Truth be known, my life goal is to simply connect better with myself. Art and culture helps me do this because culture reflects us back to ourselves while inspiring us to imagine what might be possible.
I trained as an Arts Administrator which basically means managing arts projects. I know. That's a thing. I didn't know that was a thing either. Where I came from we knew a lot about factory work but not much else. I only found out about the job because, one day when I was a teenager, I bumped into a friendly person in Leicester city centre, who asked why I wasn't in college and suggested I check out this course. I went home, phoned up the course and two weeks later I was embarking on a journey to I knew not quite where. This story tells you a lot about my lucky, naive but somehow guided journey, which has been spurred on by a bit of bravery.
This "process" led me down some wondrous paths - the National Theatre, Young Vic, Southbank Centre, to Head of Cinemas of the BFI. I've even travelled the world selecting films for film festivals (I know.That's a thing). Throughout, I've tried to keep a hand out for people like I once was - young, people of colour, the economically overlooked - at places like Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham or working with kids on ex-mining towns in Derbyshire or coaching and mentoring unlikely talent. I've also thrown big, bashy live experiences, like the legendary Black Panther BFI takeover or No Direct Flight, a link up of exciting filmmakers from the UK, Kenya and the US. For the last few years, I've been a Cultural Ambassador for London.
My real life change happened, however, when I trained as a coach with the brilliant RD1st. I learnt how to listen beyond boundaries, without judgement and with care. I now believe this to be the key to ending wars. Coaching, facilitation and deep listening became core to my work but also my life. I went onto become one of the founder faculty members of The School of Life helping to establish schools in Australia and Turkey.
I've continued to love chatting and creating. I've presented on culture programmes for BBC radio like Front Row, The Film Show and Saturday Review as well as my own radio docs. I write stories - my fiction writing once won a Penguin Award - and my short films have played in various festivals and on TV. I yearned to be immersed in art whilst listening to people's stories so I began collaborating with other artists to create installations where the stories traded are the ones the visitors brought with them.
So I've set up The Space To Come to unite all of these parts. The commitment and ability to really listen to people with the skill of curating deeply felt artistic experiences. This hybrid space is an experiment, a space to practice an approach that might make a difference in how we relate and therefore the world we go onto create. At the very least The Space To Come hopes to provide a restorative space for us sensitive new world builders.