Enrol Yourself_Learning Marathon showcase_Birmingham 2018

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Learning Marathon Birmingham 18-19

Six months ago a dozen people

Enrol Yourself is an award-

planted a dozen seeds, in the

winning social enterprise

form of ‘learning questions’

redesigning lifelong learning by

spanning topics of data,

harnessing the power of peer

grief, veganism, leadership,

groups to multiply individual

networks for black women

and collective development.The

and girls, creative careers, the

Learning Marathon is a 6 month

built environment, spirituality,

peer-led learning accelerator

branding, embodiment and more

designed to integrate into life

Since then we’ve been growing

alongside work.

these seeds alongside one another, into projects, ventures,

WEB: enrolyourself.com

meetups, games, interviews,

BLOG: medium.com/enrol-yourself

maps, ways of being and more. Now the Learning Marathon is drawing to a close, but a new chapter is just starting to unfurl.

TWITTER: @EnrolYourself INSTAGRAM: @enrol_yourself EMAIL: hello@enrolyourself.com

Andi Lightheart

Nardie Hanson

How can I hold a space that nurtures interdependent leaders and deep thinkers in Birmingham?

Where could veganism as a manifestation of spiritual connectivity to the Earth take our social, cultural, and cognitive evolution?

Cassie HumphriesMassey

Andre-Donovan N. Reid

Holly Doron

Romek Goj

How might citizen empowerment form the basis of changes in the urban environment?

How can I continue supporting myself and communicating about the process?

Rachel Donath

Anneka Deva

How can I keep using embodied learning in how I work and coach?

How might I cultivate a spirituality practice?

Verity ‘Vem’ Milligan

Thomas Tyrrell

How can I show that death, dying and grief can still mean life, love and hope?

How to stay in love with your creative calling when it becomes your vocation?

How might we gather and share ‘Ethical Data’ to help us build better places to live?

How can we make creative identities for ourselves, as artists?

Lisa Lucy G

Mikayla Jones

What is attribution and how can we use it as a tool to empower ourselves and others?

Can storytelling and meaningful conversations help Black women to heal and grow?

Andi Lightheart Question I leave with:

How can I hold a space that nurtures interdependent leaders and deep thinkers in Birmingham? Question I came in with: What triggers the transition from independent to interdependent ways of looking at the world?

Twitter: @alightheart andrewlightheart@gmail.com andrewlightheart.com

The shape of us, together When we get together, there’s something that exists between us, a shape, a vibe, a sound, a collective energy that is different from us as we exist separately. Let’s explore that through words and silence.

Something beautiful has been born out of this learning journey: The Circle of Curious Complexity. The Circle is, right now, a monthly supper and a monthly meetup for interdependent leaders and other deep thinkers in Birmingham. I started thinking I would do a review of the research and literature around how adults develop our capacity to deal with complexity and mess. I thought I would do ‘research’ by doing interviews with interdependent leaders, which would maybe turn into podcasts and maybe a book and maybe a PhD… I still might do all of that. All of that felt like a huge effort, and somewhat of a ‘should’.

What feels like a treat, a naughty joy, is holding the space for the Circle twice a month. The feel of the Circle is: warm, supporting, deep, light, incisive, emotional, shared, holding, quiet, hopeful. Replenishing. A nourishing haven. Talking about answering my learning question is a bit of a cheat as I’ve formed a question to which the Circle is the answer. My question currently is ‘How can I hold a nourishing space for interdependent thinker and other deep thinkers in Birmingham?’ The answer is the Circle. The other question is ‘How can I most coherently use my skills and capabilities to make the biggest impact in growing a more just and joyful world?’ The answer right now is: The Circle. How can I grow my capacity to support interdependent leaders and deep thinkers? The Circle.

What I’m looking for: I’d love to meet: People who want to be members of the Circle of Curious Complexity.

How can I be more myself? The Circle. It’s not the answer to everything, but it’s certainly an answer to some things. Twice a month. All welcome. You coming?

People who might want to fund doctoral research into how adults grow their capacity to look at complexity and mess in a human and humane way. We need more leaders and deep thinkers to emerge otherwise we’re not going to be here much longer. I’d love to find how we can support their growth.

