The co-founder and artistic director of Liverpool grassroots Black arts festival BlackFest, Jubeda Khatun, has been named Merseyside Woman of the Year 2022.

The festival was established in 2018 to celebrate black artists, with an aim to educate empower and improve equality in the arts. It also nurtures an arts community throughout the year via educational projects and an annual festival programme.

Khatun, who is also a trustee of Awesome Liverpool and Liverpool Soup, picked up the award at a ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza Liverpool last month.

She said, “This is not just for me but it’s for all the Muslim women and women of colour who dream of being leaders, who dream of leading organisations and making a positive impact in society at the same time.

“I hope that seeing me here, winning this award will inspire more women who look like me to believe that they can do the same. Women are amazing and together we can make change. I am so happy to have received this award it dismantled what a leader looks and sounds like.

“This is also a win for neurodiverse female leaders; women of colour which carry visible barriers. I finally got diagnosed with ADHD in February this year and am on a journey finding support.”

Khatun was also named the winner of the Arts & Culture category, presented by Lady Anne Dodd, for her work with BlackFest.

Khatun added, “To everyone who has had a part to play in supporting the BlackFest vision – our partners and institutions, artists, activists, and board staff past and present – I am grateful and have enjoyed every second knowing you, platforming you and supporting your talent.

“I will always be looking at ways to curate and provide more working opportunities for Black artists in Merseyside.”

BlackFest’s festival programme will return in autumn 2022 with a grand launch at the Sefton Park Palmhouse on 1 September.

The week-long series of events will then run from 24 September – 2 October, with performance, film screenings and conversation taking in venues such as the Pierhead, Unity Theatre, Philharmonic Hall Music Room, Hope Street Theatre, Granby Winter Gardens and FACT.