Staying Alive! Or Being Homer at Home: the Power of Storytelling

Storytelling has fascinated me for many years from reading great literature to movies, theatre and of course “Game of Thrones”. We are hardwired to respond to powerful narratives as a way of understanding our lives and world, and having storytelling as a basic skill provides a great platform for promoting your passions and agenda. I offer a structured series of workshops on storytelling, for introducing and rehearsing the essential techniques of presentation, the use of voice, breathing, establishing a tempo, the potent inclusion of silence, and the structure that is needed to communicate your story with its key messages.


Talks, Speeches, and Lectures

I have given talks and lectures throughout my career from the Harvard Club in Boston, to the Royal Academy of Music in London, to international conferences in Stockholm and Estonia and TEDx in the States.. It has been a regular part of my professional life either providing a story of advocacy for higher education and the arts or challenging an audience with a provocation on a contemporary theme. Here are some of the themes:


"What can Classical Music Learn from the Contemporary World?"

We hear so much these days about the problems that classical music is facing in attracting audiences across the nation. Some writers have even described classical music as an endangered species. So what can we do about this? Sit back and repeat the same old formats or look at something new and innovative? This workshop examines this problem in an interactive way by looking at some of the new ideas that are emerging from classical musicians across the world and the effect this is having upon audiences and also what we can effectively learn from the Pop industry. You will also have the opportunity to create your own new concert format through problem solving and design thinking. The objectives will be to challenge the norm and open up young artists to new ways of looking at the process of designing a concert, the relationship with an audience, with the community, with other musicians, and other art forms and technology.


"The Social Impact of the Arts"

One of the most potent forces for Social Change and Social Justice in the world today is Social Entrepreneurship, ranging from micro-loans in India and El Sistema in Venezuela, to Malala and her program to provide educational opportunities for women in the Middle East to TOMS Shoes in the States. This class starts by examining our response to the World in which we live with its extraordinary economic and technological developments, juxtaposed by massive poverty and inequality. It takes us to the need to break the cycle and the place of Social Entrepreneurship in contributing to social justice and social change. It asks the question “What is the role of music and musicians in such a development?” and provides you with the opportunity to create your own social entrepreneurship project in an interactive setting.


"Staying Alive!"

Higher Education has always been valued as the essential training ground for a successful career with the attendant costs accepted as part of the system. But today many people are questioning its importance and calling attention to the high costs resulting in massive student debt, and criticisms that Higher Education is just not providing a contemporary education relevant to the needs of society. And there are now alternatives to an expensive education provided by orthodox institutions. You can find these easily on the Internet or with such new offerings such as MOOC. So what are the alternatives, the innovative ideas that could transform HE? Ideas that could transform the student experience and provide the essential skills for a C21 Higher Education model?


"Our Inner Octopus and our outer Primate: what balance do we need between IQ and EQ?"

We all know about the importance of IQ, how this can be measured and judgments made about our potential, our skills and place in the world. But in recent years another major part of our psyche has come to the fore, EQ or Emotional Intelligence, seen by many to be at least as important as IQ in creating the whole balanced person. So how can we pursue a personal development plan that balances IQ, the hard skills we see as so important to a successful life, with EQ, the soft skills that brings equilibrium and self-awareness?