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Championing Diversity: Meet the LGBT+ Creative Leaders of Tomorrow

Whilst diversity in the Creative Industries is flourishing, there’s still tracks to be made towards equality and inclusivity for all. Discover fresh ideas from people changing perspectives for the better, as nominated by 8 creative icons from across the globe, brought together by WeTransfer and The Dots.

There’s many stones to step on towards gaining international equality, acceptance and safety, but movements towards this are relentless and tomorrow’s creative icons are making their cases heard. Meet the individuals shaping arts, design, tech, fashion and culture whilst championing inclusivity, as nominated by industry leaders; Tea Uglow, Kate Moross, Hello Mr, A Nasty Boy, Martin Firrell, The Nest, Matt Lambert and John Down.

In joining forces with WeTransfer and their editorial platform This Works , Creative Platform The Dots are celebrating creative diversity from across the globe to give rising stars the exposure they deserve.
By asking 8 LGBT+ leaders of today to nominate rising stars set to redefine creative space over the coming years, the project aims to inspire the next generation of LGBT+ creative leaders. Read on for these boundary pushing nominations, they will blow your mind with their work so far...

1. Tea Uglow

Tea is Google Creative Lab’s Creative Director, Sydney. She prefers her less formal title: 實驗負責人 'experimental person in charge'. The Lab is a combination of culture, tech and digital design, repped by a group of creatives dotted around the world. Tea directs at Google on ‘atypical creative projects’ confronting issues such as ‘doubt, reality, diversity (and biscuits)’. Tea announced her transition in 2016 (on stage at Sydney Writer’s Festival) and continues to support and inspire with projects such as #Transvoices. Follow Tea’s journey.
Tea’s nominations:
Hana Tanimura “I love Hana’s work”. Tea’s first nomination works at Google Creative Lab London and uses her slick, raw design talents to approach issues such as digital gender gaps in India and the lack of technology to support refugees in times of crises. You can read more about Hana’s creative process on WeTransfer’s editorial platform This Works. Keep up with Hana’s journey here. Nosa Eke “is made of awesome”. The upcoming digital creative/filmmaker/web series director/ producer/writer/jack of all trades from South London is an avid believer in the possibilities that come with the accessibility of technology and uses her creativity and personal experiences to reclaim the idea of #whatisnormal. Follow Nosa’s next steps. Prumsodun Ok (pictured) “is the Cambodian dancer who is revolutionising and refreshing classical Khmer dance with LGBT interpretations”. Tea’s third nomination burns bright with their contributions in choreography, directing, writing, teaching and all round positive energy-giving to the world. Prumsodun is a TED Senior Fellow and has a book ‘Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso’ described by scholars as a ritual to all teachers ever and an offering to the Goddess of the Ocean herself. Move with Prumsodun’s progress here.

2. Kate Moross

Kate Moross is the pop at the end of a bright bubble of gum, harvesting an energy that infects all, whether through her general aura or via her design, art direction, branding, commercials and more. Since 2008, Kate’s colourful presence and work has influenced the creative world and there’s no signs of stopping, what with the success of ‘Studio Moross’. Amongst winning awards, running a studio and revelling in rainbow trainers, Kate gave some time to talk 3 outstanding creatives:
Kate’s Nominations: Peggy Noland “whose medium is clothing, Peggy is a curator who uses her unique DIY sculptural storefronts to sell and celebrate art and fashion pieces, fanzines and records made by the Wacky Wacko extended family.” Much like Kate, Peggy is a huge influencer. Her dauntless approach has led to the page invasion of WWD, Elle Japan, Dazed, Vogue and Rolling Stone, as well as Rihanna and Miley’s coathangers. Her ‘gutter-punk’ addict x consumerist x LA insp pieces, sold from Kansas and Berlin Stores continue to strike chords in the industry. Find out more on Peggy and her wild creativity on WeTransfer and its editorial platform This Works. Keep following Peggy’s journey here.
Noah Camp “recently posted about his Trans identity on Instagram with this post, I was warmed to see someone who has a relatively anonymous account make such an amazing out statement on their social media” Noah Camp’s style feels readymade for a sequel to Drive, it pours imagery into your mind of a neon motel sign flickering in your eyes as you smell fresh coffee and waffles from the diner. It has the power to make you touch your screen and lick your finger or imagine running your hands across some cold polished metallic. See one example above. Stay connected with Noah Camp’s creativity.

