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Words are not just uttered from the lips, but the way we move, write, speak and interact can either promote peace or create division. 

From fake news on social media and gossip in the street to profound speeches, blogs and books which can transform our lives, we hear so many stories nowadays whether they be junk food for our minds or carefully crafted to feed our souls. 

We have such a huge array of mediums to now consume, create and communicate in more ways than ever before. 

But the leading yet archaic technology in driving deep state-of-the-art human connection is story-telling. 

Story-telling can powerfully create a more peaceful wholesome world and yet it can also create huge divisions. 

The kaleidoscope impact it offers can be propaganda or transcend to heal the world. 

   Something that has depleted me when having to hit targets for how many online news stories I can recreate, thrash out and publish per hour as a young journalist on a national newspaper, churning click-bait to drive revenue or an art form which has written me out of the depths of despair which has inspired my grassroots reporting for regionals.  

We need space to create, to let our cluttered minds swirl as they transcend into stillness to comprehend our increasingly polluted world of excess, cutting through the noise to deeply connect. 

We need space to create, to let our cluttered minds swirl and transcend into stillness to truly express our emotions which are too often stifled in our increasingly shouty and busy world. 

We can find creativity and deep story-telling is trashed as quickly as fast fashion and fad diets but the art of communication must not be lost because it fosters a deeper connection with ourselves, the world and with others. 

As we move with the harsh Hokey Cokey of the Pandemic, I have been connecting with other creatives to discuss the importance of multi-dimensional stories to unite us all regardless of background. 

“Telling unheard stories through voices, art, drama, in a visible setting” 

“Drama, role play and storytelling are incredible ways to allow people to communicate in all manner of ways, no one way is the right way. We don’t solely focus on the voice. Through acting and playing it’s easy to read bodies, emotions, reactions and expressions.” 

Explains Rebecca of Stride Theatre whose aim is to make performing arts accessible to all through working with a range of adults with learning difficulties and community groups, based in the visible and accessible setting of The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield. 

How do we ensure that people who share their lived experiences are valued? How do we ensure their stories are heard to create change in communities? How do we mainstream storytelling as a way of sharing learning, building relationships and bridging divides?

These are all questions myself and other passionate community reporters will be discussing at The Future of Lived Experience Storytelling Conference.

I know as someone who discovered journalism through a calling to speak out from the perspective of my own seldom-heard community in which I was born and bred, rather than just sweep in, interpreting my subjective view with the pressures of a fast and at times heartless news agenda.

As Hayley Trowbridge, from People’s Voice Media who is organising the Institute of Community Reporters Conference, says: ”Community Reporting is basically a way of bringing people’s stories, experiences and ideas together so that we can collectively find ways to make the world around us a better place to be. 

“Taking the time to listen to different perspectives – including ones that may challenge your own – is a way of understanding through empathy how different people experience the world differently. There is power in people’s experiences being described in their own words – a chance to really connect, person to person.”

How do we share these stories to have the greatest impact possible? 

I grew up in newspaper-loving homes with talk radio on first thing as the kettle boiled then breakfast watching tv news then chatter on the school run or music in the car. I loved dancing, singing and drama and creative writing and when I reached my teens with the emergence of mobile phones and social media emerged. 

In my case, I’m fortunate that my heritage has enabled me to straddle the worlds of traditional media and art with the wider sharing tool of the social media wagon. 

This is reflected in my work as a journalist, speaker, content creator and published author which helps me to share and tell multidimensional stories on multiple platforms using digital creativity. We hear about how these worlds collide and clash with influencers being branded as fake or the conspiracy theories around the traditional news agenda. 

But actually when it comes to publishing and extensive, I believe carefully crafted content, creatively aligning a variety of mediums online and offline, may just be the solution to engage and change the universe for the better. 

Hence why, “Uniting Creative businesses across the North and encouraging them to come together, to unite, share their experiences and collaborate will be extremely powerful in helping to shape the future and create change,” explains Sarah Novotny, of GC Business Growth Hub who are hosting the Creative Leaders Festival which aims to connect, inspire, and energise Creative Industry professionals from across the North of England, such events will also “play a key role in the recovery of the UK economy.” 

At Creative Leaders Festival, I’ll be discussing the evolving media world and the future of the theatre with the likes of Northern Ballet, Sparkle Influencer Community, and politicians. In Summer, I’ll also be sharing more seldom-heard stories and my own lived experience at the Institute of Community Reporters event. 

With thanks to AD:VENTURE for the introduction… after all it’s all about celebrating, collaborating and connecting one another! Sophie also writes and is an ambassador for their free business support: https://ad-venture.org.uk/self-care-for-start-ups-managing-your-mental-health/ 

Book for both events for free, go to: https://www.mamamei.co.uk/2021/05/15/story-telling-to-heal-divide-or-to-prosper-creativity-connection-health-is-wealth/ 

With thanks to Creative Minds and CoActive Charity for enabling me to get involved with this powerful initiative! 

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