…and how to create story-based events to connect with your community

Tiny stories written on pieces of wood, to be left in a forest

Humans understand the world through stories. We’re read fairytales which teach us not to be greedy or mean. Stories tell us to be careful, or to remember others, or to place us gently in the shoes of others. It’s been shown that reading fiction can improve our behaviour, and increase levels of empathy.

But, of course, stories don’t just exist in the pages of a book.

Stories are everywhere. They’re in how tell someone about what happened to you in the supermarket that time, and in how you deliver…

From exploring the world, to exploring the neighbourhood.

Small sticks in the forest

The main way I keep a marker on time at the moment is through social media. Yesterday, Facebook Memories reminded me that it had been a year since I took my kid along to a Water Puppet show in Ho Chi Minh City. Before the reminder popped up, I’d have sworn it was both three months and six years since we sat in a small theatre on a sticky afternoon in Vietnam, watching some 11th century whimsy.

We spent seven months last year travelling as a small family, staying in random places…

What I’ve learnt from explaining stuff to young audiences.

Stories I hid in the woods, for a recent project

I’m currently researching ways to connect young people to data, and it’s making me think a lot about the way I’ve tried to communicate with younger audiences in my career. I know it’s some people’s worst nightmare to have a room full of 6 year olds waiting to hear what you have to say, but knowing how to keep the attention of people who can’t hide boredom has, I really hope, made me a better communicator.

Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way, which could help when you’re…

Or: it’s really probably better not to be good at everything

There are so many resources online to help people become better communicators. On Medium alone there are swathes of beautifully crafted articles to improve confidence, increase the clarity of your message and how to learn to speak like a hundred angels flew out of your mouth and made the whole world better.

Photo by Chris Ainsworth on Unsplash

But…maybe…it’s ok that not everyone is an expert communicator. It’s even important that we’re not all good at everything, and to recognise that we don’t need to all be fully independent problem solving superheroes.

We’re always being…

Back to blogging with a new kind of exploration

Autumn Leaves, image by author

It’s been a while. And…it’s been quite a year, eh?

This blog was originally sort of based around travelling — but just as I was finding my feet with it, travelling freely became a thing which was talked about in the past tense. It was something I sighed about over photos which were only two months old but which seemed like a glance at history.

So, this isn’t a travel blog any more. It’s time for a different kind of exploration.

As I, like everyone, try and work out what life…

Finding tiny actions to give the day direction

I have the kind of brain which needs a to do list to get moving in the morning. On bad days it includes things like ‘eat breakfast’ and on good days it includes all the things, but it’s my to do list which yanks me off social media and channels my nervous energy into something which could earn me a tea break.

It’s taken a while to accept that I need to be my own nanny, with a series of tasks and concrete rewards. …

Where does travel writing live in a locked down world?

Everything changes, it turns out, during a pandemic. As the world faces unprecedented behavioural changes, it feels inappropriate to talk about the travelling adventures you just left behind. Is it like yelling how alive you feel at a funeral, or is it an optimistic ray of daylight for people who are already sick of living in the same few rooms?

Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

We recently had to abandon our long-term travel plans and head back to our home country of Scotland. …

Travelling has made me realise a lot of things…including that it might be ok to want to earn money.

Like many people working in the Arts, saying that you would like to earn more money makes my toes curl up in a ball. As part of my meandering career trajectory I’ve negotiated myself a pay decrease. Twice. I often get offered work without being told what it pays, and have started jobs kinda assuming that it’ll all work out in the end.

Sometimes it did, sometimes it really, really didn’t.

I’ve been travelling with my family for the past five…

Things I’ve learned from visiting museums and cultural sites with a preschooler

Our family is currently travelling, trying to get a glimpse of some of the world before our son starts school and getting away from daily life becomes harder. So far we’ve visited nine countries, countless cities and a lot (a lot) of museums.

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

It’s what you do, right? Visiting the key cultural sites of the area and museums which tell its history are an important way of understanding where you are, and paying your respects to the people who came before you. …

Being away from home means working out what you need to hold yourself together.

When I was a kid, I was sitting in the back of my parent’s car, heading for a weekend away. I realised, when we were about halfway there, that I’d forgotten Bronwyn. I screamed out loud.

Bronwyn was (well, is) a small brown bear who used to have a pretend heartbeat, who smells weirdly like pickled onion crisps and who I have loved with a high percentage of my heart since I was very small. She came places with me. I told her things. I cuddled…

Sian Bevan

Exploring where data and young audiences meet || sometimes funny, always curious

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