3. Hello Mr

Launched April 2013, Hello Mr isn’t just a bi-annual magazine, it’s a community of men dating men engaging in extended conversation. Founded by Designer and Creative Director, Ryan Fitzgibbon, the aim is to create an outlet for a generation of gay men misrepresented in the media. It unites readers via poetry, essays, features and photography, all in ‘a neatly-curated museum, carefully built to exhibit a universal story of gay men today’. Stay up to date with Hello Mr’s journey.
Hello Mr’s nominations:
Nijel Taylor “is a Designer + Animator crafting brand identities for clients like Taco Bell. He strives to create meaningful change through his projects and pushes the potential of branding”- Nijel ascends from a 50 year old swiss design education at the University of the Arts, where he graduated as the Valedictorian. Amazingly skilled in motion, whether it’s behind the screen or in person, sprinting with Chelsea Pier’s track club, Nijel is an individual who is only going forward in the world, especially in the lanes of design, animation and higher education. Keep up with Nijel Taylor here.
Hunter Schafer (pictured above) “the 18 year old illustrator for Rookie magazine and political activist sued the NC government for their discriminatory bathroom laws and continues to speak up through art activism” Hunter Schafer is the starlight haired artist, designer, model and trans youth rights activist who’s campaigning has already altered discriminatory laws and is sure to light up the skies for years to come with a huge heart and creative talent. Follow Hunter here.
Thomas Mccarty is a photographer from Loveland, Ohio who fittingly explores space, American suburbia and non-conventional sexualty in his work. From a wolf with a pink millennial backdrop to intimate series in fleeting sun stained film shots, Thomas' work is growing tall in popularity having already been noticed by the likes of Dazed and C★NDY Mag. You can read more about Thomas’s creative process on WeTransfer’s its editorial platform This Works. Stay aligned with Thomas Mccarty here.

4. Martin Firrell

Martin Firrell (above) is a provocative hero of art activism. Known best for his text illuminations on iconic buildings such as St.Paul’s Cathedral, he doesn’t just invite you to consider a message- he demands the dialogue. Martin’s work addresses global warming, cultures, gender-equality, sexuality, masculinity, life, government and religion and continues to rouse public dialogues.
Martin’s Nominations:
Charlie Cattrall “I nominate this individual because he hitchhiked to the Oracle at Delphi in search of insight about himself; he understands that all human identity expression is fluid; and in all his work he expresses an ineffable tenderness for what is ‘other’. Charlie is a newcomer actor and director- of which his first film Titus (2013) won him a BIFA nomination for the Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director). With such comely sensitivity in his work, Charlie is sure to be touching more and more audience hearts. Learn more about Charlie and his big ideas on WeTransfer and its editorial platform This Works here. Follow Charlie Cattrall on his journey. Alice Johnstone Martin’s second leader of tomorrow is filmmaker Alice Johnstone. Part of a new wave of creatives shaking up the scene with projects such as Brainchild Festival, Alice is set for a creative adventure. “I nominate Alice because she declines to be labelled, claiming her right to self-define and the right to change. I believe it’s this flexibility of thought that enables her to locate new ways to approach making and curating with a ‘tender strength’. Stick with Alice Johnstone in her next steps.
Tom Stuart has been in the acting world for 14 years and has recently turned down a road of writing. His first play ‘ I Am Not Myself These Days’ (an adaption of Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s New York Times bestselling autobiography) has been turning heads for the right reasons- the uncomfortable narrative raises poignant issues on the juxtapositions between conformity and fluidity and has toured around Britain and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tom also has new material just around the corner, so watch this space here

5. A Nasty Boy

A Nasty Boy magazine is speeding towards filling a void of non-conformist culture. The publication questions Nigeria’s under representation of sexuality and gender with the weapons of fashion, culture and art and provides a platform for the hotbed of talent nestled in Nigeria. Whilst more than necessary, it’s not without controversy. The phenomenal spirit and editor behind the pub is Richard Akuson pushing boundaries, increasing visibility and addressing fluidity in a country where the LGBT+ community are heavily persecuted. Whilst Richard is not short of nominations (you only have to take a look into an issue of the magazine to find handfuls of vibrant creative leaders of tomorrow) Daniel Obasi is his stand-out nomination, Richard told us:
Daniel Obasi “is a Nigerian stylist and creative director with a gender blurring aesthetic. His work spans gender identity, fashion and politics: from boys in braids, makeup, jewelry, to crop tops and dresses. Daniel represents a new generation of Nigerian creatives who are daring and adventurous in their crafts. They do not understand the concept of restrain. They’re raw and bold. Recently, Daniel's’ work ( see 'The Illegal Project' above)has been featured on VSCO, AfroPunk and many more Afrocentric publications”. You can read more about Daniel’s creative process on WeTransfer and its editorial platform This Works and stay in touch with what he’s up to here.

