Talk for a Change is a Community Interest Company. We currently comprise three full time directors and a growing number of associates. Our directors and associates have varying and complementary professional specialisms.
Between 2001 and 2011 Talk for a Change directors were all national specialist advisers for the Department of Communities and Local Government, deployed into areas where local intelligence and national indicators demonstrated the presence of community tension and a risk to community cohesion. We have worked with 65 Local Authorities and a diverse range of voluntary organisations and communities, on a broad range of challenging issues.
I first became interested in peacebuilding and conflict resolution when the conflict in Northern Ireland escalated in the 1960s and 1970s. I was a child hearing the news and I strongly believed there must be a more creative non-violent way to sort out such disputes.
I worked as a youth and community worker and a social worker for many years; in 2000 I left full time work to study for a Post Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution at Bradford University Peace Studies Department. I also qualified as a Civil and Commercial mediator.
Since 2002 I’ve worked in communities on Community Cohesion and Good Relations supporting local people and agencies by facilitating difficult dialogues directly, and by offering training, advice and guidance. I have been a specialist adviser to Department of Communities and Local Government, helping to strengthen cohesion and resilience.
I have written a range of publications and guidance to contribute to the growing knowledge in our field.
I live in Newcastle upon Tyne and work across England.
I have been working in conflict transformation and peace building internationally and in the UK for over seventeen years. My inspiration for wanting to work with conflict began whilst working with young people in penal institutions in the UK and Brazil and from my experiences as a VSO volunteer in Bangladesh.
From 2002, I worked as an advisor to the UK Government where I contributed to the development of the national community cohesion, conflict resolution and community engagement agendas. This work primarily focused on improving relations between communities where divisive narratives were present.
I also have extensive experience in participatory arts and currently teach on the Applied Theatre: Drama in Educational, Community & Social Contexts MA programme at Goldsmiths University, London.
I am also a trustee for the independent arts charity Peoples Palace Projects.
Currently I am leading on Talk for a Change’s partnership with Peaceful Change initiative, supporting peace building initiatives in Libya and Syria.
I have worked in conflict transformation for over 20 years, with a specific focus on young people, particularly those at risk of violence. I believe that all young people can contribute positively to their communities, given the right opportunities and support.
I was part of the senior leadership team at the national youth charity, Leap Confronting Conflict for a number of years and was responsible for the design and development of action research projects including programmes and curriculum focusing on leadership, gangs, territorialism, and knife and weapon use.
I have been an advisor to the Department of Communities and Local Government contributing to strengthening community cohesion and building resilience in local areas, and have contributed to national policy and practice through a range of publications and guidance.
I have a background in theatre and the arts, having founded a theatre company in my early 20s, and I am Research Assiociate for People United, an arts and kindness charity.
I am also a volunteer coach for the CEO of BelEveUK – a social enterprise working with young women and girls in Lambeth, London.
I live in Hackney, London.