Friday 22nd June 2018
Central London


ACTA judges meeting took place on Friday 13th April in Central London

Professor Barnie Choudhury

Professor Barnie Choudhury has been a broadcaster for more than 35 years. He was a BBC trainee and worked there for 24 years, winning several radio and television industry awards. Barnie joined academia in 1999 and is the University of Buckingham's first professor of professional practice in communications. He's the honorary secretary of the Royal Television Society Midlands. Barnie is the chair of a Black Asian Minority Ethnic mental health charity in Nottingham, a member of Ofcom's Advisory Committee for England and currently the director of media and PR for the Commonwealth Secretariat.  

Rachel Harris
Creative Producer
Southbank Centre

Rachel is the Creative Producer, Festival Development at Southbank Centre and has a leading role in creating programmes designed to involve the widest communities in Southbank Centre’s work. She leads on a number of festival initiatives which integrate artistic ambition with social impact and to reach beyond London to develop national and international connections. Rachel curates Alchemy, an annual 11 day international festival exploring the creative relationship between the UK and the Indian subcontinent presented across Southbank Centre’s venues and is leading China Changing, a new 3 year multi-arts festival exploring contemporary China. In 2013 she developed a collaborative festival in Salvador, Brazil using the arts to build social cohesion. 

Abid Hussain
Director of Diversity
Arts Council England

Abid Hussain is Director of Diversity at Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts. He is responsible for leading the organisation’s work on equality and diversity. He has over a decade of experience working in the arts and cultural sector with a particular interest in leadership, talent development and philanthropic giving.
He is an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) and a member of the John Adams Society, which promotes cultural, social and educational collaboration between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. He jointly led on the development and delivery of the internationally acclaimed Arts and Islam programme, which has delivered seminars, workshops, critical debates and artistic interventions across the United States of America, Denmark, Sweden and South Africa. Abid has served in an advisory role for the British Council, the Institute for Community Cohesion, Eton College and currently sits on the BBC’s Audience Council in the Midlands. He has served on the strategic leadership group for the Mosaic Network, a mentoring programme established by HRH Prince Charles to inspire young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential. 

Viram Jasani
Asian Music Circuit

A leading authority in traditional Indian music in the UK, Viram’s pioneering work since the 1970s as a performer, producer, director and advocate has led to fundamental material changes in perceptions about Indian music, increased formal funding for Asian music and bringing communities together across the UK. Viram’s work led to the creation of the Asian Music Circuit in 1991; winning the HSBC Indo-British Award for promoting good relations between UK and India, producing Asian music for the BBC Proms, eventually producing the first ever Bollywood Proms in 2009, the first ever Asian Rock concert at the Royal Albert Hall and the first ever Museum of Asian Music in Europe.  

Mira Kaushik OBE

For over twenty-five years, Mira Kaushik OBE has been Director of Akademi, whose mission is to create and nurture excellence in classical, contemporary, popular and participatory South Asian dance.  Her key successes include: Establishing a South-Asian Dance Faculty at the ISTD, a BA Hons Course at Contemporary Dance Trust, overseeing educational projects for young and older people and creating a variety of performances in unconventional sites including: Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Somerset House and a variety of outdoor spaces in and around the UK.  

Nick Kounoupias
Non-Executive Director of AMG
Founder and CEO of Kounoupias IP

Nick Kounoupias is the non-executive director of the Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG) and the founder of Kounoupias IP, an international business consultancy.
An acknowledged pioneer in the international IP world, as well as being a respected UK solicitor, Nick is known as one of the leading names in the international anti-piracy world.
As one of the country’s leading experts in IP and anti-piracy, Nick regularly contributes to IP journals, books and provides professional training at seminars and webinars.
Amongst his most notable industry appointments are: founder and Vice Chairman of the Alliance for IP, a Board Director of the Federation against Software Theft (FAST) and Chairman of the anti-piracy committee of the international music collecting society association BIEM.  