Cassie HumphriesMassey Question I leave with:

How can I show that death, dying and grief can still mean life, love and hope? Question I came in with: How can we change attitudes to death to better support communities and families in grief?

Twitter: @NtWilderness c.humphriesmassey@gmail.com www.navigatingthewilderness.com

Navigating The Wilderness 52°06’36.0”N 1°29’24.2”W In exploring death, and how we relate with ourselves and our communities, I have come to believe we can do better. Through crafting, writing, storytelling and poetry, I’m inviting you to join me in The Wilderness, to challenge our kneejerk responses to death, and experience life in close connection.

My initial question asked ‘How can we change attitudes to death to better support communities and families in grief?’. I came to this question in grief, rebuilding after the death of my daughter Norah, and in the wake of so many conversations with so many others who had experienced grief, only to find that the way we handle grief in society serves to contribute to the suffering resulting from death. Whilst the passion behind my question came from a burning need to change the landscape for others, my learning journey has reacquainted me with my writer, my curiosity, my artist, my vulnerability, my voice, my academic, my confidence, my value, my motherhood, and all the aspects of my identity I had lost along my way. I came to my question with a notion of navigating the wilderness, and along the way found so much companionship, life and hope in the process of sitting alongside death and discomfort in grief, my learning journey has given me a compass to navigate, and a patience to hold steady in acceptance and admiration of the wilderness. In inviting others into the wilderness, holding hands with life apace with death, and confronting the reality of grief, I really believe we can confront death together, and show that death, dying and grief can still mean life love and hope.

a pattern that could enable some answers to my questions. Throughout, I have felt an overwhelming sense of missing voices. In the spaces that exist to talk and connect, through social media or in curated spaces, the majority of voices are largely white, middle class, and unrepresentative. In confronting death and creating spaces, we also need to confront our privileges and margins, and recognise the exclusionary nature of many spaces and communities.

Norah’s legacy has been central to this work, but we are not alone. Story after story came to join me on this journey, the names of our loved ones who existed only in silent grief. Whilst support is available in a limited way, all of the spaces we occupy seemed to find the reality of death and grief easier to ignore, opting for euphemisms and platitudes in the short term, and favouring silence and denial after that. I felt helpless in answering my question, but with each story and name that found me, I saw sparks of hope and relief. In talking about Norah, and my experiences of grief, I shared a sort of permission for others to share theirs. I saw this agency of sorts in a number of places, and whilst I still hold a reluctance to be the guardian of a licence to share, I began to see

How do we confront the inevitable, and bring the legacy of our loved ones with us, in a society that seems so disconnected from death? My sense is that in demonstrating human connection, and talking through death and grief, we can unite us with an openness in death, which will enable us to build capacity for a fullness of life, and support our communities in grief with generosity, love and hope, in place of silence, fear and othering.

What I’m looking for: I am looking for opportunities for story telling and sharing, readers for my writing, exhibition opportunities, funding potentials, connections that can help with building a wider platform, information on any way Norah and our work may have impacted you, and chats about death, grief, love, legacy and hope.

Holly Doron Question I leave with:

How might citizen empowerment form the basis of changes in the urban environment? Question I came in with: How might community engagement and empowerment become the norm for the built and unbuilt environment?

Twitter: @HollyRoseDoron holly@apec.ac www.apecarchitects.com

Conversation Mapping This has been a process of curiosity through conversations with new, familiar and re-acquainted minds: face-to-face, over the phone, from pages. Mapping these conversations reveals patterns of systems and disruption. In this case: looking at the traditional cycle of urban projects, and how citizen empowerment can be placed at the root of these changes.

What if more value was placed on the process (briefing, designing, making) than product (the building)? What if people got excited about the potential for changes in the area, but more excited about the process as an opportunity to explore ideas, build networks and develop skills?

What if the standard process of briefing and designing changes in the urban environment could contribute to existing participatory initiatives in neighbourhoods, or help to generate some if there aren’t any? What if people and organisations felt more comfortable talking about failed transitionary projects, about the ideas and needs unearthed from the process, about the failures lessons learnt, and shared these with others to help the inception or process of future projects? What if landowners weighed the risk and cost of involving more people in this process against the risk and cost if they don’t? What if this was a self-sufficient model that everyone would want to invest in, whether they’re creating a community kitchen, an office, or an industrial warehouse?

