Born in India, Jaya moved to Britain and raised three lovely children. She was a Rudolph Steiner teacher, with an interest in healthy cooking! She was an activist most of her life, with a deep yearning to see this underpinned by a spiritual path. She was heavily involved in the peace movement in the 1970s and 1980s and travelled widely, including to Australia and Madagascar. She was always a strong advocate on anti-racist and gender issues. In more recent years Jaya helped bring together different strands of Buddhism through the Manchester Buddhist Convention where people have had the opportunity to share core beliefs.
Jaya joined Southern Voices in 1992 where she has not only acted as coordinator, but proved an inspiration to many. She effectively articulated the case for Southern perspectives over many years, wrote journal articles and encouraged the development of challenging new projects, including the current Out of the Shadows initiative. In 2016, Jaya sadly passed away. Jaya has left a powerful legacy in the continued educational work of Southern Voices.
Kooj (Kuljit) Chuhan
Kooj is a digital media artist, film maker, curator and creative producer. He has worked with international artists yet also with many communities and was a senior manager at Community Arts North West. His company Metaceptive develops digital art, film and media connecting with social justice, environment, history and diversity.
His creative work often explores migrant perspectives within historical, global and local contexts. He lectured in filmmaking for 8 years and has exhibited and screened across the UK and internationally. He served on the board for FACT (Foundation for Arts & Creative Technology) and gained an award for pioneering digital arts work connecting refugees with climate change.
Kooj founded a number of groups and organisations including Virtual Migrants artists collective; he pioneered the video-dialogues method at Manchester Museum for co-production with communities; and worked with eight museums and galleries to develop educational resources for a major project about Manchester’s links with transatlantic slavery.
Recent work includes the major Footprint Modulation exhibition exploring climate change, migration and global justice, devised, curated and managed by Kooj. Alongside his own interactive art work, the exhibition critically connected artists and cultural venues with researchers, activists, communities and documentary media to interrogate, expose, humanise and discuss the subject.
Ralph came to Manchester from the United States five decades ago. He retired in 2005 as a senior lecturer in Politics & International Relations at the University of Manchester. He has authored or co-authored articles on seven different African countries, including Nigeria, and has published materials on elections and democratization, administrative and local government reform, privatization in Africa, violence against women, and the politics of British aid under New Labour.
Rosalind (also known as Simmi by the project team) is an Independent Art Curator, who graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2014 with a MA in Contemporary Curating and previously a BA in Visual Theories in Italian Renaissance.
Rosalind first became involved with Southern Voices to curate From the Shadows of War and Empire exhibition at the People’s History Museum in 2015. Her interest to get involved stems from her Indian heritage and links to family members fighting in both World Wars for the British under colonial rule.
Rosalind joined the Management Committee of Southern Voices in February 2017; and sees Southern Voices as “a vital voluntary organisation is which perspectives that are often overlooked are discussed and explored with detail and authenticity.”
Susan Chieni Cookson
Susan joined Southern Voices in 2000 while pursuing her PhD in gender and education at the University of Manchester. Her research project was on factors affecting educational and career aspirations among secondary school girls in Kenya.
Prior to coming to the UK from Kenya, Susan was a high school teacher and left to pursue an MPhil degree in Sociology of Education; and was subsequently employed as a lecturer (1993 – 1999). In the UK, Susan has worked in education (teaching), quality assurance (Audit Commission) and social housing and the new energy sector of British Gas. She has been a volunteer with several organisations including Arawak Walton Housing Association and Bondo Fund in Manchester, and Cancer Help in Preston.
She has been involved with several Southern Voices projects with schools, museums and community groups and is currently a volunteer member of the management committee. Susan’s main role in the current project was researching East Africa and India.
Outside of work, Susan likes to spend time with family, dabble in a bit of gardening and also reading novels.
Washington is a school teacher. He also works (serious hobby) as a local analyst/researcher specialising in the African and Caribbean interests in Greater Manchester. He had a chapter in the book Knowledge and Culture; Crossing boundaries in histories and has contributed to several exhibitions and website projects. His specific areas of interest include history, culture, in migration on communities, environmental organization and displacement, cultural identities, Pan Africanism and local history among others. Washington’s research area was the West Indies as part of the Southern Voices’ project, Out of the Shadows.