Bhavit Mehta
Literature Programmer

Bhavit Mehta has worked as a publisher, translator and festival director. He studied Biological Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London, and worked in a research environment at University College London before entering the world of children’s books in 2009, writing and publishing tales from India under his own imprint Saadhak Books. Between 2010 and 2014 Bhavit co-directed the South Asian Literature Festival, which took place in London and across the UK. 
He has worked closely with the Society of Young Publishers, Eastside Education Trust, British Centre for Literary Translation and English PEN, mainly on translation and creative writing projects, and is currently on the board of Trustees for Wasafiri Magazine for international contemporary writing. 
Bhavit has worked with UK and international writers and collaborated with literature partners while working for the British Council and the Commonwealth Foundation. He has a personal interest in stories from around the world and their impact on cultural relations.  

Divia Patel
Senior Curator, South Asia
Asian Department
V&A Museum

Divia Patel is a Senior Curator in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She specializes in contemporary art and design, popular culture and photography from South Asia. Most recently she co-curated the V&A’s major exhibition, The Fabric of India (2015-2016) with responsibility for the modern and contemporary content and is one of the three authors of the accompanying book. Her recent research has been on contemporary design from India which resulted in the publication of her book India Contemporary Design: Fashion, Graphics, Interiors (Roli Press, V&A 2014). In her early career she curated the exhibition Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood (2002 - 2007) which travelled nationally and international. 

Sailesh Ram

Sailesh Ram, a former editor of Eastern Eye, is the founder and editor of, a website dedicated to coverage of the Asian arts scene in its many guises. A journalist by background, whose work has been published in the Independent and Observer, he is also a contributing editor to AMG's Power List and Asian Rich List.
He also writes creatively, having had a novel for teenagers published many years ago, he now has several TV and film projects bubbling away.

Amit Roy
Eastern Eye columnist

Amit Roy is one of the most experienced journalists to have covered the Asian community and writes an influential column in Eastern Eye. He has also worked as a foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph. 
Amit has covered wars all over the world, as well as the Iranian revolution. He has also written economic reports on India for the Daily Telegraph.

Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP
Member of Parliament for Wantage and Didcot

Ed Vaizey has been the Member of Parliament for Wantage since 2005 and is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. He served as the UK Government Culture and Digital Minister from 2010-16, and was the longest-serving Minister in that role. He was appointed a privy councillor in 2016. In his role as Minister, Ed was responsible for the roll out of the successful UK rural broadband programme, the introduction of 4G, and tax credits for film, television, animation and video games, which have helped make the creative industries the fastest growing part of the UK economy. In addition, he played a key role in attracting inward investment to the UK tech economy.

Jatinder Verma MBE
Artistic Director
Tara Arts

Artistic Director of Tara Arts, Jatinder has developed a unique cross-cultural theatre style – Binglish - where Asian theatre sensibilities meet European drama. Having led the company since its inception in 1977, Jatinder has overseen the development of Tara’s new Theatre in Earlsfield, south London as an award-winning architectural fusion of East and West. Jatinder was awarded an MBE for services to diversity in 2017. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the universities of York, Essex and De Montfort, Leicester as well as a Research Fellowship from Rose Bruford College and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Kalpesh R Solanki
Group Managing Editor
Asian Media Group

Kalpesh is Group Managing Editor of Asian Media Group (AMG). He graduated with a law degree (LLB Hons) from Queen Mary University of London, and qualified as a barrister from the Inner Temple. Kalpesh is responsible for the strategy and growth of AMG operations over three countries: Britain, India and America.

Shailesh R Solanki
Executive Editor
Asian Media Group

Shailesh is Executive Editor of Asian Media Group. He has 30 years’ experience in journalism, overseeing a raft of titles, including Eastern Eye, GG2, Asian Trader, Pharmacy Business, Asian Hospitality as well as the Asian Rich List and GG2 Power List. An economics graduate, Shailesh has chronicled the Asian community in the UK and US for nearly three decades.