My Story

  1. I wake up Smiling (Storyworks)

Most of my working life has been in administration but I gave up the ‘day job’ in 2006 at the age of 58 to follow my lifelong ambition of becoming a professional artist.  Having completed a digital storytelling course with Breaking Barriers, I graduated from the University of Glamorgan with a Masters degree in Arts in the Community in 2007, taking digital storytelling as my final dissertation.

I joined RSVP (an organisation for volunteers over 50) in 2008 as a volunteer to help me gain the skills I would need to work with community groups. I produced the above video about volunteering with RSVP through Storyworks Over the last couple of years I have gained a wide experience of working both with children and adults, in schools, sheltered housing complexes, local community venues and health environments.  I’ve recorded stories in such diverse settings as broom cupboards and boiler houses and have adapted my practice to incorporate hardware and software which is widely accessible, freely available and ready and waiting for participants to use at the end of my workshops if they wish to continue making stories of their own.

In 2008 I became Chair of Breaking Barriers when it evolved into a social enterprise under the new title  of Breaking Barriers Community Arts.

I produced my first digital story during a week’s training course with the local government run project Breaking Barriers in 2006 and quickly saw the opportunities of this genre for community regeneration. However, much of the process had been dependent upon expensive hardware and software which was beyond the reach of many communities’ funding, so I investigated ways to achieve the same results with a more flexible approach and with fewer and less expensive resources.

  1. "A chip off the old block"

The Pilot project is the result of this research which also informed part of my Master’s degree.  The stories were produced using an inexpensive hand held digital recorder and open source software which can be downloaded from the internet. The success I achieved upon completing the pilot project persuaded me that my methodology could form the basis of a successful business and Creative Arts Wales was set up in 2007 following completion of my Masters. Following some early successes, along with a small group of people, I was invited by Breaking Barriers to assist this local government run project to evolve into a social enterprise.  When the organisation was incorporated in 2008 I became its first Chairperson.

Although I enjoyed my time as Chair I began to realise that my success in the promotion of Breaking Barriers meant that I had less time to spend on making digital stories myself.  Also, I felt that the preponderance for high end technology and software was at odds with my own aims and objectives. So I decided not to stand for re-election and focus more fully on my own business, and have been working with community groups every since.


© Creative Arts Wales 2011, "I wake up Smiling" published with kind permission from Storyworks