I grew up in Swindon and attended Swindon's first Comprehensive School. I always wanted to be a journalist but the school dissuaded me (this was the 1970's!) so after a few false starts I fell into psychiatric nursing. Back in the days of locked wards, I found this both a traumatic and fascinating experience. Once qualified, I worked as a nurse therapist with troubled children in a therapeutic community. Alongside counselling, I was able to use my dance experience with the children and gained training in dance and drama as therapy.
After I had my children, I left nursing (although still worked as a school counsellor) and returned to college to study for a Combined Studies degree in Psychology and Performance Arts. By this time, I was dancing with a performance group and more drawn to the arts than the sciences.
I took these interests into my work as a Dance Development Officer. My aim was to bring dance to as wide a range of people as possible. I toured a dance performance piece with a group of adults with learning difficulties and set up and managed a dance project for older people and those with mental health issues. I also worked as a trainer for health care employees.
Alongside this, I worked as a freelance art practitioner, working in schools and local theatres. i offered dance, drama, creative writing and art sessions to the children. One career highlight was a project I did for the Arts Council: inspiring children in deprived areas of Gloucestershire to love books. Working as Poet in Residence at an inner city school in Bristol was another inspiring project.
In 1998 I obtained an MA in Fine and Media Arts from the University of Gloucestershire. My focus was on writing for performance, which included text based writing and writing through the body (movement and dance). The university kept me on as Artist in Residence. This gave me time to develop my interest in certain aspects of women's writing, particularly in the area of contemporary poetry. I did some part time lecturing here in the subjects of Arts in Society, Practical Performance Skills and Women in Performance, as well as dissertation supervision.
From 2000 -2007 I studied for a PhD in Women's Voices in Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. This included a section of my own creative work to highlight the topics under debate. Since then, I've continued to write poetry and have joined several poetry groups. You can find out a bit more about my poetry practice here.
Increasingly, I enjoy writing for children and have completed nine books for different age ranges.
Link to World Poetry Writing Month bio.