As part of BACKLIT’s on going aims to address Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in our organisation, over the last 12-months we have created a new profressional development programme, GEM (Global Ethnic Majority).

The GEM Programme includes access to BACKLIT’s online member and project space, archives, talks, and visits to other galleries and the wider art community. It also includes opportunities to showcase creative responses to our exhibition programme and an opportunity to co-produce elements of the BACKLIT programme.

The first cohort of GEM includes artists: Andy Harris, Laura Decorum, Morag Williams, Errol Morris, Yuxi Hou, Jenna Jones, Kim Thompson and Neelum Aftab.


As part of the first GEM programme, the group responded to BACKLIT's 'PUNK' exhibition in 2023.

GEM created an immersive installation inspired by the words of Sonia Long, a Black Punk who lived in Nottingham in the 1970s. Sonia Long became involved in the Punk movement in the mid-to-late 1970s at the age of 14. Through conversations with Sonia, BACKLIT’s Global Ethnic Majority (GEM) Collective have created an immersive installation dedicated to Sonia’s experience of being a Black Punk in a white-dominated punk scene in 1970s Nottingham.

Sonia had the audacity to stand out from the crowd and to be loud and proud as a Black Punk woman in the city. To celebrate and honour Sonia’s audacity, GEM have created poetry to encapsulate the anarchy, the revolution, and the emotions felt by Punks from the Global Ethnic Majority. A suitcase sculptured into the form of an open mouth captures the rage and revolutionary ethos of Punk and references Black people migrating to Britain and the prejudice, discrimination, and racial abuse they faced. A soundscape composed using African djembes, bass drums, dundun, frame drum, and percussion instruments with intermittent chanting captures the pre gig anxiety and tenacity needed by Black Punks before entering a gig environment.