I’m not looking for a solution, more of an understanding of the systems influencing the problem. I’m looking for clues as to how we can introduce moments of participation and trustbuilding in our everyday practice, showing landowners what their shared problems are with other citizens, and what is achievable in their vision and resources, inspiring citizens to make their own impact, speaking to funders, decision makers and policy makers on what could be possible in making citizen empowerment the basis of changes in the urban environment.

What I’m looking for: People who would like to add their thoughts to the map. People who would like to use the map for their projects / ideas. Collaborators. Research funding.

Rachel Donath Question I leave with:

How can I keep using embodied learning in how I work and coach?

Question I came in with: Embodied learning?

Twitter: @Rachied5 rachel.donath@mills-reeve.com

Embodied Learning “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen” RUMI

Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic scholar and theologian, whose work is still very widely read today. This quote has been interpreted in a number of different ways, but for me it encapsulates my learning question in as much as it encourages us all to take more time to ‘tune in’ to different forms of knowledge beyond simply our ‘rational mind’. Embodied learning is learning with, from and through your body. So, imagine if someone asked you to share ‘your gut reaction’.... or to ‘follow your heart’, you would understand that they were encouraging you to connect with parts of your body that seemingly hold information that our minds may not. My own experience of embodied learning had been profound, offering a new way to look at situations, explore relationships and deepen self awareness. I wanted to see if I could use the Learning Marathon to offer that to others through my work as a coach, facilitator and trainer. I needed places to experiment and explore, to play with what I had learnt.

Leading 60 young people to explore their goals through an embodied timeline

So what might embodied learning look like? • Using physical space to explore relationships with things or people • Mapping systems on the floor to get a sense of the connections / disconnections - stepping into new perspectives • Using body scans to start interactions in a more mindful way • Listening carefully for a ‘felt sense’ of a next step (without knowing where it is coming from’) • Creating timelines to understand the relationship between the past / present and future • Paying attention to different parts of ourselves and their needs / inner conflicts All of these are exercises that I have run with groups and individuals over the past 6 months.

So what have I learnt? Embodied learning demands a high level of trust between the facilitator and the client, and therefore often needs much warming up to be successful. It can create discomfort for some. However for those who are engaged, it is often more memorable than other methods. It can go deeper quicker. Quotes from participants include: “Connecting with the physical response reveals different parts of enquiry to follow” “I accessed emotional responses, not just well-worn thinking grooves” “I acknowledged (again) something I have been hiding”

And its impact on me? It has unleashed a creative side of me which is more playful and confident. I am shifting from teacher to facilitator in my group work especially. My work in coaching is becoming more transformative. I have a much better understanding of how to use myself as a coaching instrument to support and challenge others. I work slower in order to speed up. So what next? My journey will continue beyond this marathon to continue finding avenues for this work, to reading more into the theory behind it and challenging traditional bodies of knowledge. I want to work with more people who are interested and curious.

Working as a group to explore the Learning Marathoners’ relationship to their question

What I’m looking for: Contacts also working in this space. Spaces you think might be receptive to experimenting with embodied learning.

Verity ‘Vem’ Milligan Question I leave with:

How to stay in love with your creative calling when it becomes your vocation?

Question I came in with: How to develop the skills to be able to create a sustainable creative career?

Twitter: @vemsteroo admin@veritymilliganphotography.com www.veritymilliganphotography.com

Staying in Love with Photography When I entered this process my question was predominantly one of practicality, looking at all the aspects of this rollercoaster of a career I appear to be forging in the diverse and often unforgiving world of professional photography. In June, I was looking forward to a six-month taster of what it would be like to exist as a full-time creative, which felt like the ideal time to explore my learning question. I was on the cusp of an experiment, and I was both nervous and excited.

