One Year On: Jahnavi Inniss

One Year On: Jahnavi Inniss

Black people have made a significant contribution to British society; however, these contributions have been left unrecognised. In her 2020 project, ‘Representation’, Jahnavi used Stuart Hall’s theory of representation and Roland Barthes’ semiotic theory to undertake an in-depth investigation into the different methods of creating visibility and representation for Black-British history.

With the 2021 MullenLowe NOVA Awards underway, we caught up with Jahanvi to see what she’s been up to since winning the 2020 Unilever #Unstereotype Award.

What have you been up to since winning a MullenLowe NOVA Award? Any exhibitions, collaborations or new career plans?

I’ve been working as a Future Producer at Somerset House. I worked alongside my co-producers to create the concept for the online, digital experience ‘Decentralise’ – an online, accessible, and interactive experience which aims to challenge the lack of wider cultural histories in the UK’s national archives. I’ve also been working as a freelance graphic designer and have designed a couple of book covers for the publisher Penguin Books, including Emma Dabiri’s ‘What White People Can Do Next’ book cover. I also designed the campaign for University College London’s Bartlett Institute’s Black History Month 2020.

How has winning help further your work?

Since winning a MullenLowe NOVA Award, my piece generated a number of enthusiastic reviews and I’ve been contacted by many people who reaffirmed the importance of my work and encouraged me to continue to my pursuit of telling stories celebrating the existence of Black people in Britain.

Have you done anything exiting with the prize money yet?

My MacBook screen cracked at the beginning of my final year at uni. Working around this (which eventually resulted in my MacBook crashing and me losing my work!) became stressful. I used the prize money to upgrade to an iMac. The clear, bigger screen has been amazing and allows me to work on commissions without the added stress of the breakdown of my laptop.

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment I’m trying to balance between working as a designer and as a creative producer. Whilst I enjoy designing and creating intricate pieces of work, I’m also passionate about the sharing of knowledge and surfacing histories through various cultural events. I acknowledge that not all communities learn and share knowledge through literature and academia, they do so through oral histories, festivals, exhibitions, song, dance and live events. I firmly believe in the importance of libraries, museums and archives as they act as living repositories of knowledge and I’m really passionate about the sharing of knowledge. I believe that at present, these spaces are largely inaccessible and disengaging to diverse audiences. I plan to design and produce exhibitions and events which deepen public engagement with valuable museum, library and archive collections.

Find out more about Jahnavi’s recent work here