Get a glimpse of how we got where we are today!

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Path 2
Beatfreeks Arts has been invested in creating, capturing and changing arts and heritage since our humble beginnings in 2013 when some of the first poems at the inaugural Poetry Jam on 7th Feb 2013 shared stories of identity, culture, place and history.
The organisation’s passion and commitment to young people in arts, culture and heritage was born and blossomed into our first dedicated art and heritage project in 2016, ‘At What Cost?’ explored the impact of Georgian landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s work on Black, Asian and minoritised communities from the past to modern-day.
Towards the end of ‘At What Cost?’, the passion and drive to platform young people’s voices and skills had grown into an insatiable fire in our bellies, kindled by young people’s desire to change the world. As a result, Beatfreeks Arts invested further into this work and applied for Kick the Dust, a new £10M fund to transform youth engagement in the arts and heritage sector.
Beatfreeks Arts were successful in the application and after 6 months of planning and development, we changed the project’s name to Don’t Settle. The project launched officially in February 2019 in partnership with Birmingham Museums Trust, Birmingham City University, Chance Heritage Trust, and Roundhouse Birmingham.
Towards the end of ‘At What Cost?’, the passion and drive to platform young people’s voices and skills had grown into an insatiable fire in our bellies, kindled by young people’s desire to change the world. As a result, Beatfreeks Arts invested further into this work and applied for Kick the Dust, a new £10M fund to transform youth engagement in the arts and heritage sector.
Beatfreeks Arts were successful in the application and after 6 months of planning and development, we changed the project’s name to Don’t Settle. The project launched officially in February 2019 in partnership with Birmingham Museums Trust, Birmingham City University, Chance Heritage Trust, and Roundhouse Birmingham.

The pandemic brought a new way of working and we needed to adapt. We moved towards a digital landscape. Our young Curators co-designed exhibitions, heritage tours and alternative museum guidebooks, without even seeing the heritage spaces.

The Black Lives Matter movement shaped the future of Don’t Settle and highlighted how important it is to continue our work to change the system. Our Curators responded with exhibitions such as ‘Black Is Beautiful. Black without apology’ at Aston Hall, created space for sharing and healing within Lunar Campfires, a Black heritage audio tour at Roundhouse Birmingham, and held the sector accountable. 

Finally, we could organise in-person events. ‘Black is beautiful. Black without apology’ launched the exhibition with the same title that celebrated Black women at Aston Hall; ‘All this CCTV, but do you even see me?” Lunar Campfire at BOM in partnership with Up: rise and Baff Akoto; ‘Turn on the light’ launched the Birmingham by Night exhibition and the ‘Herstory of Birmingham’ zine at Roundhouse Birmingham.

Through the Youth Accelerator Fund, Don’t Settle expanded further into Black Country, adding Multistory and Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery as partners. All these, whilst starting our youth governance strands with our partners and young consultants, and working with young people to create a heritage manifesto for young People of Colour and launching the ‘Time and Time Again’ report in collaboration with National Youth Trends. 

Whilst we have watched our community develop and young people start making waves in their respective fields, the time has come for us to change and grow. We build on our expertise and reach new heights as a legacy brand of Beatfreeks and the organisation formerly known as Beatfreeks Arts Ltd becomes We Don’t Settle Ltd: an independent non-profit organisation championing untold stories and unheard voices through arts, culture and heritage.
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OUR
VISION

Young people who are minoritised by society, systems and structures, feel empowered and encouraged not to settle.

OUR
MISSION

To nurture an evolving community, to platform untold stories, and to amplify unheard voices through arts, culture, and heritage.

WHAT
WE VALUE

CULTURE AND STORY-TELLING. This is our foundation. We harness the power of art and creativity to celebrate communities. We create opportunities and platforms for young people to tell their stories to the people who need to hear them.

BELONGING AND INTERSECTIONALITY. We create safe and inclusive spaces where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. We use our leverage and influence to give young people a seat at decision-making tables.

BEING RESPONSIVE AND INTENTIONAL. We listen and echo. We are alert and tailor our programmes to young people’s responses to world events. We consult with young people to ensure that our work and approach are authentic. 

Group 10
We Don’t Settle is run by a young and vibrant Birmingham-based team, our Youth Steering Committee of young leaders, and our Board of Directors. Our culture is filled with inspiration, laughter, care and support for each other.

Andreea Chelaru

Head of Programmes

Passion for managing teams and contributing to social justice. Loves animals and the works of Frida Kahlo. Romanian sense of humour.

Eugene Thabo

Community Developer

I freeze time with my camera (photographer). Lover of creativity and art. Proud African.

Sipho NDLOVU

Programmes Producer

Arts enthusiast, always asking for answers as a facilitator, poet, actor and dancer.

Tom Nelson

Community Developer

Fine artist, singer/performer, Jesus follower and Arsenal fan. I have a passion for engaging the wider community with innovative and extraordinary activity.

Ruth Hollela

Digital Engagement Manager

East African, Swedish-speaking gym bunny! Love tapping into my creative side. Obsessed with skincare and ice cream.

Enkee Gantumur

Finance Officer

Accountant who loves numbers, tap dancing and travelling.

Sachin Kumarendran

Office Coordinator

Comedian, artist and Office Coordinator. Sachin has a degree in physics, a Golden Retriever, and likes watching the old episodes of the Simpsons that came out in the ‘90s.

POETRY
JAM

EVERY FIRST THURSDAY OF THE MONTH AT SYMPHONY HALL

An open mic platform for stories, poems, raps, monologues, rants and debates.

THIS IS
FUEL

GET £500 FUNDING TO REACT TO SOCIAL ISSUES 

Fuel is a pot of money that young people in the We Don’t Settle Community aged 18-30 can use to react to social issues that are important to them.

Simple applications and quick decisions mean it’s great for work that needs to move quickly in order to have an impact.

DON’T SETTLE
PROGRAMME

EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOUR

Don’t Settle Programmes empower young People of Colour from Birmingham and the Black Country to change the voice of heritage through the arts, research, and governance. 

MASTER-
CLASSES

INSIGHT, DEVELOPMENT & CONNECTION

Masterclasses are a response to the community, listening to what they want and find valuable in terms of development. These offer one-off, bespoke, creative workshops that offer insight, development and connection, led by key experts in the field.

The full website is coming soon! This version of the website is just a taste of the vision and scope of where we came from and what we aim to achieve.

Everything that we have done in the past 8 years has led us to this point, all because of young people! This is just the beginning. We can’t wait to see what we continue to build together and, in turn, watch what we build flourish to even greater heights.

In the meantime, follow us and our young people’s journey on our social media channels or reach out for any enquiries to:

info@wedontsettle.com

© We Don’t Settle Ltd (company number 8564521) All Rights Reserved. The content of this website is protected by the copyright laws of England and Wales and by international laws and conventions. No content from this website may be copied, reproduced or revised without the prior written consent of We Don’t Settle.