Anwar Akhtar, Director, born in Manchester, to Pakistani parents and spent his junior years working on his dad’s market stalls selling jumpers and T shirts. He was Chief Executive of the Cultural Industries Development Agency (CIDA) and spent three years as Director of Rich Mix, an arts and cultural centre in East London and ten years working as a DJ and Club promoter in Sheffield. He graduated in social studies at Sheffield Hallam University and was a fellow on the Clore leadership programme in 2004. He came up with the idea of The Samosa with John Pandit at a party in Hoxton.
Rima Saini, Associate Editor, has a degree in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a strong academic background in subaltern studies and the issues relating to global minorities and marginalised groups. As a postgraduate student studying political science, she inculcated a keen interest in feminist critiques of contemporary political theory that eventually formed the basis of her dissertation. She is currently working as a researcher in communications and had a stint writing for the independent fact-checking organisation Full Fact after some time spent travelling around North India, which is, undoubtedly in her opinion, one of the most beautiful locations on earth.
Muhammad Naveed Alam, Associate Editor
A multi-lingual journalist with experience of news gathering and reporting in both the UK and Pakistan, both print and broadcast media. Wide ranging knowledge of global affairs, with a special interest in Pakistan and ‘War on Terror’. Unified media Club of Pakistan awarded him young Journalist award in 2010. He worked in the newsroom at Express News, one of the leading news channels of Pakistan.He also worked as a reporter on the weekly newspaper UKTIME covering a range of social and political issues of interest to a Pakistani audience. Currently he is studying International Journalism at Brunel University London. Twitter @needs99.
Henna Butt, Associate Editor Arts section
Henna, Arts & Culture Editor, is particularly interested in literature that touches on themes of feminism, migration and globalisation and is a regular contributor on feminist literature site, For Books’ Sake. She holds a BA in History and Politics from SOAS and MSc in Global Politics from Royal Holloway, University of London. Henna is currently working on the expansion of restaurant business, The Bear*House Diner, which she set up with her brother in 2012. This follows her completion of the social enterprise leadership programme, OnPurpose in 2012 during which she worked with Comic Relief and The Shaftesbury Partnership. A fan of words, she holds her hands up to occasionally using entirely too many of them. Twitter: @hennabutt
John Newbigin, patron, works as a freelance journalist, and a strategic consultant for the cultural industries. Previously Channel 4 Television Head of Corporate Relations and special adviser to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Smith MP. Previous jobs included working as an executive for David Puttnam’s film company Enigma (1992-97), Policy Adviser to Neil Kinnock, then leader of the Labour party (1986-92), journalist and youth worker.
Nayha Kalia, contributor, studied journalism at the University of Sheffield after being awarded a bursary by the Scott Trust. She has written news, features and travel articles for student, regional and national media including the Guardian and Times of India. She has also worked on documentaries about religion, international corruption and development with two award winning production companies; Crescent Films and Guardian Films. She currently works for the BBC.
Samia Mir, contributor, is an award-winning multi-media journalist. She has worked for the BBC, The Guardian and Bradford’s Telegraph & Argus. Saima grew up in Bradford and went to school in the heart of Manningham. She has worked on many national stories and is one of the few journalists to have interviewed the families of the London Tube bombers. She is a recipient of the Commonwealth Broadcast Association’s World View Award and will be reporting from Pakistan over the coming months.
John Pandit, contributor, AKA Pandit G. Founder member, DJ and beats controller of Asian Dub Foundation and the Asian Dub Foundation sound system. John is also a Trustee of The Rich Mix Cultural Foundation.
Jane Barnwell, contributor, teaches Film & Broadcast Production at London Metropolitan University, and is also a designer for film, television and theatre. In 2004 she published her first book, Production Design: Architects of the screen by Wallflower Press. Since 2006, she has published many articles and interviews for the magazine The Scenographer International Journal of Production & Costume Design. Jane has recently completed the book The Fundamentals of Film Making by AVA publishing.
