Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker WINNER – Zerritha Brown

Previously as Senior Producer, and now as Brent 2020 Legacy Manager, Zerritha has been championing culture in Brent and the Council for over a decade ever since leading Brent’s Cultural Olympiad programme. Her work has always been rooted in community engagement, supporting local grass roots artists, and putting audiences at the heart of artistic programming.

As a result, Zerritha has been selected as the winner of Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker in the 2022 Hearts for the Arts Awards. In the words of our judges, here’s why:

Zerritha has a unique gift of putting communities at the heart of her work. No Bass Like Home sounds like a truly beautiful project drawing upon Brent’s rich heritage. Championing the black community at such a time has created a sense of pride by telling untold stories through music to a wider audience. Zerritha ensures that arts are visible across the entire organisation. Andy Dawson: Inspire Youth Arts, winner of the 2021 HFTA award for Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker

Zerritha Brown is an impressive person who has worked very hard to champion the cultural history and presence of the local community, and who responded sensitively to the new demands of the pandemic (for example – by putting No Bass Like Home online; and liaising compassionately with emergency grant recipients). Zerritha’s socially engaged cultural programme seems effective and dynamic, and her work with the Brent artist network and her lead on the Creative Alliance should be praised. Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason: author, speaker and supporter of music education

A brilliant nomination. I know Brent well, having grown up on its border and know that, at a glance, it can seem like a melting pot but the understanding, effort and vision Zerritha clearly has, has been needed to bind different communities in Brent together and create the community feel that goes beyond the doorstep. No wonder Raheem Stirling wore his #boyfrombrent hashtag with such pride during the Euros! Shaparak Khorsandi: stand-up comedian, writer, all round delight

At a time when all arts organisations are talking about diversity and inclusivity, Zerritha has clearly managed to create real, meaningful change, using arts projects to facilitate an open dialogue between the council and black communities. I have huge respect for her passion for giving voice to those who have been marginalised. It’s also brilliant to read that Zerritha has managed to embed the creative arts into the day-to-day priorities of her colleagues in different sectors. Anna Lapwood: organist, conductor and broadcaster

It is clear Zerritha lives and breathes her work. She demonstrates a deep understanding of how music, the arts and culture can truly effect people’s everyday lives and sense of community and as a result the programmes she has supported and enabled have had real impact on real lives. Deborah Meaden: businesswoman and TV Dragon

I wish I’d seen and heard No Bass Like Home, both because it has one of the best titles of anything I’ve ever heard of, and because it sounds raucous. Zerritha’s support for those grant recipients fighting to understand our new reality in the last few years and her incredible passion are clearly quite quite wonderful.  Jack Thorne: screenwriter and playwright 

It’s ten years since the Brent Cultural Olympiad, but Zerritha Brown shows no signs of slowing down. In fact she’s clearly at the height of her powers. The handling of culture fund projects in a pandemic is exceptionally sensitive; it’s a tribute to Zerritha’s skill that both sides emerged with their relationship not just intact, but strengthened. Every great project needs a great producer to make it flower; Zerritha’s leadership of No Bass Like Home was exemplary. Her belief in the power of art to inspire a community runs through everything she doesSamuel West: actor, director, trustee of the National Campaign for the Arts

Read more about Zerritha Brown’s nomination here

Zerritha Brown. Photo Credit – Roy Mehta

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