Our first Being The Story events ware held in 2016, 2017 and 2018. You can watch all of the powerful talks from the day here.

  • Documenting The Legacy of War

    Giles Duley spoke about the ability photography can have to transform lives. Recounting how a small gift changed his own life and how that led to his work documenting the refugee crisis in Lebanon for the UNHCR. Duley tells the stories of normal families caught up in the horrors of the Syrian civil war, and his belief that each act, no matter how small, can create positive change.

  • Turning Pain into Power through the Power of Love

    What do you do when you’re faced with life changing challenges which invade your quality of life, environment and community? In a society where regeneration is implemented but it seems that only the structures and systems have changed. The People that count have been further disempowered the impact of youth violence has risen causing more pain in the community. In her talk Lorraine shared her quest of how she turns Pain into Power through the Power of Love.

  • My Journey to Europe

    Hassan shared his experience of turning the camera on himself to record this life-risking journey that thousands of refugees have made. Now living in London, he reflected on how his journey and resettlement have impacted upon him. He has provided a voice for many unheard refugee stories and he discussed the implications of this.

  • Telling my story to help others share theirs

    Mandy shared her personal story of being in an abusive relationship and how this led her to campaign about domestic abuse. Through sharing her experiences, Mandy wants to raise awareness and increase understanding of domestic abuse.

  • Building on our experience to change the future

    Andiamo recounted their journey so far; how their difficult personal experience spurred them on to advance this technology to ensure that no child anywhere in the world has to wait more than a week for their orthotics device. They drive forward through empathy, designed around the child and their family’s life and want to bring their social tech to as many families as possible.

  • My Beautiful Black Dog

    Brigitte explored how performance can be used in mental health education and will be performing a selection of songs and poems from her critically acclaimed ‘My Beautiful Black Dog’ which tackles the complexity of our mental health and challenges the stigma that surrounds depression – but it’s not depressing – it’s joyous, funny and hopeful. Brigitte has performed at Reading and Leeds Festivals, Latitude, Bestival and sold out runs at the South Bank WOW festival and Hackney Showroom.

  • Dropping the P Bomb

    Emma shared her personal story of how being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at a young age changed her view of the condition. She discussed why she is trying to raise awareness of Parkinson’s so that more young people realise it can affect them too. Through her social media campaigning, Emma has done so much to raise the profile of this condition and we heard what Being the Story has meant to her.

  • Re-writing the Labels that Hold Us Back

    Sam shared his own personal story of how he overcame barriers from his tough background and rejected the labels given to him to become a successful social entrepreneur. He challenged us to help support and empower future generations and give them the confidence to choose their own identity.

  • Why Jodie is Fighting for Equal Opportunities

    Disabled people are four times as likely to be unemployed as the non-disabled. Many are not being given the opportunity to show what they have to offer facing barriers to finding employment. Jodie knows this from personal experience, she overcame these challenges and is now taking a stand to ensure young people with disabilities are given more equal employment opportunities. She won’t be stifled by systems; she reaches out directly to chief executives to bring about change for other young people like her.

  • A Mile In My Shoes

    A Mile in My Shoes is an interactive shoe shop where visitors are invited to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – literally. This exhibit holds a diverse collection of shoes and audio stories that explore our shared humanity. From a sewage worker to a sex worker, a war veteran to a prison psychiatrist, visitors are invited to walk a mile in the shoes of a stranger whilst listening to their story, taking a physical and emotional journey. They collect new stories and shoes at each location that they exhibit, and brought a selection of stories and shoes to Conway Hall in 2016.

  • The Power of Stories to Make the Invisible Visible

    Sue’s mantra to “find the story and give the client a voice” guides her work. At Being The Story 2016 she described what her “normal” looks like. Sue shared her belief that in order to find solutions for people, it’s important to know their stories. By finding someone’s story, Sue believes you can properly advocate on their behalf and ensure they get access to justice. She also set a challenge to those in positions of power, including the media, who can influence change to do more to put a spotlight on what is happening to some of the most vulnerable in our society.

  • Singing together against isolation

    Micro Rainbow International’s Interfaith Choir performed at Being the Story 2016. Formed just two years previously as a creative tool to combat isolation and heal trauma – their priority was to have fun – singing was secondary. But they have gone from strength to strength and are now 30 strong. They have performed at the opening of the new TATE Modern building, the Royal Festival Hall with Guy Garvey and the UK Black Pride.

  • The Unlikely Campaigner

    Families face many obstacles to overcome poverty. But the insights of the people experiencing poverty are invaluable and people of influence are starting to listen. Caroline shares her campaigning journey to address poverty and inequality and discussed how now, experts by experience can share their knowledge and help to influence approaches to reducing child poverty.
    Caroline Kennedy is working with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on a project looking at reframing language around UK Poverty. Joseph Rowntree Foundation was a Being the Story Partner.

