PASSIONATE ABOUT COMMUNICATION AND CREATIVITY AS WAYS TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE
It was my father who once summed up the common aim running through my work: ‘You make people think, and that’s so important.’
He was right.
For as long as I can remember, I have been asking questions, looking beneath the surface, exploring life’s darker sides and challenging commonly held perceptions. Everything I have discovered, I now weave together through a variety of creative disciplines to produce my art, talks, blogs, book and teachings.
I started my career as an artist/art therapist working in prisons first in Germany – I am half-German – and then in London as Arts Coordinator to Koestler Arts and founder of the Learning to Learn through the Arts scheme. My fascination with the potentially devastating impact of crime, guilt, shame and punishment drove me to develop visual exercises that would address the issues so many prisoners have and help them to form new ways of seeing the world and themselves. Whilst there I witnessed how creating art, talking and being listened to without judgment can unlock minds and inspire the process of wanting to change.
It was upon turning forty that I embarked on extensive research into my German roots. I had always felt guilt and shame myself but could never identify their source. It was only after inexplicable recurring dreams, depressions and burnouts that I discovered these feelings lay in the past, not my past but the past of my German family that was still inextricably tied into the horrors of Nazism and the Second World War. It became glaringly evident that a transgenerational transmission of their unresolved trauma and guilt had occurred.
Discovering ways to disentangle from and find resolution to the past, whether on an individual, collective or national level, now make up the content of my monthly blogs, my Tedx talk, my talks in schools, universities, societies and conferences and my book, In My Grandfather’s Shadow, published by Penguin Transworld and available to buy from mid-July 2022
I love helping people to liberate their minds and emotions from the confines of dark or burdened places. I love encouraging them to get uncomfortable and consider familiar and difficult subjects in a new light knowing they will feel enriched for doing so. And I love sharing practical steps forward based on the insights I have gleaned from my areas of expertise: prisoner rehabilitation through art; Germany’s post-WW2 culture of Remembrance, apology and atonement; and the transgenerational transmission of trauma or guilt.
And when I am not doing all that, I walk and hike, paint, dance, create beautiful spaces and events, visit art exhibitions, drink chilled wine in the evening sun, watch Scandi-Noir series or read.
Contact me to book a talk or discuss your requirements.
BA (Hons) Fine Art – University of West of England, Bristol
Foundation Degree in Creative Practices – Stroud College
Colour Therapeutics for Interiors – Holistic Design Institute, Totnes
Advanced Colour Studies – Wagner Malschule, Dornach, Switzerland
Diploma: Artistic Therapy – Tobias School of Art, East Grinstead
Visual Studies, Psychology, Anthropology – Oxford Polytechnic
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."