A Summary Story About Me
Updated: Jun 2
It always seems a little narcissistic to write about myself. It isn't going to be a sad story but it is one of those David versus Goliath ones, Rocky Balboa coming back of the ropes. Grab a cup of tea, some toast and here we go.
My life hasn't been easy but I have overcome so many things. I am what you may term a person with lived experience. I think those sort of terms are a little insulting and are given to people like me by professionals and think tanks. We were never consulted to whether we wanted this title, it was just pushed upon us. But it is what it is.
I am a survivor of multiple complex issues from homelessness to poor mental health to poverty and abuse. I survived then thrived. The things that helped me survive are art, music and books. These are still important to me now (and dogs, oh, and cakes). I am an artist who works with stories I am also (many people do not know) a fully qualified professional therapist, although I do not do traditional therapy anymore.
I work with stories now. A combination of a therapeutic story approach mixed up with photography, art and the making of things (usually but not exclusively books and magazines). For many years I set up and managed my own not for profits but now I fly solo providing my skills to other socially engaged organisations and people who are doing good things.
Yes...erm...this is... me... More precisely, this was me aged 9. One thing that has been consistent in my life. circa 1981 to today is, obviously, that my homemade haircut hasn’t improved any.
I know I was a kid, but I can say I made my first community magazine when I was 11. I grew up on an impoverished northern council estate, Fleetwood, a declining fishing town on the edge of nowhere. I was inspired by Punk, & Dub Reggae, both for their do it your self vibe and working-class anthems. I set about organising my friends and put together our first little zine, Some rough zero photocopies later, we are knocking them out 5p a go. I often chuckle when I think about this. It was a zine full of stories about people on our estate with little interviews and things, I still feel a bit secretly chuffed about that, I think it was possibly my greatest work… I can safely trace my love for stories about people in everyday life to here at least.
Personal Interests (circa 1981)
Tintin, Asterix, StarWars, Battlestar Galactica, Drawing, Art, Reading, Old SciFi B-Movies, People, Music, Playing on the Beach, Swimming, Bikes, Abbot & Costello, Comics, The Second World War, Tibet.
As I told you my homemade haircut consistently never improves. It's the hazy 90’s and I am in my early twenties living in Manchester UK. Caught up in the electric energy of alternative underground. Free festivals, dub and psychedelia, sound systems, art, politics, protests and squatter culture. A time of exciting near misses, It was a time for learning, experimentation, self-examination, soul searching I never realized then how much I was looking outwards for answers instead of in. The summers seemed endless the excuse to have a party relentless. An obligatory trip to seek the jewels of India it went on forever until it ended. Everything has to end.
Street Artist, Magazine Illustrator, Album cover Designer, T=Shirt Designer, Story Boarding, Residential Primary School Artist, Community Organiser
Personal Interests (circa 1995)
Existentialism, Mental Health, Psychology, Travel, Music, Art, Social Change, Community, Politics, Alternative Living, UFOs, India, History.
I began to really see the power of storytelling to effect lasting change through the people who came to see me after I qualified and began practising as a therapist. I worked with loss, grief, depression and male survivors of sexual abuse. I continued to travel a lot but had no creative outlet as a brain injury had disrupted my skills. It took a while to get over this and re-establish a sense of identity. I self-taught digital design skills and set about experimenting with story projects with the help of small pots of funding.
Psychotherapy, Project Management, Project Design, Community Organisation, Advocacy, Team Management, Graphic Design, Publication Design, Print Set up, Assessment, Court work.
Personal Interests (circa 2001)
Freud, Jung, Reich, Bowlby, Fromme, Erikson, Systems Change, NDE, Self Actualization, Alternative currency, Digital, Digital Hacking, Storytelling, Film making, Wanderlust, travel, Social Experiments.
The Here & Now
I'm 47 now (it's 2020) I work for myself, I work with stories as both an art and a therapy. The last few years have been probably the most interesting I think in part because my soul is more at peace, I have learnt to let things go. I do a lot of freelance work including using stories to evaluate other peoples projects and many other things. I work a lot with artists, freelancers, community groups and organisations. I like to bring people together to eat cake sip tea, share stories, debate and create things. People get well this way.
StoryWork, Creative Evaluation, Community Development, Community Organisation, Film Making, Publications, Graphic Design, Project Design & Management, Product Creation, Public Speaking
Personal Interests (circa 2020)
Wanderlust Travel, Adventure, Dystopian fiction, SciFi, History, Psychology, NDE, Existentialism, Music, Art, Community, Do It Yourself Culture, Personal Development, Productivity.