WhatsAppen met Omena Ukeleghe

16-07-2020 (15:05) - Appen met

Het nieuwe netwerk Creative Jam Session (CJS) had negen maanden geleden een vliegende start in Amsterdam. Door de coronacrisis kwam het even stil te liggen. Tot nu. Het netwerk is opgericht door Omena Ukeleghe in samenwerking met We Are Pi. CJS organiseert maandelijks bijeenkomsten waarin professionals uit de creatieve industrie samen komen om te praten en ideeën uit te wisselen over onderwerpen als cultuur, identiteit, diversiteit en racisme. Ukeleghe omschrijft CJS als: ‘A family, friends and most importantly a support network’. We spraken haar via WhatsApp.

WhatsApp-status: Hey there! I am using WhatsApp.
Hi Omena! Ilja here from FONK
How are you? Busy I presume?
I’m good thanks. My kitten moved in yesterday evening.
Ahhh sweet
Nope all good I have the time off work. Yes he’s a cutie.
We are doing this interview in English, you are from the UK right?
Yes I’m from London.
Just wondering since your number is from the UK.
I live in AMS. Still have a UK number, haven’t made the transition to a job number. I will at some point...2 years later still on a U.K. number 
So 2 years here. If you prefer to chat in Dutch that is fine by me too.
I don’t speak a word of Dutch 
About Creative Jam Session. What a great initiative.
Thank you so much. 9 months and it’s amazing how it’s all blown up!
One of your first guests is the wonderful Sunny Jansen. Great lady.
She’s amazing! Met her through a friend and got to meet sunny in the flesh a few weeks ago. So honoured she agreed to be a part of the event.
Yes the CJS is the result of those nine months isn't it? How did it al start?
I started it after being dissatisfied with the lack of PoC (People of Colour) events in AMS. There’s not much clarity about these networks in AMS. You have to be in the know. Also most of the PoC/BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) networks didn’t have what I was looking for, which is why I decided I want to start my own network that appeals to like minded creative professionals.

I would love to come and check the session out. Is that possible, or is it for members only?
It’s for both members and non-members
With PoC events you mean in certain area's of expertise I presume?
That and the essence too! Our approach is informal and fun! We have 4 key drivers:
The key feedback from CJS members is that they walk through the door and instantly feel like they are a part of a family.... that’s how I want people to feel. That we are a family, friends and most importantly a support network. Thing is these networks exist...but you don’t hear/see unless you’re in the know. CJS has grown due to the fact it’s members and the CJS team spreading the word!
It is great that an initiative like this now existst here. Long overdue I think. 
I understand your reasoning, that you can feel free to talk about any subject.
I’ve never allowed that to stop me from speaking my mind I’ve learn through tough experiences that you should never let anyone stop you from speaking up and being authentically you! 
Now I speak my mind and be damned! My intentions and what I am doing is to support those who are alone and don’t know how to speak up!
Exactly. But in the Netherlands people can react very heavy sometimes. Which was visible the last weeks around BLM.
For sure! I was blown away at the demo on the 1 June. Standing there with 10,000 people saying enough is enough! No justice no peace!!! I cried with joy!

So the first session is the end of this month. Can you tell about about that?
Our first session started in November 2019. The event on the 26th is the 5 session. Covid meant our live sessions went on hold.
Can you tell us al bit about the subjects that were spoken about? in short ofcourse
Next Sunday there will be 6 amazing speakers who will share their thoughts, experiences, challenges and successes around the areas of:
Systematic and systemic racism
Racial inequality
Why is the creative industry not doing enough?
Allyship and what white people can do to support the voices of black people
And who will be the speakers?
Arthur kibblaar
Sunny Jansen
Nadine Ridder
Kieran Kenlock
Maxine Penney
Professor Paul Scheffer

If people are interested how can they contact CJS?
They can go to our Instagram, there’s an email tab in the bio.
Thank you very much for your time.
No worries my pleasure and see you next Sunday.
Yes see you the 26th! Very exited to hear everybody.
You’ll love it.... as I say to people... Come get your life!
And by the way... do you have a photo of your kitten? What is his/her name? Forgot to ask earlier.
BB, stands for Bad&Bougie. 

He’s a Scottish fold.
OMG what a cutie!
I’m obsessed