  • Sharing our Stories to the Streets and Back

    Amanda is represented a group of twelve women supported by the Lighthouse Project who came together to form a collective and share their experiences. They have all been involved in street prostitution in Hull and their recently published book An Untold Story tells the stories of their lives through poetry, interviews, prose and artwork. In her talk Amanda tells her story in her own way and in her own words to shatter the stigma and create understanding for women with similar experiences who face neglect and marginalisation.

  • A Snapshot of My Life

    Eddie is passionate about the importance of meaningful activity in helping people in recovery. He feels that this has been the key factor in helping him remain sober and allowing him to contribute to society through volunteering. In his talk Eddie shares his experiences and highlights the importance of accessing opportunities to help others in a similar position to him. Liverpool Waves of Hope have been funded by the Big Lottery Fund as part of the Fulfilling Lives Programme. The Big Lottery Fund is a Being the Story Partner.

  • Slamming it at the Frontline

    It started with a couple of lightly lyrical blog posts about support work but progressed from prose to performance poetry slams. Now Bryony uses her words to give voice to the subtle and sensitive stories she is part of through her work. In this talk she shares her insights as a frontline worker and also shows that frontline workers supporting individuals experiencing homelessness, mental ill-health substance misuse and offending behaviour need the space to create. Bryony took part in the Systems Changers programme for frontline workers run by Lankelly Chase. Lankelly Chase is a Being the Story Partner.

  • Dats TV Reshaping Culture

    Simeon and Dylan share their journeys growing up as part of rival gangs, and the impact of participating in the film One Mile Away had on both them and their community. Spurred on to work together to create change, they share their vision of how we can best tackle gang culture and youth violence and provide young people with an alternative.

  • No Action Too Small

    Too often, whilst watching wars unfold, hearing of refugees dying out at sea or reading of yet another abuse, rape or murder, the words “What can I do?” escape our lips. But what we all too often forget is the ripple effects that a single action launched with a simple intention can yield. Using her own experiences in seeing this particular truth unfold, Onjali relates her story on the creation and unexpected journeys Making Herstory continues to lead her on, and why there is no such thing as an action too small.

  • The Restorative Power of Storytelling

    Identifying and sharing real life stories of transformation is The Forgiveness Project’s key tool for change. Marina looks at how we can share stories that reach across rifts and create a new story. www.theforgivenessproject.com

  • The Geezer’s Guide to Growing Old

    Life begins at 70, that’s what Chief Geezer Ray says. People just don’t want to have a talking club. They want to be talking about doing something and then getting on with it. The Geezers want to change the way we see ageing, bringing older men together for fun and joking, social gatherings and to create real change in their area. Ray, Don, Ricky and Charlie share how things are done The Geezer way, as they continue to win awards, and connect communities with their imaginative approach to ageing.

  • Patient’s Virtual Guide: filling the hospital information vacuum

    As MD of Corporation Pop, a digital innovation agency, Dom wanted to use his professional skills to address the problem and so his company is building the world’s first healthcare app to use augmented reality, gamification and artificial intelligence to deliver health information directly to children. With the support of Nominet Trust funding, Dom is creating Patient’s Virtual Guide to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with hospitalization and improve the health literacy of children.

  • More Beer, More Jobs – a Brewery with a Difference

    Nick O’Shea is the Founder of Ignition Brewery. Ignition is a vibrant, south London brewery which employs and trains people with learning disabilities to brew great beer.

    The ethos at Ignition Brewery is simple: The team have a lot to offer and with the right support and care, they can make beer that competes on the open market and satisfies the thirst of any customer!
    The journey to deliver this in practice has been complex: trying to convince the social care sector to support the development of the company, whilst creating beers that can survive in the London Market has been tricky and required more resilience and ‘bloody-mindedness’ than Nick ever thought would be needed.
    Nick shared what it takes to have a new idea and implement it. How to maintain composure and hope, whilst resisting a fridge full of beer.
    Nick has been supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Ideas and Pioneers Fund. Paul Hamlyn Foundation were a Being the Story Partner

  • Creativity For Change

    At Being the Story Ric demonstrated how rap and performance can be used to tell stories of the care system and to create positive change for those who have and are experiencing it.

  • Power at the Periphery – Where are our Working Class Leaders?

    What happens when we don’t consult working class people on issues that affect them? How often do we lock out ‘authentic’ voices from conversations? Why did 19 Prime Ministers come from Eton and 0 come from a council estate in Manchester? Rachael discussed the complex class relationship we have in the U.K. She used her personal insights to challenge the stigma that surrounds working class communities, with a hope to shift the perceptions of young people and instil hope in a future generation.
    Rachael has been supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Ideas and Pioneers Fund. Paul Hamlyn Foundation were a Being the Story Partner.

