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on Fri 27 Jan 2017

 “In order to reach the place, you need not only

 to step out of your home, but also out of your ways of looking...”*

These are the first two lines of a poem that was written up on a house wall above where we stood marvelling at a little stretch of a very green-looking Melaan: a historic canal strolling slowly through the old city of Mechelen. And one that has made a historic come-back because early last century the Melaan shared the fate of many other waterways that were seen no longer useful now that transport had moved to the streets.

walking conversations

on Mon 19 Dec 2016

about pausing and listening

I'm writing this to the crunchy sound of feet kicking dry leaves – on a YouTube stream that I've discovered yesterday when I was working on a poem about snowy owls. I was surprised to discover hours of sound recordings of arctic wind, snow storms, snow falling on trees and it helped greatly to focus my mind. I was less surprised now to find there's also a great selection of leave rustling sounds out there.

We walked through dry leaves today through what's left of autumn in Victoria Park.

The New Loud

on Tue 14 Jun 2016

"One particularly sweet project is Birds Crossing Borders, which allows people to colour in and send postcards to unknown recipients, posted between the jungle and the UK. It has no grand goal, just to increase sympathy and understanding. Like this exhibition, it’s not providing solutions. It encourages us to think carefully and ask questions." Tom Faber, London Calling (08 June 2016)


You can read all about our creative dialogue project here - and you can come and see it in two East London exhibitions:


02-22 June: "Call me by my name: Stories from Calais and Beyond" is an exhibition by the

Conflict Matters

on Thu 29 Oct 2015

About growing up, conferences and standing tall


When I grew up I started counting the many 'firsts' that I seemed to have to get through in order to be an adult: my first baby tooth out; my first day at school; my first own bicycle; my first kiss; my first period; my first trip abroad without parents; my first heartache; my first time driving; my first salary... the list goes on and on and has most recently involved my first cocktail with my now adult niece and my first funeral of an adult friend.

I don't know where along the way I crossed the line into adulthood...


When we've recently

Looking back on Taking the Lead

on Thu 23 Jul 2015

Almost exactly a year ago the deep:black team had a series of one to one meetings with young adults from Haringey and Enfield who were interested in Taking the Lead, a project that we had been commissioned to run to creatively explore young adults’ experiences of the mental health service through drama and photography. It’s amazing to look back now and realize that those very first tentative encounters were the beginning of what turned out to be one of the most inspiring and fulfilling creative journeys we have ever been on.

The idea of that initial interview (or informal chat as it turned out

on anger, kurt cobain and the art of openness

on Wed 29 Apr 2015

the right anger?

There's a curious quote accredited to Aristotle, “anyone can be angry, that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right reasons and in the right way...” (and because I find the original ending a bit of an anti-climax I've taken the liberty to create a deep:black worthy ending for it) “...that's a work of art”.


'Anger' is a theme that keeps coming up in our work again and again; I suppose it's a bit of the poor cousin of conflict and seems to be even more embarrassing than the former.

Little Red...

on Fri 30 Jan 2015

Little Red...


...and the Fear of Depth


Once upon a time I went to the Royal Festival Hall with my friend Deborah to see 'The Blue Planet' – a BBC nature documentary about sea life, usually narrated by David Attenborough, but on this occasion accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, performing the original score.

Contrary to my expectations, the film was not shown as one on-going long feature but was segmented into short little sequences and at the beginning of each the conductor gave us an introduction to the next scene.

On a new war in Iraq and ideas of nonviolence

on Tue 7 Oct 2014

o3 october 2oI4

As I'm writing this I'm sitting at a desk basked in the morning sun coming through the window through which I look down on an autumnal garden: red, yellow and orange nasturtiums (which I know to be covered in caterpillars by now), a very tiny pear tree covered in miraculously many very large pears and a raised bed of green and purple herbs by the patio with the old wooden bench.

Every Day Acts of Bravery

on Wed 19 Mar 2014


It's Wednesday. Once again I'm on my way to the Jagonari Centre in Whitechapel to meet with some of the women who go to a drop-in class there on Wednesdays. I hadn't expected to have a 'Jagonari-Wendesday' again because at this point we were supposed to have finished our creative sessions with the women. But Rebecca and Mandy, two of the women who took part in our story-telling project hadn't been able to finish their stories which we wanted to include in our book about the project, 'The Fox and the Tiger: Tales from East London'. The stories are about every day acts of bravery which we had

On commandments, diversity and rope-making

on Fri 28 Feb 2014


In 2006 I started working in Hackney, in a community mediation service. In the same year a memorial tree had been planted in Hackney to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. I discovered the tree one day on the town hall square next to Hackney Empire and was struck by the words engraved in a metal plate at the bottom of the tree: “Commandment number one of any civilised society is this: let people be different”.

At that point I had only lived in the UK for two years, in London for one year and had just started to discover East London; I wasn't quite aware yet of its culturally rich heritage