Heavy Circle: Uplifting Black Masculinity

22 June 2021 6.30 - 8pm (BST)

Produced and curated by Gifted by Nature, co-produced by Renaissance Studios

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An open conversation between Black men of multiple generations and backgrounds, discussing their experiences of education and mental health, their hopes and ambitions.

Join us for this online event, that seeks to nurture growth and facilitate safe spaces for male vulnerability, cultural expression and the passing on of gained wisdom. The roundtable conversation will feature guest speakers Dr Kumar Birch, Kio Briggs, Alain ‘Fusion’ Clapham, Cordell Johnson and Michael Lawson-Falomo.

In a time of increasing loneliness, uncertainty and isolation, statistically, young Black and mixed raced boys are the worst hit in this pandemic. It’s not enough to be anti-racist; it’s time to open up spaces to celebrate Black and mixed race voices and their stories, in order to normalise conversations around male vulnerability, strength, creativity and mindfulness.

The conversation will be followed by a live Q&A with the audience. Open to all.

Produced and curated by Gifted, by Nature and co-produced by Renaissance Studios.


  Dr Kumar Birch

Dr Kumar Birch is a Clinical Psychologist in association for Black Minds Matter UK - an organisation that connects Black individuals and families with free mental health services, seeking to normalise its relevance and accessibility. With 10 years of experience, Dr Kumar’s work involves supporting young people/adults/couples/families to increase their mental well-being through talking therapies. He is passionate about working with men and racially minoritised groups, where he strives to support people in addressing the challenges posed by different aspects of their identity (e.g gender, culture, faith, etc). Dr Kumar's aim is to help the Black community move beyond the difficulties that have repeatedly caused pain from generation to generation towards rich fulfilling lives.

  Kio Briggs

Kio is an entrepreneur, writer and artist: he is the founder and CEO of Gifted, by Nature, an arts and entertainment production house that invests, amplifies and supports artists in literature, music, sustainable fashion, fine art, screen and performance entertainment, centralising narratives around personal growth, mindfulness, sustainability, social activism and self expression.

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Born in Lagos Nigeria, and raised between Port Harcourt, London and the USA, Kio has had a multicultural upbringing that greatly influences his perspective and work. He was raised in a West African Christian home by a single parent; prominent English-born, Nigerian environmental and human rights activist Ann-Kio Briggs.

In 2017 he released his first self-published title Living Free: The High Philosophy (2017). During the height of the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, Briggs released Meditations: on Freedom (2020), an illustrated pocketbook filled with refreshing, digestible anecdotes that inspire readers to reflect on their mental wellbeing, purpose and lifestyle.

  Alain 'Fusion' Clapham

Alain is an educator, creative producer and a lead facilitator for YouTube. He empowers thousands of young people to better navigate the digital landscape while also helping award-winning CEOs discover their own stories of transformation. Alain is founder of @BMTstories – an immersive live and online experience celebrating the “awesome everyday” stories of black men and women.

  Cordell Johnson

Cordell is a Director, Editor and Videographer, producing content for Grammy Award winning artist Burna Boy, for his official content across world tours, music/press releases, and television appearances. Cordell has also co-directed for award-winning rapper Stormzy, on the production of Scary, and he has filmed every #MerkyFest to date. Cordell has also directed social campaigns for the likes of: Ugg, Estée Lauder, Glam Glow, ASOS, Crepe City, Boiler Room, Converse and more.

  Michael Lawson-Falomo

Michael is an A-level student, a current recipient of the Amos Bursary and participant of the Sutton Trust US Programme. He has published essays for Thinking Black (Oxford) and NCH London on geopolitics and the liberation of Black people. Michael has a deep-rooted interest in sustainability and land development and was awarded The Property Prize in 2021 for designing a new city in the UK. He hopes to become a Corporate Litigator, inciting change in the continent of Africa.


This event is free and will take place online only. Here’s how to join us:

1) Book a ticket on this webpage or Eventbrite. If you would like to make a donation to support Autograph’s arts and learning programmes, you can do this when you purchase your ticket. If you have any accessibility needs you would like us to be aware of, you can tell us on the booking form.

2) We'll send you an email confirmation of your booking.

3) This online event will be hosted on YouTube. On the day of the event, we’ll send you a welcome email with a link to the event. You will be able to join for the start of the event at 6.30pm (BST).

If you have any questions, we’re here to help! Please get in touch.


Can you spare a few moments? Autograph is carrying out a survey to better understand who our digital audiences are. The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Anything you tell us will be kept confidential, is anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.

The information you provide will be held by Autograph and The Audience Agency, who are running the survey on our behalf. In compliance with GDPR, your data will be stored securely and will only be used for the purposes it was given.

You can take the survey here. Thank you!

Part of Autograph's 2021 Open Call

Each year, Autograph has an Open Call for event proposals from emerging cultural producers who are working on a new or early stage project. For successful applicants, Autograph provides a budget, curatorial fee, and support to help make the event happen. This event is a result of our 2021 Open Call.


Supported using public funding by Arts Council England
Here For Culture

Banner image: Illustration by Benedetta Manfredi @be.moody.

Other images on page: 1) Courtesy of Kumar Birch. 2) Kio Briggs photographed by Emily Almodovar. 3) Alain 'Fusion' Clapham photographed by Christopher Beschi. 4) Courtesy of Cordell Johnson. 5) Courtesy of Michael Lawson-Falomo.