During this process, my learning question appeared to split into two distinct sections; the practical, financial aspects of working as a creative and the emotional, self-development side. Throughout the process, it became evident that the practical, financial aspect seemed to be taking care of itself, and although it cannot be fully extrapolated, my instinct was to focus on self-development and what it would take to remain in love with this vocation whilst struggling with the ubiquitous anxiety that is an inevitable side effect when a pastime morphs into a full-time career. The pivotal point for me was during the meet up session that I facilitated when, with some encouragement, I embarked on some embodied learning with the rest of the group. Out of this came a rather emotional realisation that much of my creative endeavours, both personal and professional, felt like an advertisement for me and my work and consequently I had lost sight of the enjoyment I found in photography before it became such a huge part

of my professional life. Working with other members of the cohort reminded me that all of this started because I enjoyed sharing my work and others responded to that. Consequently, my question morphed from its original form into “How to stay in love with your creative calling when it becomes your vocation?” It’s not a question that will change the world, but realising that I need to get back to the enjoyment that brought me to this point in my life in the first place may well change my world.

What I’m looking for: Out of this learning journey I’m hoping to finally launch my own YouTube channel focusing on landscape photography. My biggest issue is my confidence in my own self-image, so I’d love to work with someone to help me work on that. Otherwise, just encouragement and support would be amazing.

Lisa Lucy G Question I leave with:

What is attribution and how can we use it as a tool to empower ourselves and others? Question I came in with: What is attribution and how can we use it as a tool to empower ourselves and others?

Twitter: @popinuk lisa.lucy@pop-in.co.uk www.pop-in.co.uk

Democratising Attribution, Decentralising Attribution & Power Attribution is usually delivered in the form of a license, bestowed or earned by an individual, to be seen as an accolade of achievement or recognition. For example: • In architecture: accreditation, authorship, awards • In film/ cinema: credits, awards • In journalism: authorship, publication, referencing Throughout this learning journey, I have come to a few conclusions about attribution through my own lived experiences and also the conversations that I have had with fellow peers. ‘Attribution is granted bestowed or earned’, ‘attribution is in the eye of the beholder’, ‘attribution can be timeless’, ‘attribution is seen as a scarcity’ ‘attribution can be both positive and negative’ ‘attribution is not just about people, it is about causality’. Attribution ultimately creates a ‘You vs I’ duality with an emphasis to distinguish between specific ‘attributes’ assigned to you and I.

Where do we encounter problems in attribution? “Give credit where it is due”. When attribution isn’t granted where it is due, it can affect an individual’s access to opportunity and empowerment. Attribution is closely related to story narration and archiving but problems can arise from the ways in which people narrate stories. People who narrate these stories hold the power and are in fact seen as the gatekeepers of attribution. How can we use attribution to empower ourselves and others? To answer this question, I first had to give the term ‘empowerment’ relevance in the context of attribution. I hosted an appreciative inquiry session with my fellow Learning Marathon peers.

The aim of that session was to find out what we are really good at and continue to do what we are really good at. In a culture that doesn’t allow people to be proud of themselves, as a group we aimed to leave cynicism at the door and embody these positive pre-phrases ‘I am, I feel, I can, I could,...’ before answering the following questions; • When have you created something or made something that you were really proud of? • What did you create? • Did you receive attribution? • What are the positive feelings you encountered? • What could be done differently? The aim for doing this exercise was to introduce this method to the group as a tool to encourage people find out what they are good at and appreciate those positive attributes by continuing to practise them.

As part of the session we also made ‘empowerment treasure boxes’ where we assigned specific attributes that we appreciated about each other. And the aim of this was to remind ourselves of the positive attributes that others see within us to empower us on a day to day basis. Empowerment is defined as ‘the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights’. We can use attribution to empower ourselves and others even in small doses such as the ‘empowerment

What I’m looking for: I am looking for people that are interested in talking about how we can use attribution as a tool to empower ourselves and others.

Nardie Hanson Question I leave with:

Where could veganism as a manifestation of spiritual connectivity to the Earth take our social, cultural, and cognitive evolution? Question I came in with: Where could veganism take our social, cultural, and cognitive evolution?

Twitter: @NardieHanson nardiehanson@hotmail.co.uk

Vegolution and considering the potential of veganism through the power of play Vegan activism, like most movements that hope to incite systematic change, is often shouty. Instead let’s house this conversation in a safe and fun way using play and sci-fi and all that can be hopeful in discussions about the future. We can have an expansive conversation about real practicable change, or equally we can have a comforting daydream about fantastical possibilities‌over a board game, in my den!

