This year’s sponsors and judges
Once again, we are very fortunate to have a committed group of partners and sponsors for the SMK Awards. We’re especially lucky to have, Bates Wells, the leading legal advisers to civil society, helping campaigning organisations go further, as title sponsor.
Find out about our media partner, Tortoise, and their unique ‘slow news’ approach.
Can you sponsor the awards?
We believe now more than ever that our work must protect the space for campaigner’s voices in civil society – with your support, we can continue to do this.
Each year, SMK invites a diverse and experienced group of people from across civil society to judge the Awards. They include campaigners, activists, previous award winners, senior charity managers, and leaders. We are grateful for all the hard work that our judging panel put into the selection process.
Kwajo is a 24-year-old activist from south London, uses social media to give a voice to social housing tenants and expose the derelict living conditions that many are forced to endure.
After publicly shaming his housing association into carrying out repairs on his family’s flat after a year of inaction, Kwajo has travelled the country putting pressure on politicians and social housing providers to improve living standards.
Partner, Bates Wells
Simon Steeden is a partner at law firm Bates Wells, where he is head of Bates Wells’ specialist political and campaigning law team.
Simon helps charities and issue-based campaigners navigate the complex regulatory environment that can be relevant to their electoral and policy goals. Simon and the team advise across all areas of campaigning law, from election and referendum law to campaign finance, transparency of lobbying, data privacy, charity law, public law, strategic litigation, advertising and reputation-management. Simon is continually inspired by the new and innovative approaches developed by his clients to advance their social aims, which often require creative and innovative solutions in new and untested areas of law.
Bates Wells are the title sponsor of the SMK National Campaigner Awards.
Liberal Democrat Peer
Liz is a member of the health team and spokesperson on charities and social enterprise, and LGBT equality. She is a Deputy Speaker. She is Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBTI Rights, HIV/AIDS, and a longstanding member of the APPG on Older People and Housing.
Liz is the CEO of ThirdSectorBusiness a management consultancy which specialises strategic reviews , business redesign and good governance.
She is a patron of Opening Doors London, an ambassador for Albert Kennedy Trust and a trustee of GiveOut.org
Founder, Changing Ideas
David Graham is the founder of the charity Changing Ideas that supports scalable ideas addressing social injustices and human rights.
Changing Ideas and Laura Kinsella Foundation has founded the Law for Change Fund that is the sponsor of the Best Use of Law Category.
Policy and Campaigns Manager, Liberty
Emmanuelle works across policing, protest and surveillance technology. Before joining Liberty, she worked in research and policy at Kaleidoscope Trust, advocating for the rights of communities across the globe persecuted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Emmanuelle was a founding member of the Free Black University and a researcher-in-residence at the South London Gallery where she worked with young people on responding to a colonial anthropological archive. She is also a reframing consultant for Runnymede Trust’s racial justice project and sits on the board of trustees at the Public Interest Research Centre.
Emmanuelle is passionate about the work of re-imagining what community safety looks like, and to stand up against the assumption that criminalisation, punishment and surveillance can ever be a part of that vision.
Writer, producer, performer, campaigner and community organiser
Siana works and campaigns on issues of race, class, and gender and their intersections and is currently working on projects focusing on climate change, the arms trade, and state violence.
She is the founder and former editor of Black British Feminist platform, No Fly on the WALL; she is the author of poetry collection, ‘Elephant’; and the producer of ‘1500 & Counting’, a documentary film investigating deaths in custody and police brutality in the UK and the founder of Courageous Films. Formerly a campaigner and co-ordinator at Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), and a producer at Catalyst, co-creating networks & ecosystems, she is currently the Head of Phoenix Education‘s Changemakers Lab, and continues to network weave as a freelancer out in the field.
Across her vast portfolio of work, Siana’s mission is to help move marginalised voices from the margins, to the centre.
Public Affairs Manager, Scope
Abdi’s interest and expertise is influencing policy makers and mobilising local communities on disability issues and other areas of social justice.
Abdi currently works for a large charity, having previously been parliamentary researcher and policy advisor to the Shadow Minister for Disabled People. He has also worked for the Labour Party and led an innovative community programme in east London which included setting up a local Somali Task Force. Previously Abdi was a campaigner for Action for Children and the National Union of Students (NUS). He is a governor at Bow Secondary School, a non-executive Director of Hackney Wick & Fish Island Community Development Trust, and a trustee of PohWER.
Abdi co-leads SMK’s ‘Influencing Parliament and Central Government’ workshop with Jo Gibbons and Deb Hermer.
CEO, Race on the Agenda
Maurice is a life-long anti-racism campaigner, a charity leader and a local Councillor.
