Naseem Khan has been at the forefront of UK policy around cultural diversity for over thirty years - as writer, broadcaster, policy developer/analyst and administrator. In the early 1970s, she was co-editor of The Hustler, one of the UK’s earliest black community newspapers, and later pursued many of the issues raised in both her weekly column in The New Statesman, and her freelance work in The Guardian. In 1974, she was asked to undertake research into the arts of ‘ethnic minorities communities’ in the UK. The book that resulted - The Arts Britain Ignores (1976) - proved to be the springboard for a reassessment of what constitutes ‘British’ culture and official cultural policy.
Naseem Khan established MAAS (Minorities Arts Advisory Service), the first national umbrella lobby body for all non-indigenous arts activities, and ran it as its first Co-ordinator. She is the author of numerous reports – both as Senior Associate with the public sector consultancy, Comedia, and independently – into the arts, diversity and planning. She was Head of Diversity at Arts Council England till 2003, where she was responsible for national policy development, and for a series of conferences on heritage, transnationalism and diversity. She was the UK’s representative on the Council of Europe’s transversal study of diversity (1999/2000) and served on the arts and culture committee of the UK branch of UNESCO. She currently works freelance on policy issues, and was awarded the OBE in 1999.