I was born in the Scottish Borders, have travelled fairly extensively (though not enough) and now live in Edinburgh. I love the changing world, and my changing self. My working and playing explores the genesis of curiosity, new thinking, innovative learning processes and creative development.
I began my academic life studying psychology and followed this with training as an Actor and a Physical Theatre maker, and most recently as a Theatres Director. I supplemented my income working in Arts Education. This has gradually become my main focus. In 2020 I was accepted as a Fellow of the RSA, in recognition of my work in arts and education working with people of all kinds in the search for lives that are richer, deeper, more satisfying and fairer.
Life and the world is for the exploring of it. The world is too full of the potential for astonishment. I chose a path of embodied learning – making sure that the environment around me is as important as my mental space. I have dedicated my Arts Education practice to developing modes of embodied learning.
One of my teachers said We are all always beginners all of the time. We never know where or how we will end up and we owe it to ourselves to be ready to make that leap of faith when we are asked to. The world always asks us to be different and to pay attention.
I have been involved with The Young Walter Scott Prize since being invited to become its first Director by the Duchess of Buccleuch in 2014. I am also Artistic Director of the Imagining History Programme UK, the prize’s Writing Development arm.
The aim of YWSP is to challenge young minds to explore our rapidly changing world by engaging with the places and people of their own histories. In 2021, we awarded our fourth pair of winners. Read more here
IHUK is national programme of writing and historical exploration workshops that take place in a range of sites of historical interest across the UK. We have developed partnerships with local and national Heritage Education organisations, and with schools and 6th Form Colleges.
During pandemic times we have been exploring new ways to engage with the remarkable and growing energy of young writers who choose to explore history as a source material for writing. In 2020 we created Times Shifting an international online collaborative writing programme for writers from 15 years and up, to explore the current historical turning point. This led to a new anthology of their writing – Times Shifting – New Voices from a Changed World – published in February 2021. In July 2021 we continued the Times Shifting theme and added two online collaborations – with Boughton House in Northamptonshire and the Library at Innerpeffray in Angus – exploring place, people and the shifts of history. More here
I have been a practitioner of The Feldenkrais Method® since 1999, leading classes in Awareness through Movement® and giving lessons in Functional Integration®. I am a member of the Feldenkrais Guild of the UK (FGUK) and I have a practice in Edinburgh, The Scottish Borders and East Anglia. I have also taught classes and workshops internationally, notably in Poland, Finland, Austria and most recently in South India.
Since qualification in 2001, I have taught classes and workshops to hundreds of people including performers of all kinds. For 12 years I was a visiting Tutor at London Contemporary Dance School, and for 9 years at the Polish Institute for Choreotherapy in Poznan. Feldenkrais which I first encountered in my training at the Ecole Lecoq in Paris in the early 80s, has slowly become the practical underpinning philosophy for everything that I do.
I am also musician – a singer mainly, though I also play piano, accordion, recorders and have been known to sit astride the occasional cajon. I have sung professionally, semi-professionally and as an amateur with choirs, composers, rock bands and song-makers. I have sung on CD recordings and film soundtracks, on Welsh hillsides, deep in caves and at celebrations of dear friends.
High points in the past few years for me have been singing at the Proms in London in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky Cantata, Mahler 2, Carmina Burana, Spem in Alium, Itaipu (Philip Glass), film scores and backing tracks as member of the Crouch End Festival Chorus; being part of Voicelab Swell under Mary King at the South Bank Centre, singing with Elbow’s backing choir Geoff at the Festival Hall in London; premiering To Our Fathers in Distress by Neil Hannon on Radio 3; touring as an ensemble singer in a piece by Graham Fitkin to accompany Not Until We Are Lost by the aerial performance company, Ockham’s Razor; touring with the Helen Chadwick Group; singing with the Cambridge georgian Ensemble, Chela.
I’m always on the look-out for new and edgy singing projects.
I write more about myself here
For those who are interested, you can find a detailed CV here