Our organisation

Carnival Village Trust is a unique collaboration between its partners whose objects are to develop Carnival Arts.

Carnival Village will make a significant contribution to the nation’s artistic landscape and to the enrichment of people’s lives by developing and delivering carnival arts that are primarily rooted in Caribbean cultural traditions, and by being excellent at everything it does.

Carnival Village will put in place a sustainable organisational structure that will collaborate with its Founding Partners and others to deliver work of high standard that seeks to extend the boundaries of carnival arts and promote delivery to a wide and diverse audience.

How we do this
As London´s development agency for Carnival Arts, we promote the arts, crafts and business of the relatively unsung artform in the UK, extending to its roots and broader culture. We have the background to do so and are well placed in the locality of Notting Hill Carnival, Europe's largest carnival and celebration of African Caribbean culture.

With preparation and performance central to Carnival Arts, we also run two venues in West London to enable this via our resident partners and other collaborations. At The Tabernacle in Notting Hill, activities and events add to a diverse theatre and arts programme. The Yaa Centre in Maida Vale is London's Centre for Carnival Arts and additionally provides purpose-built facilities and more space for a variety of activities.

Our work

Our work to promote Carnival Arts falls into three core areas to ensure variety in our delivery.

Our main Carnival arts programme is focused over the summer months of July and August and forms the focal point for the world famous Notting Hill Carnival over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. We do this in collaboration with our partners and other Carnival Arts organisations.

Check our website for more details of the forthcoming programme.

Our learning programme is based on extending knowledge and understanding of Carnival arts and the history of Caribbean style Carnival. The programme offers opportunities of schools and colleges to find out more about Carnival arts. Through our extensive network of Carnival artists and partners we can deliver bespoke sessions for those in formal and informal learning environments. We are currently exploring a Carnival in the Curriculum Workshop for teachers and also offer informal learning sessions for local people, clubs and community groups.

Do contact us if you would like to book one of our workshops.

Our participation programme encompasses a growing range of workshops and courses for young and older! The workshops explore the core Carnival arts of Steelpan, Mas’ (costume making) and Calypso. We currently run regular workshops and courses in steel pan, Carnival costume making and textiles, digital media and music production.

We are open to new ideas and partnerships – so do get in touch.

Our inspiration

Our inspiration is primarily the diaspora of African Caribbean carnivals and culture. However, we also draw from others around the world.

Although we’re based in the heart of the Notting Hill Carnival, a largely Afro-Caribbean event, there are many Carnivals worldwide, with the largest street event in Rio de Janeiro.

The oldest recorded carnival with masks and costumes dates back to Venice in the late 13th century. It was an excuse to party and most of the population joined in the street festivities in one way or another. From the Italian word ‘Carnevale’ (meaning to do away with meat), the day before Lent became a celebration involving costumes.

It was the French and Spanish who took the custom to the Caribbean, where carnival was the first outlet African slaves were allowed to participate in, hence its importance in the African-Caribbean calendar.

From steel drums (a Caribbean invention) to recorded ‘soca’ music, there are numerus genres and sounds. Without the mas (masquerade), there is no carnival, and African-Caribbean costumes are amongst the most colourful in the world. Carnival arts also extend to the business of the events, from promotors to safety to merchandise.

Our people

Board of Trustees:

Ian Comfort (Chair)
Ian has extensive experience of working as a chief officer for local authorities and academy trusts including a number of years as Director of Community Education for the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. As a Government Accounting Officer, he has been responsible for budgets in excess of £300 million. He has acted as an education adviser to senior politicians both nationally and internationally. In addition to his career in education, Ian is a lawyer and currently chairs regulatory tribunals for a range of professions. He has been involved in Carnival since 1980, when he worked with the late Randolph Baptist of Stardust Steelband and Carl Gabriel. In addition to chairing the Carnival Village Trust and Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, he has been chair of the Ebony Steelband Trust since 2003. His other board roles include executive chair of Cognus Ltd, an education services company and trustee and chair of the Middlesex Learning Partnership.

Imani Douglas-Walker
Recognising the importance of stronger resilient communities, Imani’s NED experience spans across housing, philanthropy, social regeneration, people and diversity and community engagement. Chair of a £3.8m philanthropic foundation, Genesis Community, Imani oversees the strategic remit to disperse grants within communities investing in organisations and individuals to develop capacity building skills to reduce poverty and increase entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for sustainable resilient communities and neighbours. Working as a freelancer, Imani has worked supporting hard to reach marginalised groups either educationally, socially and economically to rebuild their lives and advance within adverse times.

Alan Edwards
Alan is a partner in Russell-Cooke LLP (a top 100 legal firm). Until 1 September 2015 he was the founding and senior partner of Alan Edwards & Co until his firm merged with Russel-Cooke. Alan is a director of Mangrove Community Y2K Ltd which is the company under which the Mangrove Steel Band operates. Alan chaired the Project Board which oversaw the successful development of the Yaa Centre as part of Carnival Village, which was delivered on budget and on time. Until December 2017, Alan had been a trustee of the Paddington Development Trust for many years and remains its legal adviser. Alan has been a board member of Kensington and Chelsea College ending his appointment in 2012 in the capacity of vice-chair. Alan sat on the Project Board which steered through the development and completion of the new Kensington and Chelsea College building in Hortensia Street. He was also one of the founding trustees of Action for Victims of Medical Accidents.

Mary Genis
Mary has an impressive record of achievements and pioneering work in the arts that enriches and widens the governance of the Carnival. She coordinated the One World Stage at WOMAD Reading for seven years from 1997 to 2003 and worked as the UK Cultural Olympiad Launch Co-ordinator. Mary’s other non-executive roles include previous roles as a board member for South Hill Park Arts Centre and Readipop music projects and current roles as a governor for Theale Primary CE School, chair of black mentoring charity Reading Refocus, trustee for the Jelly art group and a member of the Consortium Programme Board for the Museums Partnership Reading (ACE NPO). In 2017, she was awarded a Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Association of Steelbands.

Ansel Wong
Ansel’s wide-ranging career has given him experience of working at the most senior levels through public and charitable sectors, including public appointments and senior management positions: Principal Race Relations Advisor to the GLC, chair of the Brent and Harrow Health Authority, Community Assessor to the Metropolitan Police Service, Deputy Education Officer of the London Borough of Lambeth and Company Secretary for Savile Row Academy. He has written and lectured widely on Carnival plus serving on several organisations involved in Carnival: band leader since 1980, and mentor to over 10 Carnival bands.


Tara Hobson
Tara is the senior member of staff (Director) of CVT. She has over 20 years of global venue and event management experience working on large scale events such as British Summertime in Hyde Park, Wireless Festival and 8 years as an Event Manager at Earls Court. Tara also held the post of Filming & Events Manager at RBKC in 2012 with the focus of that position on the operational responsibilities of RBKC to facilitate Notting Hill Carnival. She has built strong and effective working relationships with key stakeholders such as Arts Council England, government agencies, Carnival bands and local authorities. Tara is qualified in health and safety management and holds the National Examination Board qualification in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH).

Our venues

The Tabernacle, Notting Hill
The Taberancle 34-35 Powis Square London W11 2AY 020 721 9700

Yaa Centre, Maida Vale
Yaa Centre 1 Chippenham Mews London W9 2AN 020 7266 4375