I started this learning journey to try my hand (and mind) at something other than academia with the simple question: Where could veganism take our social, cultural, and cognitive evolution? Ok, so it would have been simple enough for the academic researcher in me to answer. Read some papers, speak to some experts, have a think about potential future trajectories based on evidence of the now: simple. But the vegan part of the question has become increasingly bigger than I had originally imagined.

I have discovered a deeper connection to veganism. It is not a dietary choice, it is a lifestyle, something spiritual that connects me with the Earth. Through practicing veganism I feel connected to something very ancient and my question now reflects this: Where could veganism, as a manifestation of spiritual connection to the Earth take our social, cultural, and cognitive evolution?

anyone could try. To look forward with hope. And what is more hopeful than play? This, and my wish to produce something other than another thesis, led me to create a board game Vegolution.

Veganism for me means showing compassion for all and working to end unnecessary suffering. I want to find a different way to have a conversation about the potentials of veganism. I want to look forward, not just at the progression of our species but also to imagine something tangible, something

What I’m looking for: Gaming buddies, open conversation and a hope for the future (willingness to change for that future would be ideal!), and potentially, any help or advice about where to start in launching Vegolution as a product.

Andre-Donovan N. Reid Question I leave with:

How might we gather and share ‘Ethical Data’ to help us build better places to live?

Question I came in with: Data Fiction and Ethical Data as a Tool for Local Agency

Twitter: @andrereid_ andre.reid@kiondo.co.uk www.kiondo.co.uk

Let’s Play a Game.. CanWE

I am showcasing a snippet of my ‘CanWE’ workshop that has emerged out from my exploration of my learning question over the last 6 months. Through play in this drop-in workshop, we will create a living data visualisation to enable participants to share their creative ideas and skill-sets with people who may be able to support them to build them.

Ethical Data? Really I mean stories, narratives. We all have a story, and the story we want to create. Ethical data means letting our narratives speak within the statistics that govern decision making. In my learning journey, I chose to explore how our narratives can support us to create better places to live. What gets in the way when we want to create things in the world around us? Sometimes we don’t feel confident because no one else around us thinks like us or seem interested in what we are thinking about. Other times, we don’t feel competent to as we have never made what we are thinking about before, and are not sure if what we are thinking about will look like what we imagine in our minds.

Andre’s Learning Marathon workshop

What I’m looking for:

We can break through this barrier, and in doing so, we can help others to break through this barrier too. I’ve created a social experience to enable people from various backgrounds to have fun whilst they share ideas, stories & experiences through play. Why? Because connection is the most limiting factor behind us doing what we want to do and feeling like we can make the choice to do it.

I am looking to evolve this workshop series into a programme of activities to support more people actively wanting to create things within their city, neighbourhoods and homes. I am looking for designers/ engineers/ artists who would be interested in helping to inspire people. I am also looking for a person with experience in programming events to support me in building an engaging events programme for KIONDO’s growing community.

Romek Goj Question I leave with:

How can I continue supporting myself and communicating about the process?

Question I came in with: How could a space for self-care and growth be created in the midst of overwhelm?

Twitter: @romekgoj roman.goj@gmail.com notebits.io

Coding for overwhelm

I’m working on putting the principles behind the notebits software I’m developing into practice by collaborating with Holly. We’re preparing an interactive visualisation that I hope to combine with other elements of notebits and explore using the resulting tool with André, and others.

The one phrase that best captures an answer to my learning question at the moment is: “trust the process.” During the Learning Marathon, I gave myself the time and the space to focus more not just on taking notes but also on reviewing them. I discovered just how magical the process of reviewing is. Far from being just putting snippets of notes into categories, organising into folders, labelling, etc., it is a process of self-discovery, of growing my awareness, of cultivating the capacity to care deeply. For personal and professional reasons, the last several months have been a difficult time. Being supported by my fellow Enrollers allowed me to persevere in making the best of using note-taking to create a supportive and reflective space. Through the process, I discovered new levels of acceptance for the various “levels of functioning” that I can be at - seeing how various conditions affect my ability to process information, to be creative. Practicing adapting my support systems depending on the current “level of functioning” has been incredible… and, having gone through a difficult time, I discovered just how supportive some of my existing note-taking practices are.