From his 30 years as a journalist working on titles like the Guardian, the Independent and the Voice to his role as former CEO of national anti-racism charity Race on the Agenda, Maurice has always actively fought to build the world we want to live in.
Having lived his entire life on South London Council estates, where he still lives, Maurice believes that real change will only happen if the communities which are impacted by the problems are central to designing the solutions.
Maurice has given evidence to Parliamentary APPGs on Voter ID and the Mental Health act and is one of the country’s leading voices in the battle against systemic racism.
Having been re-elected as a Cllr in Wandsworth, south London, last May, Maurice is now Wandsworth’s Chair of Licensing and Tenant’s Champion.
Maurice recently joined the team at UNJUST UK, a Black-led organisation working to dismantle structural racism in our criminal legal system. He is currently focussing on work to bring about the equitable decriminaliation of cannabis in the UK.
Head of Campaigns, Which?
Neena leads Which?’s Campaigns team, securing changes on the big issues affecting UK consumers to make their lives fairer, simpler and safer.
Some major achievements include improving supermarket food safety, securing enhanced rail compensation rights for passengers, and the establishment of the new Higher education and product safety regulators. Previous to this, Neena worked in policy and capacity building roles at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, including training local organisations across England to campaign and influence local decisions.
Which? is the sponsor for Best Consumer category in 2022.
Editor, Tortoise Media
David Taylor is an Editor at Tortoise Media. He was deputy editor for Guardian US and before that worked at The Times as Head of News and US Editor.
SMK has become a member of the Tortoise Community Network, which brings together non-profit, charitable and campaigning organisations and helps the people they work to support become fully-funded members of our newsroom. And this year Tortoise are partnering with SMK for this year’s National Campaigner Awards.
Campaign Strategist, trainer, facilitator and anti-racism specialist
Jon has over 10 years of experience in campaigning and organising. They are a part of the Mobilisation Lab Collective, working with activists around the world to deliver campaigns strategy training for NGOs and grassroots organisations.
Jon is an organiser at #CharitySoWhite, a grassroots collective of POC campaigning to tackle systemic racism in the charity sector. They specialise in anti-racism and exploring the different ways that white supremacy and racism embed themselves in society and impact our campaigns and communication. They also offer anti-racism and communications consultancy services. Jon has led campaigns in the human rights sector, international development sector, refugee sector, and disability sector – at organisations such as Amnesty International, Save the Children, and Rethink Mental Illness.
Policy and Public Affairs Officer, We Belong
She has experience in policy and legal research, community organising and casework support.
She studied law at university. She has a strong interest in human rights law and community empowerment.
Senior Grants Manager, John Ellerman Foundation
Kate manages the Foundation’s Grants Team and is responsible for grantmaking operations and advising on grantmaking related policy.
She has been involved with the voluntary sector since she was a teenager, when she lived in supported accommodation. She has worked for a range of charities and funders, including UK Youth, The Foyer Federation, and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. She is currently a trustee at the National Association for People Abused in Childhood and has previously volunteered on the Grant Funders Network and on the Lived Experience Movement.
Director (interim), People’s History Museum (PHM)
PHM tells the story of the past, present and future of democracy in Britain. The museum aims to engage people in learning about, being inspired by and getting involved in ideas worth fighting for, such as equality, social justice co-operation and a fair world for all.
Becky has over 15 years’ experience working in culture and museums, primarily focussed on participation and programming, working to ensuring cultural experiences are more inclusive and accessible. She has extensive experience in developing exhibitions, events and projects with artists, designers, performers across a wider range of subject matters. In recent years Becky has been leading a more co-production approach to how museums deliver their activity, creating the space and right environment for more and different voices to be heard.
Founder, Law for Change
Stephen is an accomplished EU anti-trust lawyer, founder of the campaigning group Clean Up The Internet and a board member of Hacked Off and Reprieve.
Stephen founded Law for Change, with the belief that there are real societal harms that can and need to be addressed through legal actions in the public interest. The Law for Change Fund aims to help fill this gap. It responds to a need for more strategic use of resources, based on sound legal expertise, to advance social progress.
Social commentator and Windrush Campaigner
Patrick is a social Commentator, campaigner and cultural historian.
Patrick has been at the forefront of several high-profile campaigns on cultural heritage and social justice in the UK over the last decade. He has used experience in senior management in the voluntary and public sector plus his passion in for cultural history to develop new models of thinking around transformation changes in service development, equalities, innovative thinking for social change. He is a trained life coach and mediator where his experience and knowledge has been used for leadership development and public speaking from grass roots organisations to public and private bodies.
