The Space is a wonderful, kooky oasis of art, creativity, well-being and conversation situated in the heart of Blackpool in one of the most complex and disadvantaged spots in the whole of the UK. I am not exaggerating when i say this, Its Blackpool and its a hard place to live. There is a wonderful person there who just has a heart so full of love that she cannot help it burst outwards and has by some miracle without any funding or statutory help managed to open this oasis for….
Today I would like to present to you 3 tiny Stories that originated on Instagram. They are observations, self-reflections about the people I meet in my daily life working with and within mine and others communities. People are like mirrors we can learn so much about ourselves by what we learn and admire in others. Tiny stories are also, sometimes just thoughts and ideas inspired by my own journey or the things I have experienced or witnessed in the world that create happiness and change.
A Tiny Story about community, food, festivals, connecting, personal truth & the soul featuring the musical band Karuna Mandala performing their piece 'Om Namo'.(you can view their music further into this story). There are three things that are the solid roots and foundations to
I caught up with an old friend recentely. Paul. He gave up his afternoon to help me out and I bought him a cup of tea. We shared stories, thoughts and ideas and I laughed so hard about something I cannot say here. I am grateful for this, our conversation. It reminded me of what I believe is the key to being well, of bringing communities together or changing systems for the better, the art of meaningful conversation and story.
We joined a group of fellow travellers from Ireland, England, Scotland and the USA. Drinking in a roudy Munich BierKeller. in a Winter’s Germany. After I explained that I collect stories and the authentic reasons why, the conversations quickly turned to the sharing of our stories, our passions, dreams and fears. Although we all came from different walks of life ranging from high ranking professionals to me in my threadbare jeans, it is story that levelled us as equals. I find this….
There is a depth in people that you can only know through story. We can often make quick, snap judgments about people, superficial decisions about who they are. We categorize people into uneducated stereotypes based on age, clothing, hair, looks, job, car etc. But if we look a little bit passed that judgment, if we dig a little deeper there is so much more, so much inspiration, courage and……………
Joanna Wagstaff is quite an amazing and courageous young woman. We met for coffee as she told me all about her new found love of public speaking. Indeed, she had just delivered a public speech the same morning we met. Now public speaking takes courage. Its daunting, sometimes terrifying especially when you are just starting out, it takes courage. Lots…………..
I so love our communities having people like Mark in them. You know that guy or that girl brightly coloured, dressed in the most original or period fashions. They are in my experience, always warm, kind loving and friendly. The downside though, is that sometimes they are misunderstood or cruelly labelled by others. Those others, who are often ……..
This is Rodger. Rodger left Bedfordshire, England in 1971. He left at seventeen, with no place to stay and no job in an era that now seems like a vintage age before Social Media. There was no such thing as GPS tracking, Google Maps or even mobile phones. come to think of it there was no internet and world wide web. There was no such thing as digital translators, or any other app for fast easy access to……
This is Sam Simpson. She is an artist and a lover of dancing. Not just dancing but the transformative power that it can have for individuals and communities alike. You will find her across Lancashire and in her native habitat of Blackpool, you won't miss her considering she takes to the streets like the pide-piper of Hamlin carrying a big "we love dancing come join us"sign over her shoulder, dragging a…….
This is Ahilje. She is a very warm German lady, presently living and working in Salzberg, Austria. I had borded a train in Salzburg, heading to Munich when she sat by my table. Often it is me that starts a conversation with a stranger but today was diferent. Today Ahilje started a conversation with me. It started over a cup of tea. Ahilje is a mother of 3, has a husband, an animal lover and drinker of tea. She is travelling back to her native home to visit one of her daughters and I can see already on her face…..
"Stories & Conversations are the souls and sparks of life, they have important roles to play in the future of community" That was what i said to the Healthier Fleetwood Team. Soon after, I find myself listening to many Fleetwood residents stories about the new found hopes and opportunities that they had with Dr Mark Spencer and his team. I visited what I feel, so far anyway, to be a genuine community development project, known as ‘Healthier Fleetwood'. It seems to be more than a single project, being more accurately, a genuine attempt to create a movement on a town wide scale. At the helm of……
I bumped into Brian Eaton the other week as we both attended the Community Action Day at The Space, a beautiful community space managed by Ruby Coupe . As always, it was a joy. Brian is a very positive and passionate man brimming with excitement, stories and a good pull of his own leg. For anyone who knows Brian, I am sure you will agree with me, that he is one of the most loveliest of people you could ever wish to meet. In some ways if you could bottle Brian on prescription you could go along way to improving community Mental Health. Brian is a person who…..
