The dark side of me

This Halloween as we dress up and ghouls and goblins let’s take a quick moment to think about the ghouls and goblins we carry around with us on the other 364 days of the year.

Whilst all of us have the capacity to be the best a human can be, we also have the capacity to be the worst a human can be.Continue reading

On being naturally talented

I spent this morning working on a play that I’m writing. This afternoon I’m going to do some illustration for my next book. If my previous teachers were to have picked a child least likely to grow up and write a play, or illustrate a book, I would have been a strong contender.Continue reading

Celebrating courageous women on International Women’s Day

All of us need courage in our lives. It takes courage to choose, to innovate, to take yourself in a new direction, to disagree, to stand firm, to admit when you’re wrong. If I want to celebrate courage on International Women’s Day what images of courage could I use? Our images of courage tend to be masculine; courage is depicted as strength. In our stories of courage men are the muscular superheroes. Women are the damsel’s in distress. Who are our female role models for courage?Continue reading

The Invisible War. Understanding the human side of rape within the military.

On March 11th I’ll be speaking at the UK launch of The Invisible War, a ground breaking documentary that exposes the extent and nature of rape and sexual assault in the American military. The figures are shocking. In 2011, 3192 sexual assaults were reported. Taking into account the likely number of unreported assaults it is estimated that 500,000 women have been sexually assaulted in the US military. The launch of this documentary in the UK inevitably raises questions about rape and sexual assault within our own armed forces. Continue reading

Writing my symphony. Will you ever know what your best work is like?

I’ve always found it useful to borrow metaphors from the arts in my work. As a researcher, I try to avoid seeing myself as a technician and instead see myself as a craftsperson. For me there is an important distinction between the two. A technician may be able to use their tools to a high standard but the craftsperson’s relationship with their work is deeper. A craftsperson has a process, a philosophy. They don’t just know how to produce good work, they also know why. They don’t just use tools, they create them. They don’t just produce work for someone else – they produce work as an end in itself.

At the moment my work is motivated by an idea that is borrowed from music: I want to know what my symphony would sound like.Continue reading

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

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It’s the time of year for reflection. A moment to look back at the year that has gone and look forward to the year ahead. Reflection is an important piece of internal feedback – a way of learning and growing from my mistakes, noticing and celebrating my successes, and spotting whether I’ve wandered off my chosen path.Continue reading