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Good Samaritan // SHADE


Good Samaritan // SHADE

Every issue, Jason Reed from Leap UK & the Stop and Search podcast speak to the people behind podcasts from the charity and causes sector. The Good Samaritan of Issue #021 was a recent winner of the new UKAN Audio Awards, Lou Mensah from Shade. This interview was first published in June 2022.

JR: Lou Mensah’s list of achievements in podcasting is certainly impressive. Creating the podcast Shade in 2019, Lou has received recommendations in The Guardian, Esquire Magazine and Grazia, as well as being the silver award winner in the 2019 British Podcast Awards for Best Arts and Culture podcast. So how would Lou describe her podcast Shade – what’s it about?

LM: “My guests champion the work of artists of colour within the wider cultural landscape. I love talking with artists whose work stimulates the senses but also has the scope to create wider conversations about inclusion. Shade is a space to be inspired by artists and their stories.

I remembered how isolated I felt being a self-taught, female photographer of colour in the 90’s, without access to inspiring conversations about art or my place within it. I also had a disability which meant that I couldn’t socialise with other artists. Back then my sense of community came from reading about other artists’ lives. When I decided to create the podcast I wanted to create an intimate and welcoming space for everyone, from established artists to listeners who
simply enjoy the odd gallery visit.”

JR: Like many podcasters, Lou has taken away some personal highlights from her time producing the show.

LM: “A highlight so far has been Season 4 which was in response to the 2020 BLM uprisings. I felt that we needed a space to process how we felt about the arts and its response to the uprisings, and how our work may change as a result. It was also an opportunity to talk with those working within the media whose job it was to respond to that seminal moment in civil rights history. I talked with the Editor of TIME, journalists from i-D and The Guardian, plus curators, photographers and critics about how the uprisings had impacted their work. I was lucky to have guests on the show who had refused to talk to other press outlets during this time.

One guest was a founding member of BLM UK, who entrusted me with his story. I am proud to have created a space for the conversations that are glaringly missing from mainstream broadcasting platforms. Sometimes podcasting can feel like talking into a void, but the response to the show affirms that the podcast caters for an audience eager to engage with and support
these conversations.”

JR: Despite time restraints, Lou is looking to the future and production for an upcoming season is in process.

LM: “As an independent podcaster I only have time to work on the show a few hours a week, so I am proud that in it’s short life Shade has garnered attention and support from some art heavyweights, including from the South London Gallery and Hauser & Wirth for example, who will continue to support Shade next season. For season 5 I am working with the Sound designer Axel Kacoutié and we are taking the show in a completely new direction. We will launch our collaboration online and at an event in September [2022]. I hope to see some Pod Biblers there!”

Shade is now in its eleventh season, but find out more about Lou’s collaboration with Axel Kacoutié, Interludes, here >>


Listen to SHADE on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcast apps now >>


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