  • The Missing People Choir ‘Turning pain into hope’

    Made up of friends and families who have had someone they love go missing, The Missing People Choir sing alongside staff and supporters from the UK charity Missing People. The choir, formed in June 2014, is a partnership between the charity, Missing People, which offers help and support when someone disappears, and James Hawkins Music, specialists in producing music with purpose. The choir will take the stage at Being the Story to share their message through music.


    “We are more than faces at windows held high”
    How often do we hear the voices of the residents of Tower Blocks? Produced by Tracie Daly ‘Can you Hear Me From Up Here?’ is a performance exploring the lived experience of Tower Block Tenants and current attitudes towards people who live in social housing, the prejudices and the stigma that exist, the isolation they can feel, and the hopes and aspirations of those housed there. At Being the Story the residents performed a sequence from their play.

  • The invisible workforce: My fight for migrant Domestic Workers in the UK

    “We are weak as individuals, stronger as a collective.”
    Domestic workers are undervalued by society, but Marissa sees them as the ‘fuel of the economy’ and wants them to be recognised as such. Marissa shares her journey as a domestic worker, the challenges that changes to government policy have had on the women she seeks to support, and her fight to ensure that domestic workers are recognised as workers.

  • Your dark past can become your greatest gift: My journey into Journalism

    Milly shares the story from her introduction to radio in rehab, to becoming a regular reporter for Radio 4’s flagship programme; Woman’s Hour, where she’s found her niche in reporting on subjects she has lived experience of. Recently Milly produced and presented ‘The Fix: Woman and Addiction’ a nine-part radio series for Woman’s Hour which was inspired and personally authored by her own experiences of being a woman in recovery. She showed how her past is no longer a shameful secret but has become the experience she draws on to inform her work and allows her to humanise her subjects and tell their stories with nuance and empathy.
    Milly’s talk was supported by Lankelly Chase. Lankelly Chase was an event partner.

  • It’s surprising what you hear when you listen

    Being a good storyteller involves listening and Peter is a great listener. In his talk he shares the tools of the trade and what qualities are needed in his role as a barber. After Peter’s talk Being the Story delegates explored Empathy Museum’s A Mile In My Shoes – stepping into the life of someone you may never have come across – from a farmer to a sex worker to a neurosurgeon, war veteran or refugee.

  • In Conversation: Hear what our Being the Story Alumni are up to

    Bryony Albery worked for Wycombe Homeless Connection helping people avoid homelessness by fighting evictions, engaging vulnerable people with the legal system around them. Since taking part in Being the Story she has made a massive change and is now training to be a social justice lawyer.
    Onjali Q. Raúf Founder and CEO, Making Herstory was a self-declared feminist from the age of seven. In 2011 her aunt was murdered by the husband she had been trying to escape from for over five years, she set up Making Herstory in her memory.
    Simeon Moore, Co-founder of DatsTV is a writer, musician and advocate for young people. Moore was a member of a Birmingham gang and now works to tackle what he sees as the glamorisation of gang culture.

  • Tackling transphobia fabulously, through education and empowerment

    What does it mean to be trans in 2018 and how can we challenge misconceptions? Charlie shares her insights on trans activism, what’s next in her fight for equality, and how we can all continue to break down the misunderstandings around trans experiences because as Charlie puts it ‘prejudice and hate comes from fear and misunderstanding’.

  • Getting to the Heart of A Northern Soul

    All eyes were on Hull in 2017 as the city was celebrated as the City of Culture. But behind the scenes the documentary A Northern Soul paints a picture that is less glossy. In this talk Steve shares his experience of putting his life in the spotlight through the documentary and how he’s now trying to create new opportunities for the community he lives in.

  • Creating a platform for prison poetry

    “My life ended and began with a prison sentence,
    Those metal doors awoke the faith in me”
    Lady Unchained’s mission is to prove that there is life after prison. Through poetry she tells her own personal story and the untold stories that are often left untold, because of shame or labels. She performed a selection of her poems at Being the Story

  • Becoming Friends with Hope, Living with Cancer

    Laura’s story is one of hope and survival against the odds. Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34 when her daughter was three and her son was six months old, she tells an account of her experience of cancer and the impact that has had on her. Through psychological intervention and support Laura has learned to live more presently, understanding that it’s our vulnerabilities that makes us all human. As she feels hopeful once more and driven by her experience of cancer, she campaigns with cancer charities to try to make a difference for others.

  • Music for Mental Health

    Run by the charity Raw Material, Raw Sounds is a programme of music workshops for people accessing mental health services in Brixton. The Raw Sounds band took to the stage at Being the Story. The singers and instrumentalists who have all experienced mental health difficulties performed a selection of songs and talked about the impact the Raw Sounds programme has had. Raw Sounds have performed at Elder Stubbs Festival, Lambeth Country Show and Brixton music venue The Prince of Wales.
    Raw Sounds has been supported by Constructive Voices. Constructive Voices was a Being the Story Partner.