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Published on: January 22, 2024

Remembering Laolu Alatise

Photo of Laolu Alatise smiling.

Laolu with his hands clasped and a book in front of him looking thoughtful.In September 2023, we learned of the passing of our colleague and friend, Laolu Alatise.

There aren’t enough words to recognise how meaningful an impact Laolu made on our team, our work and the wider creative sector in this part of the world. However, we were keen to make a space online to remember what he meant to us all.

For most of the team, we first met Laolu virtually in January 2021 when he started as Clwstwr’s Inclusion Officer but the small screen of Zoom didn’t diminish his vibrant, bold and truly original force.

Laolu understood that we could make the most difference by funding amazing people to do incredible and ground-breaking work. He worked closely with the team to extend our reach into different communities across the region and support people through their research and development journeys, always with compassion. Laolu then became an Assistant R&D Producer with Media Cymru, focusing on working with the sector to get them involved in the Innovation Pipeline, which offers targeted funding and training opportunities to increase their capacity to carry out meaningful research, development and innovation (RD&I).

Laolu’s natural warmth and capacity to build strong working relationships flourished through his new role as an Assistant R&D Producer. His passion for championing access to the industry was most evident in his work developing the Innovation for Creatives programme.  He believed strongly that Media Cymru should offer a space for individuals who were new to the sector to learn and share big ideas and very much valued being able to mix with the group and hear their stories.

Laolu speaking on a panel at the University of South Wales.

During his time with Clwstwr and Media Cymru, Laolu became more passionate about RD&I and the impact it could make. Here he is in a video for Media Cymru, explaining what it all means:

Laolu was an activist and advocate who changed hearts and minds through his deep empathy, kindness and ability to carve space out for people, their perspectives and their needs.

Laolu and colleagues having drinks in a beer garden together after the ClwstwrVerse event.

He was such a treasured member of the Centre for the Creative Economy team – taking time to listen and to contemplate his compassionate responses, championing the work of others and always being the life and soul of any gathering. Here is what a few of his colleagues had to say about Laolu:

“Laolu was an exceptional and beautiful human being.  His playful and often cheeky sense of humour meant that he was able to challenge and radically transform the way things were done, while leaving people feeling truly heard and valued. He helped us all understand that equity is a shared endeavour and to find our way with good grace and empathy. He allowed our daft questions and found the heart in every interaction.  I’m immensely grateful to have known him and miss him every day.”

— Sally Griffith

“He was a true one-off. I have never had the privilege of encountering someone so unique and endlessly fascinating as Laolu Alatise. I learned something new and interesting every time we spoke. I valued his company immensely. His kindness and the care and interest he had for people were values which shone through everything he did. And in remembering him as a colleague and a friend, I will forever miss his company, his candour, his wicked sense of humour and the most brilliant laugh.”

— Lee Walters

We will continue to honour Laolu in our work, not only in the day-to-day approaches of the team – small drops make ripples, innit – but throughout the interventions of the Media Cymru programme, to ensure that his legacy lives on. His contribution to making our world a more equal and accepting place will never be reversed.

Diolch, cariad.