Work with Me
As a willing wordsmith, quick-fire live sketcher, and skilled facilitator,
I might be a good fit for you if your issue looks like one of the following:
If Your Event Needs Pictures ...
Perhaps you're hosting an event with a number of speakers/presenters/performers. The information being presented is quite complex and you're concerned that
a) it will take a while to send out a digest of it all or
b) people won’t engage with lots of text afterwards or
c) it will end up in the memory as just another one of those events.
Maybe you'd love to offer those attending a visual summary with sketches of the people and ideas that encapsulates the essence of the event and acts as a reminder for months or years to come.
I have done live sketching for Sky, ITAC, ISBA, Beyond Creativity, Policy Hack, Puppet State Theatre Company, Skye Reynolds. I have created animations for Queen Margaret University and the Queens Nursing Institute Scotland. Graduates of CGO’s Diploma in Creative Producing hold certificates that I designed.
My most recent live sketching commission was for the fascinating Articulating Data symposium.
If Your Project Needs Powerful Words ...
Let's say you've got information and ideas to get across and need to make some impact. You're working towards a deadline and need to focus on getting everything else ready for that. You'd love to collaborate with an experienced writer with a sensitive, personal approach who will understand what you're trying to achieve and come up with some relevant, creative, beautiful, punchy and/or poetic text that will speak powerfully to your audience.
I've got over 20 years experience as a writer and/or poet in residence working in a wide range of settings. I love collaborations, as well as projects that help cross barriers, that aim to inspire and tell stories that need to be heard and felt.
Recent writing projects have included:
Writing the libretto (sung text) for the newly commissioned choral passion Be Loved: A Passion. I worked with composer Duncan Fraser and was thrilled to hear the finished piece sung at St James, Picadilly. While a traditional choral passion features mostly male soloists and text straight from gospel accounts, this piece had all-female soloists and also leaned in - with emotional curiosity - to the unwritten moments between the bits of the dramatic story that usually get told at Easter.
Crafting a poetic piece, stunningly animated by Cat Bruce, for Castle of Light: Kingdom of Colours which was projected onto the ancient volcanic rock of Edinburgh Castle over Christmas 2022. The challenge was to encapsulate site-specific historic moments that related specifically to the colour red so - within a pulsing rhythm and a tight rhyme scheme - the poem, REdinburgh Castle included lava, Mary Queen of Scots' hair, soldier's uniforms, poppies, blood (of course), letter boxes and the fire from the tragic 16th century 'witch' trials. Bee Asha Singh performed the words beautifully to a very atmospheric soundtrack by Hamish Brown while Andy Macgregor was skillful Creative Director of the whole project
A songwriting collaboration with composer and community music pioneer Dee Isaacs on a series of arts engagement projects for young people in Gambia and most recently refugee camps in Greece.
If Your Team Needs Purpose ...
Maybe you're leading a diverse team/organisation/group that really needs to address a multifaceted project but there doesn’t seem to be energy, commitment or decisive action where you need it. Your sense an opportunity to come together and you would love to come away armed with workable approaches, fresh perspectives and a renewed sense of purpose to take things forward.
My favourite way of facilitating an event in a situation like this is through Open Space. It’s a powerful way for people to take responsibility for things that they feel passionate about, whatever the issue at hand. I first learned about this way of working in 2006 while writer-in-residence at the IIMHL conference.
I am on the board of Improbable who are exemplary in their use of this methodology through their Devoted & Disgruntled gatherings that galvanise the theatre and performing arts community in the UK. I have facilitated Open Space events for Creative Scotland, Sound Sense, Aberdeen University and the Edinburgh Youth Music Forum.
If Your Project Needs Feedback ...
Let's say your creative team is working on a project and have reached a stage in our development where you hope you’re heading in the right direction and would like to take stock of where you’re at. You're not quite ready to share with the public yet and have a niggling concern that if you showing it to others who don’t get what you’re doing, they might criticise or disrupt your process with put-downs, ego/expertise, or opinions that aren’t relevant to what you're doing.
You would love to know which parts of our work are going well, understand how it comes across and discover whether people are seeing things in it that you hadn’t planned to highlight. You’d love the benefit of some outside eyes and to go into the next stage of the project really motivated to take it towards completion with some fresh perspectives and a renewed sense of the vision that has driven the project from the outset.
Giving and receiving feedback is a delicate art form. As well as delivering feedback training feedback on Whole Person Leadership and to the Chartered Institute of Fundraisers, I have facilitated creator-focused feedback for many theatre pieces including: Terrapin Puppet Theatre, When Mountains Meet, Vision Mechanics, Mairi Campbell, Tortoise in a Nutshell, Annie George, Kath Bruce, Maria MacDonell and Faux Theatre Collective. My training in Critical Response Process was with ground-breaking US choreographer Liz Lerman who pioneered this approach in Scotland through the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Puppet Animation Scotland.
NB If what you want fundamentally requires the following, I’m probably NOT your gal (and that's OK):
Somebody who does this activity - facilitation, sketching, wordsmithing - as their one-and-only dedicated passion.
Somebody with a PhD in the theoretical fandangoness of a thing or who is a Master of Fancypants Art or who is accredited to the Guild of Distinguished Wordwranglers or the Platinum Tie-Pin Facilitators' Fellowship.