CEO, 38 Degrees
Matthew is a lifelong campaigner for social justice and progressive causes, including for trade unions, trade justice campaigns, for the UK’s leading antifascist group, and for centre-left political parties and candidates in several countries.
In 2012, Matthew led Digital Rapid Response for President Obama’s re-election campaign, based in Chicago. In addition to campaigning work, Matthew is an avid support of Norwich City, and of the Washington Nationals, writing and recording on football and baseball regularly. He lives in north-west England with his family.
Director, Communications & Marketing, National Trust
Celia Richardson joined the National Trust at the end of 2018 and is responsible for Marketing, Corporate Communications, Content and Partnerships and External Affairs. She has spent most of her career in not for profit organisations – either running NGO campaigns or directing communications for public service organisations.
She spent 8 years working with the nation’s mental health charities on issues ranging from self-harm among young people to wellbeing for all. She has also worked for the Refugee Council, for a large urban regeneration project, for RNID and she spent 4 years in social enterprise and social investment. Most recently she was Director of Communications for Historic England. More than anything Celia loves stories and worries about the natural environment, which is why she is now hopelessly devoted to the subjects of heritage and conservation. She is delighted to be able to bring them together in her work at the National Trust.
Head of campaigns, communications and digital, Trades Union Congress (TUC)
Antonia has overseen a massive expansion in the TUC’s media and social coverage – including launching the TUC’s hugely successful TikTok channel. She is currently leading campaigns activity on the cost-of-living crisis and current wave of industrial action.
At the TUC, Antonia ran the successful campaign against new trade union restrictions in 2015-16 and supported the TUC’s successful negotiation of the furlough scheme at the start of the pandemic. She runs major digital innovation programmes to get under under-30s into unions and help unions overcome the strike ballot thresholds.
Antonia is an expert in campaigns strategy and issue communications. She was previously policy and communications director for a domestic abuse charity and head of campaigns for the housing charity Shelter. She is a trustee of the Nationwide Foundation, and is a former Labour councillor and parliamentary candidate.
UK activism manager, Ben & Jerry’s
Cat leads their campaign work advancing the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.
She also has a history of campaigning for climate justice and in her spare time, she campaigns and organises with Green New Deal Rising.
In 2021 she completed SMK’s aCmpaign Carousel.
Human rights activist and campaigner, Freedom from Torture
Sepideh is a member and coordinator of Survivors Speak OUT and One Strong Voice networks that raise awareness, advocate and campaign to improve Home Office & Human Rights policies in the UK, for better support for, survivors of torture, refugees and asylum seekers.
She has been working with Accountability team at Freedom from Torture advocating for the torture ban globally and the UK to fulfil its international obligations on torture ban.
Sepideh is also a Trustee and Treasurer of Music Action International a multi-award-winning charity that delivers creative sessions for refugees, asylum seekers and torture survivors.
Director of Policy and Engagement, Creative UK
Lara works to support, champion and represent the UK’s world-leading creative industries by working directly with policymakers, politicians, creative individuals and organisations.
Prior to joining Creative UK, Lara dedicated her career to tackling some of the UK’s most pressing policy and campaigning challenges, working for organisations such as Marie Curie, Rethink, and most recently the Royal College of Nursing. She is deeply passionate about diverse approaches to communities making change, and has built movements resulting in action from governments, private and not-for-profit sectors.
Activist and campaigner, Co-founder of Extinction Rebellion
Clare is an active citizen, devoting her creativity, her energy, and occasionally her personal liberty, to fight against climate collapse and the wider environmental crisis.
As one of the cofounders of Extinction Rebellion her work to date has included coordinating the creative team that delivered the name, identity, and messaging that the movement set out with in 2018, co-editing the bestselling book, This is Not a Drill, and now works with the UK media team and acts as a spokesperson.
Clare has a professional background in the UK fashion industry, working across the high street, luxury and ethical sectors. She has been educating on fashion, ethics and sustainability for over a decade.
Campaigner, Co-chair of BiteBack2030
Christina is a passionate campaigner who started her journey at BiteBack2030 during its inception. As founding co-chair, she fronted campaigns like free school meals and the junk food marketing.
Her work has been recognised by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who welcomed Christina as a guest on their podcast, and by the BBC, who named her one of the top 100 women of 2020.
In 2021, she won the Diana Legacy Award for her efforts with BiteBack in fighting for a fairer food system. Christina was also a top three contender for the Child’s Peace Prize for 2021. She has now come out of her role as Campaigner In-Residence for Bite Back 2030 to do freelance work and pursue other creative endeavours.