Welcome to the official website for Future Leaders magazine, an annual publication which profiles 100 of the UK’s most outstanding African and African Caribbean students and new graduates.
1. OLIVIA LITTLE, 20
School: University of Bristol
Course: Politics and Sociology (BSc)
Grade: First Class
Fed-up that her degree was failing to reflect the realities and concerns of black women, Olivia decided to set up an online magazine www.gal-dem.com as a forum where women of colour could not only post about issues that were important to them, but in a way that was unique to their individual voices. “I was only being taught about important issues in a monolithic, eurocentric manner,” says Olivia. “My experience in feeling isolated, frustrated and just plain over it, are things which lots of people of colour I’ve come into contact with have expressed.” She adds: “It is no secret that the mainstream media doesn’t represent or reflect us, so we are doing it for ourselves.”
She launched gal-dem in September 2015 and since then the site has amassed a bank of 60 global contributors, six editors and more than 10,000 social media followers. In addition, at press time, it had received more than half a million page views.
At a time when inequality around race, is at the forefront of global public debate and frustrations amongst young people, gal-dem.com is an extremely important platform and has been recognised as such, not just by its growing readership, but by the slew of mainstream media outlets such as the BBC, and The Guardian, as well as ‘cool press’ such as i-D, Dazed & Confused and the ASOS website, who have all profiled the site.
It’s not hard to see why Olivia makes the number one position in this year’s magazine. She clearly defines exactly what a Future Leader is; someone who sees something unbalanced or unfair, which affects not just theirself but others, and goes out of their way to change or counter it. And in doing just that Olivia has managed to create not just a website but a burgeoning and exciting new movement.
Outside of its online presence, the team was commissioned to deliver black history month workshops to women at Holloway Prison, and were also invited to host a ‘Bridging The Gap: Women In Music’ panel at the RichMix Youth Takeover Festival, where speakers included Lily Mercer (Beats 1/Rinse FM) and Karla Marie-Sweet (BBC Radio 1/1xtra). Gal-dem have also recently been asked to curate a ‘takeover’ event at the V&A Museum.
Away from gal-dem, Olivia is passionate about asylum rights, homelessness and how these issues affect women.
This led to a three-month stint with the Dublin homelessness charity Simon Community, where she conducted research and put together recommendations for change. She also worked with Women for Refugee Women, who later invited her to cover the role of campaign’s grassroots coordinator for two months.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? With my own company making documentaries, and gal-dem.com having grown.