Paul Shanahan is a man who is inspiringly open to discourse about his experiences of I’ll health and mental health. He is not subject to the pressures and fears of stigma, choosing instead to be open and honest about his past where he once drowned under the weight of Mental Ill Health. He talks of his past with humour as if telling a tale of another. This is something I find quite common with those who have recovered, and I think it is a mark of recovery when you can look back on your story and no longer feel afraid, or ashamed of it but rather see it as a different, ‘other life.’
Journal is also in some respects a bit of an art project, or at least a creative project anyway. Socially Engaged Art is a term that best fits and it means in short, the use of art to cause positive disruption or to influence and inspire personal, inter-personal, community and social change. I am glad that more people are beginning to use art as a form of personal or social change, creating things is massive in keeping us all well and mentally healthy. So, I will be discussing this in the near future the importance of creativity and art in our lives, along side sharing stories and films from people and groups where art has……
Four Tiny Stories about Mental Health. People tell me their stories, a lot of people tell me their stories yet even today each story I hear is both, wonderous and unique. To be invited into someone's life, trusted with part of their inner world, capturing their moments of positive self reflection is both joyful and inspiring. Tiny Stories are little snapshots, moments in time, of conversation with strangers who become friends through the art of tea & story sharing.
What's the purpose of not having any fixed long-term plan?
So I mentioned we have no plan and that is true in the traditional sense. Our plan for what Journal will be and will deliver in the future is to be determined by the people we meet and those that participate in our exploration of community story. In short, we will build and shape things from what we learn from sharing stories with our communities. It's my plan to share all this learning and our own reflections openly and to encourage all to add to their own and our own story through a "Working Out Loud" process......
Our 3 most popular 1 Minute Stories for March 2018. 1 Minute Stories is a series of snapshot stories from the many and varied extraordinary people that I meet in my daily life whilst working on Journal's TeaTalks & Community Conversations Big Lottery funded project. I meet so many people who inspire me in different ways so I decided to document these people in a notebook snapshot form. Some will become bigger stories others will appear later again in 1 Minute stories and some will work alongside us in times to come.
TeaTalks & Community Conversations. (Season 01, Episode 01) Talking about Mental Health Services.
Season One opens with highlights of spontaneous conversations around 'Mental Health Systems and Services'. Filmed at Crafty B's arts and crafts table in Central Library Blackpool, people with lived experience of Mental Health Systems discuss the good, as well as the not so great stuff that might need some adjustments and improvements.
Karl Child is an International Photographer. Originally from Poulton-le-Fylde (outside Blackpool) now residing in Germany. Karl's work has a focus on external memory and loss and is influenced by the loss of his parents at a young age.
......As I write this I sit in a loft apartment on a quiet little street in a small city in Western Germany where I live with my partner, however, I am originally from North West England. I was born in Blackpool, Lancashire and grew up on a small estate in Poulton-Le-Fylde on the edge of the countryside.....
Sharing our inspirational story creates a space for transforming lives and communities. Story work is both creative & therapeutic. It is the core root of counseling & psychotherapy. It, in itself, has value, is measurable & effective. Storytelling provides everyday people opportunity to share parts of their extraordinary worlds. Story work has the power to inspire people to take action to change their internal or external world. Personal narratives can touch individuals & communities. They hold the power to change thinking as well as change behavior. Story work is effective in increasing compassion & kindness, holding power to motivate against injustice leading to increased participation in civic and political life.
Journal's TeaTalks & Community Conversations is a process of generating and recording real honest conversations about peoples lives and the systems and communities they live with and within. Season One looks at peoples lived experience of Mental Health & Mental Health systems, the good, the bad and the solutions that may help shape and change things for the better.