My trust, patience, appreciation of the process involved in actively managing my mental health has been steadily growing, supported by sharing my journey with other Enrollers. In the Learning Marathon, each of us prepared a workshop based on a skill of ours that others wanted to hear more about. In preparing my list of skills, I focused on programming, neuroimaging - the areas of experience I feel comfortable with... my fellow Enrollers suggested I prepare a workshop on journaling. This surprised me. Facilitating a space for everyone to share their journaling practices (whether current, past, or desired) has been a wonderful experience. In describing my own practice of

journaling, I mentioned depression, anxiety, hopelessness and felt not crippled but empowered. It was beautifully supportive. Hearing what effect the workshop had on my fellow participants’ journaling over the following weeks was a true gift.

What I’m looking for: I will be continuing to explore and grow my note-taking practices to better support myself in life and in work. Experiencing sharing my journey with others was invaluable and I will be looking for others who actively use note-taking for self-care and personal and professional growth.

Anneka Deva Question I leave with:

How might I cultivate a spirituality practice?

Question I came in with: How might I cultivate a spirituality practice?

Twitter: @annekadeva anneka@enrolyourself.com

There’s always time for tea I have created a visualisation of my morning rhythms every weekday over the course of three months, showing their ebb and flow over time.

I had been wanting to find a way to cultivate a sense of peace and stillness in my heart and my mind; to grow my capacity for acceptance, insight, and clarity. I was interested to learn more about spiritual practices that were rooted in India, the land of my ancestors, but quickly came upon a stumbling block. I found that my spiritual heritage had been turned into others’ fashion icons, whether this be ‘yoga’ classes divorced from any connection to spirituality, meditation workshops centred on ‘stress reduction’, or ‘Eat Pray Love’ style ‘Ashram experiences’... I realised none of this was for me. I could not connect with something that at its core felt appropriative and lacking in respect.

I felt stuck, seeking some sort of wisdom guide, but what, where, who? A pivotal moment in my learning journey came when I stumbled upon an artist and teacher who shared the kind of teaching I was searching for. Ideas ‘rooted in real wisdom, cultivated deeply over years, not just the insight of the moment.’ I realised that such learning would take years to foster, and I needed to make space in my life for this. Inspired by a conversation with a friend, I decided to create ‘a morning rhythm’, a set activities that I might do each morning, rather than a rigid routine. I unplugged my internet in the mornings, which was a big shift for me (having previously scrolled away immediately upon waking). I jotted down the flow of my mornings each day for three months, allowing things to unfold without judgement. Some mornings I found five minutes to make a cup of peppermint tea. Other mornings I journalled or read, Some days I meditated. Over these three months, I have learnt that my mornings are infinitely better without the distraction of the internet. I have recognised that my evenings fully dictate how much space for stillness I can create in my mornings, and creating ‘evening rhythms’ is an important next step in my journey.

I have learnt that my commitment ebbs and flows, and there are deeper journeys to be explored and unravelled relating to that. I believe that most people can create even just five minutes each day for stillness, if you hold the intention clearly enough. The challenge is in trusting that this quest is, indeed, worthwhile. My hunch is that truly learning about and cultivating a spiritual practice will take time, and deep commitment, and it won’t be straight-forward. But my journey begins the way any journey begins: by putting one foot in front of another, and beginning each day anew, again and again and again.

“Everything in the universe that appears to be separate is actually united.”

What I’m looking for: - People with spiritual heritage from India who have also been on a journey to find out more about their inner life and deeper wisdoms - Stories of others who work to craft a daily stillness practice, and how they approach the challenges that they face. - Recommendations of a retreat/ spiritual centre that actively works to not be harmful, appropriative or ignorant of colonisation.

Thomas Tyrrell Question I leave with:

How can we make creative identities for ourselves, as artists?

Question I came in with: How can we create ourselves as a brand?

Twitter: @The_Ridlaa tyrrellfilms@yahoo.co.uk https://ridlaa.blogspot.com

The Making Of Mars Attacks I will be showcasing the current pre production of the Black Hole Club, bursary funded music video: Mars Attacks. The vision, ideas, relevance and inspiration behind creating content as an independent artists and where I plan to take this.

