As a teenager…
I grew up in North London and was a fairly quiet, academic kid. I did well at school but rarely was the one with my hand up in class. I had small groups of friends I played football and tennis with, but also liked spending time by myself, enjoying writing and art.
I opened up a lot when I went to sixth form, making lots of new friends and become much more confident and outgoing. I loved doing art A Level and would do massive projects creating fake activist groups, running guerrilla campaigns around my area, and roping my friends in to make surrealist films. I’d drag friends to art galleries and to watch subtitled and old black and white films at the cinema. I was definitely way too pretentious and tried to find a way to criticise everything, which was sometimes interesting but I’m sure often really annoying!
Even as I grew in confidence and independence I was still self-conscious and sometimes suffered from anxiety, especially around big groups of people I didn’t know. But I gradually got better at being out of my comfort zone and realised that everyone around me was pretty anxious too!
I went on lots of adventures. I took a gap year and taught English in Tanzania and travelled to Zambia (where I bungee jumped at Victoria Falls), Malawi, Botswana and Mali. I studied archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University, where I learned lots about human society and culture. I explored as often as I could: I spent one Summer teaching in Japan, another volunteering and doing research in Kenya, and when I graduated I went to live and teach in China for a year.
I loved teaching and came back to the UK to train to be an English teacher, living in Liverpool and working in a secondary school on the Wirral. It was really hard work, and I found that it was difficult to be as creative as I wanted to be in a school, where the priority was to make sure children has the best chance possible to do well in exams, which tested really specific skills and knowledge. So, I decided to not be a teacher after all, and to try something else.
A project manager, working on lots of different things that are mostly about supporting young people to have amazing creative opportunities. I ran a literature festival for schools for three years, then moved to Lancaster and set up an arts organisation called GRAFT. As well as running GRAFT, I work for an organisation called Curious Minds, managing Hope Streets, a project helping museums in the North West engage with young people outside of school. I’m also a trustee for Litfest, Lancaster’s annual literature festival.
I started working with Escape2Make in April 2021, and want to help get E2M back to providing exciting creative activities for loads of young people in Lancaster and Morecambe after everything had to be paused in 2020. I’m really excited to be working with this amazing organisation and can’t wait to see what this leads to!