6. Matt Lambert

Filmmaker and Photographer Matt Lambert is an industry firework. An LA Baby but a London-Berlin convert, Matt’s red-hot work with collaborators such as Givenchy, Hercules, Gucci, C4, Vogue, I.D, BBC and more is setting the creative world aflame (work above). It’s no surprise that Tribeca Film Festival named Matt as one of the ten filmmakers of the future and 2017 saw him being christened by DAZED as one of their 100 strong army of people ‘instrumental in underlining whose moment is now’. Lambert’s sensual work dances with ideas and narratives of gay youth culture, lgbt+ love, intimacy, fantasy and more. Follow Matt and his future work here.
Matt’s Nominations:
Leo Adef is a Director and Photographer in flux between Argentina and Spain, whose flair behind the lens have been picked up the by likes of Nowness and i-D- who featured a gorgeous short of intimate, contemporary gay love, filmed in a sun blissed Barcelona. Another film worth watching is ‘Vamp’ described by Nowness as ‘a neon-drenched tale of teenage nihilism for the German rapper Youth’. You can read more about Leo’s creative process on WeTransfer’s and its editorial platform This Works. Keep an eye on Leo here. Campbell Addy Straight from Central Saint Martins and into the limelight: Campbell uses his richly diverse cultural background to inform his agency "Nii", his printed publication "Niijournal" and his complex portrait photography. His bold direction recently appeared on the cover of Creative Review and with work like 'Black Dolls', Campbell is not going anywhere but the top. Stay tuned.
Stephen Isaac-Wilson is a Director and rising South-East London star. Starting his career on the BBC’s coveted graduate trainee scheme, Stephen interlinks journalism skills with an eye for emotional narration and a knowledge of LGBT+ British youth culture. Stephen is part of the Tate’s Queer British Art 1861-1967 exhibition and has directed for i-D, Victoria Miro galleries and the Tate. Having worked with musicians; Klein, Jay Boogie and Mykki Blanco, Isaac-Wilson has a pretty strong start to the industry to say the least. Follow Stephen here.

7. The Nest

Founded in 2012, The Nest Collective are a space and group of people whose production of film, music, fashion, art and literature soars high in representing diversity amongst African people (film still above). The Nest are showing the world what is seen and unseen, said and unsaid in Africa and these raw subjects are told in layers of multidisciplinary art - gaining them a multitude of awards. One trailblazing project was the film ‘The Stories of Our Lives’, a rare insight into the stories of ‘queer’ Kenyans. Director, Musician and Filmmaker Jim Chuchu took the reigns in sharing The Nest’s nominations: Follow The Nest here.
The Nest’s Nominations:
M+K Muqaddam Latif and Keith Macharia First up is Fashion Design duo M+K, who Jim introduced as "two contemporary fashion designers making amazing luxe work in Nairobi. Their aesthetic is stunning and they are such cool people too” Their simple cuts beckon a sense of breezy fluidity and calm natural beauty, like watching a hummingbird fly over dewy plants by the river. Join their journey here. Kawira Mwirichia is their second nomination "who just completed a considerably large art project wherein she subversively remixed a traditional fabric (known as 'khanga') with queer-affirming messages. She has also self-published a lesbian erotic coloring book, which we thought was quite a statement piece. Kawira’s work, especially ‘To Revolutionary Type Love’ (2017) mixes traditional Swahili symbols and sayings into an extremely relevant spectrum of discussion. With such a vivacious palette, her future work is sure to keep the art community roused, be the first to know, watch Kawira Mwirichi flourish here. Awuor Onyango "is an emerging multimedia artist here in Nairobi. She's worked with film,photography, text - and explores a politic that centers blackness, femmeness and queerness very deliberately. She just showed a new photographic series in an exhibition and we thought it was quite beautiful” Awuor’s highly aesthetic work is daring, oozing with cross discipline intelligence and undeniably important at this point in time. Join Awuor Onyango’s creative adventures here.

