The Evening Standard profiled a few of us who hang around MidTown (that’s Holborn to the Old Schoolers) and who do interesting things. A few of us are also involved in The Big Ideas Exchange, a series of events focusing on how we work in the strange, fractured world we …
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Emerging as a writer is forcing me out of my comfort zone so I have empathy for those I coach who are challenging themselves in similar ways. To help us along, I have started a series for the fantastic Writers Hub, founded by Julia Bell at Birkbeck University. Interior Dialogues hopes to map the internal process of writing borrowing from my coaching work and my own experience. It will look at a range of blocks, frustrations and fears and offer some ideas of how to challenge them. Even though the focus is on the process of writing and making art, I firmly believe this act mirrors the process of living. Therefore these stories are aimed at anyone asking themselves questions about how to consciously move forward in their own lives. The first piece, Endings, suggests it is important to face the end before we begin. The second, El Dorado, explores how in a world where the concept of value is compromised, we could look for the intrinsic worth in our activities. Love reflects on the idea that writing and creative expression can bring us closer to a true sense of love but we must be prepared to make sacrifices for it. I am currently developing a coaching series and associated book for later in the year. If you’re interested in finding out more email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Street Stories is a project to help develop the next generation of dance talent run by East London Dance and the Royal Opera House. Working with 18 young choreographers, designers and musicians, Street Stories will support this talent through masterclasses and providing Artistic Advisors. WriteTalkListen is working to support the Artistic Advisors by providing mentoring training and support!
For those of you who haven’t made it down to The School Of Life yet, you can now combine a visit with an exotic trip to Melbourne or Sao Paolo. I did when I went to Oz to run the week-long Summer School Intensive at the newly launched TSOL pop-up school. An amazing story really – which involves an abandoned warehouse, barely any running water, a team of committed volunteers including architects and three short months over Christmas before it launched in February. The entire programme sold out in a matter of weeks including the Summer School which attracted twenty-five people from across a very large country. Over the week we looked at our potential, relationships, staying calm and took a wonder walk around the city discovering objects that held memory. The highlight had to be the visit to Streat and a meeting with the founder Bec Scott, a woman who is trying to end homelessness one cup of coffee at a time. Streat trains homeless young people in hospitality through the chain of Streat cafe’s as a way out of a devastating cycle. Bec revealed to us her visionary and single-minded journey to launch the project which was driven by an awe-inspiring amount of optimism and drive. Here Bec’s Ted talk here. (read on)
Leaving art school with the hope of becoming a visual artist will test anyone’s confidence. That’s why FUEL and the Royal College of Art sought to address the issue with their graduates. Here I offered some thoughts, on behalf of The School of Life, with Professor Jo Stockham and alumni Robin Levien…
It takes a dose of resilience to step out on the road to becoming an artist and an extra dose if you are a woman. Recent reports have revealed how unbalanced the male-female ratio is in the arts. It’s no real surprise as I have always been struck, working in “Arts Administration”, how we women are mainly concentrated in roles that support male artists. As an experiment, I teamed up with the Young Vic theatre to hold a Resilience course for female theatre directors. Twenty five of us holed up in a studio over two days and traded stories on vulnerability as a source of strength, how to personally understand power, monitoring life’s ups and downs to extract strengths and strategies and ways of declaring vision. A follow up session took place four months later where we practiced reflective exercises and creative experiments to develop our personal lines of inquiry. Using techniques that artists might use to develop work, is a tenant of my practice. We can create our lives in the same way artists create pieces – with intention, experimentation and in a safe space to learn by our failures. For theatre directors, who thrive in environments of risk and beauty, it wasn’t a difficult concept to grasp.(read on)
The Arts is one of the most inspiring and frustrating, dynamic and turgid, liberating and boring sectors to work in – and I’m allowed to say that because I love it. After over twenty years of working within it, I speak from the privilege of experience. So it’s great to be able to re-approach the sector with a view of supporting the amazing selfless, creative and dynamic people that it attracts. Often only the creative heads get the credit on opening night but at every level of an arts organisation – the production teams, Front of House, chefs, bookstore staff, finance and IT and marketing – there is a wealth of creativity. And my nose starts to twitch when I can sense creativity waiting to be unlocked. For the past year I have been helping the National Theatre do just that by working with Senior Managers and their teams and modeling a way to creatively engage through the use of coaching and creative techniques…(read on)
For the past three years I’ve been lucky enough to work with Step Change – a project run by the National Theatre and supported by the Royal Opera House, Battersea Arts Centre, Young Vic and a host of other theatre organisations. The aim is to provide a leg up to promising theatre professionals by way of mentoring, coaching (my bit), a work placement and masterclasses. It’s mainly aimed at training and supporting production talent – producers and technical managers. It’s a very rewarding project to be involved with as it’s a great opportunity to witness the challenge of growth. I work with a group of about eighteen over the year alongside Project Manager Gemma Renard (who coincidentally left toward the end to manage her own Step Change of becoming a mommy!). I facilitate the welcoming and closing evaluation session as well as providing one-one coaching throughout. At the beginning of the year, the group admitted to being terrified by the opening up of possibility. Possibility can do that to you, the fear that suddenly it’s all down to you. By the end of the process, however, they were chilled, confident and ready for their next stage in life. A few found new jobs, a few realised that they in fact love the job they already have and one person quit to go traveling to South America! All experienced the usual range of ups and downs that change brings and it was great to hear how supported they felt by us, the team. Here’s Dimity, Maddie and Ashley demonstrating their ups and downs…
One of my highlights of the year is to work with the fantastic Ladies Who Learn. A project set up by the dynamo Asma Shah to help young women in the East End develop entrepreneurial skills. Over a few months they are pushed gently out of their comfort zones to test out their networking, vision planning (my bit), marketing, budgeting and other areas of personal development. The project culminates in the women running their own market stalls at key London markets where they make their own products to sell. It’s like The Apprentice without the backstabbing. Wonderful