and quality exploration of our work. Joy Francis, executive director of Words of Colour, has spoken at events at the theatre, with us calling on her for her particular expertise. As well as offering advice to BAME writers, Joy’s work provides a crucial platform for those starting out in the theatre industry. I have supported Words of Colour’s cultural inclusivity work as well as its Digital Women UK initiative, all of which is a testament to Joy’s pioneering vision. We are thrilled to be looking at our future relationship.
Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre
We appreciate that words and narratives not only have a home within traditional writing industries, but also in ‘un-literary’ environments, which impact on people’s everyday lives, such as health, social care and legal spaces.
This is why we film, audio and/or photograph our events and activities, where possible, to show future generations the variety of lives, stories and experiences that exist and thrive beyond the mainstream.
Rainbow Noir and Words Of Colour collaborated on the Words of Colour Black Love Project. This involved gathering LGBT black people for a focus group and a filming session to contribute to the project’s content. These opportunities provided a chance for LGBT black people from the North of England (where Rainbow Noir is based) to share their life stories, opinions and thoughts on black love – narratives which are often missing from wider discussions on black love.
Chloe, Voluntary Organiser, Rainbow Noir: A Social & Peer Support Group For LGBTQI People Of Colour
Our goal is to keep moving forward, leaving seeds of creativity, empathy and passion along the path for the next generation of activists and visionaries.