8. John Down

John is a passionate advocate of LGBT+ visibility in creative and social spaces, as COO/CFO of The Dots and a founding member of the UK’s first LGBT+ entrepreneurs’ network, Series Q. The Dots’ mission is to use its platform to let traditionally underrepresented groups in the creative industries tell their stories, particularly women, BAME and LGBT+ creatives. John gave us a beautiful summary of each of his exciting nominations:
John’s Nominations:
Oli Epp Newcomer Oli creates paintings with a humorous flair in oil, acrylics and spray paint that instantly capture attention. His deliberately prosaic subjects (including sunbedding and McDonalds drive-thrus) observe - among other things - body image, materialism and their confluence with LGBT+ identity. In 'Pride', Epp deals with simultaneous feelings of pride and shame by offsetting a balaclava with a celebratory rainbow flag and sparkler.” Hop on here for updates on Oli Epp’s endeavours.
Harriet Horton “Ethical taxidermist Harriet uses neon, dyes and texture to create emotive and haunting works. Not following a pre-existing heteronormative path presented obstacles to Harriet, which forced her to think differently and creatively in what has traditionally been a macabre, male-dominated medium.” Be in the know with Harriet Horton here.
Rose Pilkington "This individual's designs are defined by one overriding theme; colour. Rose produces textural and colourful 2D & 3-D visuals within an entirely digital space, to create an emotional response via the psychology of colour. Subtly or boldly, her work disrupts our perceptions. Her soothing work ‘Auratone’ is a striking play on colour and (we think anyway) a rainbow flag for the digital age.” Read more on Rose and how she works on WeTransfer and its editorial platform This Works. Dive into Rose Pilkington’s colourful world.

Check out and connect with all the amazing LGBT+ leaders on creator network The Dots and WeTransfer’s editorial platform This Works and don’t forget to keep your gazed fixed on this diverse army of dreamers, doers, makers and thinkers, shifting up creative space for future generations.


Imagery: All can be found via The Dots profiles of those acredited within the text.
Source of Promsudon's image: here & Hunter's image: here (photographer: Jillian Clark)
Special acknowledgement to Rose Pilkington for the project visuals.

Project Team

Tea Uglow

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Charlie Cattrall

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  • Filmmaker and Actor
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Alice Johnstone

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  • Filmmaker
  • Expectation, Brainchild

Ryan Fitzgibbon

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  • Founder and Creative Director
  • Hello Mr

Hunter Schafer

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  • Freelance Creative, Model, Activist
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Nijel Taylor

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  • Graphic Designer
  • Trollbäck+Company

Thomas McCarty

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  • Photographer
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Kate Moross

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Noah Camp

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  • 3D Type Artist and Designer
  • Noah Camp Design

Peggy Noland

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  • Laboror
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M+K Nairobi

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  • Contemporary Luxe Fashion Design
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Kawira Mwirichia

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  • Self-employed Visual Artist
  • To Revolutionary Type Love, Kala Company

Awuor Onyango

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  • Multidisciplinary Artist and Writer
  • Circle Art Agency

Hana Tanimura

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  • Senior Designer at Google Creative Lab
  • Google

Nosa Eke

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  • Filmmaker, Producer, Writer & Narrative Experience Designer
  • The Walt Disney Company

Prumsodun Ok

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  • Founding Artistic Director of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA
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Campbell Addy

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  • Photographer, Founder of Nii Agency & Niijournal
  • Niijournal, Nii Agency, Campbell Addy

Leo Adef

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  • Filmmaker & Photographer
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Matt Lambert

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  • Director/Photographer
  • Prettybird Uk/us, Iconoclast Films Europe, Bare Bones

Jim Chuchu

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  • Visual Artist
  • The Nest Collective

Richard Akuson

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  • Editorial Director
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John Down

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  • Chief Operating & Financial Officer
  • The Dots

Oli Epp

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  • Post-digital Pop Painter
  • Oli Epp

Harriet Horton

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  • Artist/Art Director
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Rose Pilkington

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Daniel Obasi

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  • Creative
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Pip Jamieson

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Annie Ly

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  • Marketing and Partnerships at The Dots
  • The Dots

Sophie Howe

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  • Marketing, Partnerships & Event Production
  • The Dots

Leanne Hammill

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  • Head of Marketing and Partnerships
  • The Dots

Bethany Lloyd

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  • Creative Marketing & Partnerships
  • The Horniman Museum & Gardens, The Dots, Conwy Arts Center

Robyn Siân Cusworth

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  • Content, Writing & Arts
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Project Tags

  • Championing Diversity
  • The Dots
  • We Transfer
  • LGBT+
  • Diversity
  • Equality
  • Creative Equality
  • Creativity
  • LGBTQ+

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