BLKOUT_UK started its journey with three founding editors, Antoine Rogers, Marc Thompson and Rob Berkeley – you can read their initial statements here. We understood from the outset that BLKOUT, if it were to be a true reflection of the aspirations and ambitions of Black queer men in the UK, would need to develop in ways that would challenge us and require different forms of leadership and different leaders at different times. We remain grateful for the leap of faith taken by our founders, and to all of those who have contributed time, effort and talent, to get us to this juncture. Thanks to all of the leaders of BLKOUT in ways large and small since we started – for your patience and wisdom, as we have worked through the different models of leadership in ways that have been experimental, hopeful, and unorthodox, but always grounded in a shared belief that ‘better is possible’, that ‘those who feel it, know it’, and that ‘the time is now’.
It can seem invidious to name names when so many continue to provide leadership across the work of the organisation. Nonetheless, it is also important to know who is in positions of responsibility, and accountable for the work and guardianship of the mission
Rob – Executive Director
Award-winning busybody, recovering academic and reforming social reformer, Rob is currently leading development at BlackOutUK. Until recently he was a strategic advisor to the BBC on accountability and audience engagement.
Impatient with injustice and exasperated by wasted potential, he volunteers on the boards of Baring Foundation, Doc Society, and London’s Riverside Studios, has previously served on the boards of LGBT rights charity Stonewall, the Equality and Diversity Forum, and been Chair of Naz Project (NPL). He was Director of the racial justice think-tank Runnymede Trust 2009-14. Alongside his academic writing on education, social justice and community organizing, he was a Simon Industrial Fellow in Sociology (2019-21) at the University of Manchester, he has presented and co-produced short form documentaries, lectured across the UK and beyond, and written for The Guardian and The Independent on social justice and movement-building. His current fixation on forms of collaborative ownership, innovations in media technology and their potential for social justice means that he spends a lot of time staring at his phone and calls it ‘research’. Dr Berkeley was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to equality.
Romeo Effs – Treasurer
Francis Gatonga Theuri