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The Ambassadorship provided me with the skills and confidence to work with social impact organisations, policy makers and communities - the experience was unmatched for leadership development.

Zakiya McKenzie is a PhD candidate with the Leverhulme Trust-supported Caribbean Literary Heritage project at the University of Exeter researching Black British journalism in the post-war period. Zakiya is a writer and storyteller and was the 2019 writer-in-residence for Forestry England during its centenary year. In Bristol, she is a volunteer at Ujima Community Radio station and was one of the first two founding Black & Green Ambassadors in 2016, who received funding, support and training to support their leadership development and to:

  • conduct community research and projects to encourage stronger dialogue and engagement across diverse communities on issues of environment and equality;
  • create media projects and monthly radio shows, share learnings, showcase best practice, and champion inclusive, diverse projects on local, national and international platforms; and
  • engage with organisations and institutions in the city to constructively challenge and influence how decisions are made, to ensure a voice for marginalised communities.

Zakiya regularly leads nature, art and writing workshops, including one on Caribbean storytelling for primary schools. Her work has featured at the Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol, the Institute for Modern Languages Research at the University of London, the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, the Free Word Centre, at Cheltenham Literature Festival, on BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Farming Today and Inside Out West. She has written for Smallwoods Magazine, the Willowherb Review and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

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Engaging communities in Easton and Lawrence Hill in the medium of photography to tell their own stories about the environment.

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Diverse Natures

Co-creation of ways to better engage and encourage diverse audiences to connect with nature.

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