Qalandar Bux Memon, contributor, was born in North London to Pakistani parents. He spent most of his summers back in his ancestral village in Sindh, Pakistan. He holds a BA in Economics, Politics and History, an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Comparative Politics. He has studied at the London School of Economics, Birkbeck University and McGill University. While studying he worked in the British Film industry and holds a diploma in Cinematography. Along with the now dissolved Postanalytic group he founded Naked Punch magazine. The magazine is run by a collective of artists, philosophers and poets and takes an interdisciplinary approach to age-old questions of philosophical, social, artistic and political life. Since 2006 he has been the editor of Naked Punch and since 2007 of Bol magazine in Pakistan. To partake in the lawyers’ movement he relocated to Lahore, Pakistan in 2007. He lectures in Political Philosophy at Forman Christian College, Lahore, and was active in the lawyers’ movement. He works for the Labour Party of Pakistan.
Secunder Kermani is a multimedia journalist who has worked for the BBC, Channel 4 News, Bloomberg Television and the award-winning independent production company Crescent Films. He has produced a number of major investigative exclusives including uncovering evidence of the rape and torture of political prisoners in Iran following the disputed 2009 elections for Channel 4. He was also formerly the anchor of Islam Channel News.
Masood Hasan has a Masters in English Literature and a 40 year career spanning media, communications and writing. He heads one of Pakistan’s top flight ad agencies Publicis. He has published a book of his columns and is also the host of a weekly jazz show Allthatjazz on a nationwide fm radio network. He is married to Dr. Ira Hasan, one of Pakistan’s celebrated Shakespearean scholars who currently heads the Language & Literature Department at BNU, Pakistan’s first liberal arts university. The Hasans live in Lahore and have two sons.
Saeed Khalique, patron Saeed is the Managing Director of Alma, a London based, interiors and design house. He is an active philanthropist, supporting welfare and education projects both in Pakistan and the UK.
Paaras Abbas, contributor, is a London-based writer, artist and photographer. She is an aspiring journalist and is currently studying Social Anthropology at SOAS. Her interests include South Asian and Middle Eastern politics, black and white photos, current affairs, modern art, Harold Pinter, comics and stepping on crunchy leaves.
Usman Zafar, contributor, is a Current Affairs Producer for Express Television Pakistan. He is currently completing his Masters in Political Sociology from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Christina Rebel, contributor, has a strong background in International Political Economy, having graduated with a BA in Politics and International Relations and an MA in Social and Global Justice. She is passionate about women empowerment, local agency and environmental sustainability. She has worked in New Delhi for Asia Floor Wage, a garment worker movement spanning several Asian countries for a decent living wage and the right to association. In her opinion, if she were to lead a life of campaigning and writing to promote justice and empathy, it would be a fulfilled one. You can follow Christina on twitter @chrmoment.
Emanuelle Degli Esposti, contributor, is a freelance journalist who has worked for The Economist, The New Statesman and The Telegraph, among others. Her background is in Political Theory and Languages, with an emphasis on the Middle East, and she has recently assumed the role of MENA Editor for online journalism project, Not on the Wires. Born in Italy, raised in Australia and settled in England, her recent travels have included Syria, Morocco, Russia and India.
Marianne Landzettel, contributor, is a broadcast journalist working for the BBC World Service and former correspondent for German Public Radio. Her main focus is news and current affairs with a keen interest (and a long track record) in South Asia. She has travelled widely in the region, in particular in India, and done numerous long and short format programmes on Pakistan, India and the lives of British Asians in the UK. Her other area of interest and research are agriculture, food, food security and rural life. And she loves reading – from Exploding Mangoes to A Sea of Poppies.
Sayalee Karkare is a freelance multi-media journalist and an independent researcher from Mumbai. She has a BA in Politics, Anthropology and Literature from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and an Erasmus Mundus Master’s in Global Studies from the London School of Economics and the University of Leipzig. Her current interests are food, film and farming.