Before training as a mediator in the 1990s, I had a full and varied work life in the public and private sectors, with extended stints as a Christmas postman; a chef in London and Paris; and as a journalist, writer and book editor, among other varied roles. I spent a year in the United States and worked and lived in France and Italy, picking up some language skills along the way.
Since becoming an accredited mediator, I have worked as a conflict trainer, facilitator and lecturer, applying ideas of how to creatively engage with conflict, difference and divide within teams, organisations and local communities. In 2000, this led to formation of Community Resolve, an innovative Bristol-based organisation that explored new ways of engaging with conflict across the city. The organisation had an impact way beyond its size, and continues to be an influence regionally, nationally and internationally.
Among my particular interests are bringing together different types of knowledge and insight, including practitioner and academic ideas and experience. I am a bottom-up kind of a thinker, with a deep respect for everyday wisdom, as well as embracing the idea of a complex world and all that implies for how we respond to challenging times. In working with individuals and groups, my interest lies in getting people to reflect on how they approach others, and what they bring to each of their encounters.
Between 2014 and 2017 I lived in Haarlem – just outside Amsterdam – providing me with some much-needed perspective on the UK. Although I returned to live in Devon in early 2018, my time in the Netherlands resulted in numerous ongoing creative and transdisciplinary projects, reminding me yet again how much there is to learn from other people and places.