I began the Learning Marathon thinking about how I could hone in further on what I wanted to explore as an artist, and how I could make that possible, whilst inspiring others. How can we enable our art to support us so that we can keep a strong and positive mindset, and in turn, generate income from our skills so that we can continue doing what we love to do? Going deeper into the question, I also wanted to create a clear understanding of my own purpose and longing for true happiness and explore which values mean a lot to me. Answering these questions about myself has slowly but surely, started crafting a pathway that I am comfortable with and I have laid down myself. I am a passionate film-maker, and winning awards and competitions has confirmed that others like what they see. However since relocating back to Birmingham, it has been slow to earn from this as I am having to create new associates, clients and customers. Since starting the marathon I won a project with the BBC. Through this time, I learnt so much about core values about who I work with and how I work is vitally important to me. I also realised how much having my own time to be creative and expressing myself is so important. Going forward, I’d love to develop Tyrrell Films, to develop a strong client-base through creating great films, and grow merchandise

sales from increasing interests in t-shirts with my ‘Alien’ illustrations. From this, I could then invest into my work as the rapper: Ridlaa. So how do I make my life as an artist more possible? By having a clear understanding of my core strengths as well as technical abilities. By having confidence in my craft and using this as an advantage. And ensuring I am visible on the internet and using great content to inspire others who may also be trying to figure out the same thing. Finally, I’ve learnt that the most important thing for any artist is to know what inspires us as individuals and to have a core belief in what we create... To not follow trends but instead, to follow our hearts.

Looking for: Work/funding opportunities: People looking for promo video work, music videos and short films, new job opportunities, People looking to host creative workshops in a simple yet effective way. Festival creators (Both film & music). Funding for artists. Paid performances. Mentors: To help inspire me, to help strengthen my learning journey, to help me see past my hidden illness, to champion my work online and encourage me to approach new and exciting opportunities. Collaborators: People who use Live/ Max for visuals, film makers, hiphop music producers, lyricists, printers, photographers, designers, innovators, web designers (Wordpress/Jupiter), motivators, people with access to showrooms and creative spaces to play content/perform in.

Mikayla Jones Question I leave with:

Can storytelling and meaningful conversations help Black women to heal and grow?

Question I came in with: How can I create a space for black women to heal and grow?

Twitter: @Mikayla_Sinead Mikayla.jones19@gmail.com

Powerful Conversations A sample of accounts shared from various Black women I know when discussing the power of conversation and storytelling amongst Black women. The reasons for a space to work through the micro and macro aggressions we face on a daily basis. I believe these accounts helped to heal them, me and any future listener. I invite you to listen, learn and let me know what you felt...

It is really hard to put into words just how much this whole process has done for and meant to me. This journey has been such a significant experience for me! I have evolved as a person, I am more sure of myself and the impact I can make. It is so amazing that I have unearthed new depth to me as a person, I had no idea it was there. Excitingly I know there is still so much discovering to do! This question is very personal. In the beginning I basically wanted to set up a space that I, at the time, really needed. What I came to understand is that we have created these spaces for ourselves already through our WhatsApp groups, friendly catch up over coffee or cocktails, Instagram posts, Podcasts, YouTube channels, Festivals, Media publications, Film, Music, we have SO MANY spaces.

I see now my role in this is to shine light on them and link more of us to what is out there. Because that’s what I am, I am a connector. I am so proud my question exposed to me the awesome power of Black Women. This journey gave me permission to pull out something that I didn’t consciously even know was within me. I have healed so much during this process, I have totally evolved into a better, stronger, more present version of myself and I now walk each day even more confidently in my Badassery! Oprah, I’m coming!

What I’m looking for: I want sustainability of the awesome feeling! I want to hear from someone that does not think this work is needed or has tried unsuccessfully with something like this, so I can gain some experience of what my future critics may say and how I can deal with them. I’d like to speak to organisations/ individuals/trusts/foundations that want to sponsor/fund/donate towards this. I want to hear from organisations that want to understand how they can be more inclusive, understanding and responsive to the micro and macro aggressions black women face every day. I’m looking to speak with someone that can help me funnel my big ideas into logical steps. I’m keen to build more National and International scale relationships for sharing stories. I am looking for a stage/platform to interview black women.

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