Denetta and Sarah. Future History event at Open Source Arts. Photo credit Freyja Thorpe.
We are Sarah Autumn and Denetta Copeland. A couple of Leeds based and born lasses who have a shared belief in the power of community, expression, storytelling and resistance.
We joined forces during the pandemic when both our paths were changing and merging. Click below for full bios and scroll down for an interview with us about our work together.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Sarah and D3. Their passion for community voice really comes through. They’re a great example of a community organisation that balances a professional approach without losing the authenticity of their creativity”.
Esther Amis-Hughes – Community Engagement Manager – Leeds Museums and Galleries
Chat with Denetta & Sarah
1 – When and where did you two meet?
Denetta I remember meeting Sarah properly on a Love Poetry Hate Racism (LPHR) online event where I was the host and she the organiser. We’d met before at a night called ‘The Drop’ at The Primrose pub. I think I was performing with my band Hayashi. Was I?
Sarah Yeah. I’d seen Denetta performing at ‘The Drop’ a while back but it wasn’t with Hayashi, it was solo. I’d also seen her face pop up on a zoom meeting for a Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) which we’re both members of. So when I was on the organising team for the LMHR event I suggested Denetta as the host as I knew she would be great!
2 – Why did you decide to work together?
Denetta We got to know each other better when Sarah signed up for my Express Yourself for Mental Health writing course. A course I created during pandemic to help people use writing therapeutically during the difficult lockdown.
Sarah Yeah I joined Denetta’s course after the LMHR event as I wanted to make more time for writing and I also wanted to support her work as a local female artist. We got to know each other really well during that time. Around the same time, I was planning to get back into Community radio which I’d done years before so I asked Denetta if she’d like to join me in creating a Spoken Word radio show. She was up for it and here we are!
3 – What makes you a good team?
Denetta I think it’s the merging of both of our skills and experience that makes us a good team. Sarah has facilitated workshops and radio presented in the past as have I so we also had common ground to work with.
Sarah Yeah I agree. We have loads of similar and complimentary skills as well as unique skills to bring to the table. I’d also say we have great energy naturally and just bounce off each other. There’s a lot of mutual respect and understanding between us.
4 – What are your favourite characteristics of your business partner?
Denetta As well as being a selfless human who is trying to create a better world for us all to live in, she is real and down to earth. We also have similar outlook on how to have a good time and enjoy everything from clubbing to camping together.
Sarah Aw that’s sweet thank you. Same. We care about the same stuff and we aren’t afraid to voice our opinions and fight the good fight. I like Denetta’s fire in that respect and her real talk is second to none. You will know how Denetta’s feeling about something. She’ll make sure of it! And I like that. Authenticity is key and yeah we do all sorts together from partying to protesting.
5 – What are each of your roles in the business?
Sarah That’s a really varied answer because we have several projects under BTL. We work on everything together but each take on different roles depending on the need of the project. We both share the workload when it comes to the running of the business and share out tasks based on skills needed a particular project. LOUDSPEAKER is a podcast which we both produce and present. We’ve also hosted live shows and live events under LOUDSPEAKER which has pretty much been a 50/50 split workload wise.
Denetta leads the Creative Writing workshops as she’s an experienced Spoken Word Artist and I head up Anarchy Artists under which I manage Denetta (D3’s) marketing, promotion, bookings, events etc. I tend to do all of our marketing and design at the moment as that’s my background.
5 – What are your visions for the future of BTL?
Denetta I would like our business to get established and generate money. We would love to have our own premises to be able to serve the community as best we can to ensure everyone has a voice and knows how to use it.
Sarah I want the same. I’m proud of everything we’ve done so far but we’re a Social Enterprise so money is really tight. In order to keep going and truly give value to our communities we need to bring in more money. A community art space is up there on the list of goals for sure.
6 – What else have each of you got going on outside of BTL?
Denetta I’m working on my music right now. I am in the studio working on my upcoming Product of Society album as well as collaborations and future albums. I’ve been gigging live for a long time but I want to grow my online reach and start selling more music! You can check me out on bandcamp and other streaming platforms and my next single launch will be in October.
Sarah I’m working a lot on activism and community organising. Causes I’m working on include anti-racism with Stand Up To Racism, the refugee crisis with Care4Calais and Moonlight Trust and the climate crisis with Extinction Rebellion and the COP 26 Coalition. I have a fundraising hike in August.