Hello, and welcome to this blog.
In these posts will be a commentary and a reflection of the process of creating the practical project 'Knowing My Milton Keynes'.
Creating this project has been both daunting and exciting. As a professional storyteller, creating performances and workshops helping other people to create stories is something I have always loved doing and is taken up most of my professional career. However, creating a practical project for PhD research was at first a little out of my comfort zone, it seemed pigheaded to think that the practice I have been doing my entire professional career was worthy of PhD research, so this has been a journey of overcoming my inner critic as well as developing useful research data for my thesis.
On this journey I have discovered many things, that there are clear comparisons between the worlds of practice and theory, but that very often, as far as storytelling is concerned, the two do not always meet. This is where I see my role, with a background in storytelling practice and now moving towards storytelling research and theory I hope to be able to bridge the gap between. I also hope to prove that storytelling is far from mere entertainment to amuse children and it has a relevance in the real-world making differences across social and cultural issues, improving all of our lives, for we are storytelling creatures.
My research has led me to discover when storytelling started to be used by Homo sapiens, how this dramatically affected the way that they could socialise and create social structure, and how to this day it underpins many of our social and cultural institutions by which we govern our lives. I think possibly the part which has filled me with most joy was when I realised that looking at stories of Milton Keynes there was a blatant story staring me in the face which had both led and given foundation to my entire thesis. However, if you want to know more about that you have to wait to my research is published.
Before I conclude this first post, I would also like to thank people who have helped me thus far; My Supervisors Professor Michael Wilson and Dr Antonia Liguori (thank you for your support, patience, and belief in me), Dr Lyndsey Bakewell (you are just amazing) fellow storytelling PhD researcher Kristina Gavran (thank for walking this road with me), all the PhD researchers in the English and Drama PGR office (your advice on life, the research, and everything has been invaluable), Loughborough University (for giving me this opportunity), Kerry Pace of Diverse Learners (for your support, confidence, and helping me find ways to manage my dyslexic short comings and celebrate my dyslexic superpowers), Milton Keynes Council, Living Archive, Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, and Buckinghamshire County Archives (for your advice, support, interest, and guidance to finding those needles in haystacks), the whole community of Stony Stratford who have inspired, supported, taken interest, and given tip bits of information to the research. And lastly to my parents, partner and pooch who have borne the brunt of stress, lack of time and sleep, and who have taken so well my being lost in action under piles of books for the past two years.
Sometimes known as storyteller Red Phoenix, Terrie has been a storyteller since 2004, and run her own storytelling and performing arts company since 2007. In 2016 she began a PhD in applied storytelling and heritage exploring how storytelling as heritage can impact on the sense of place experienced by residents in Milton Keynes in England.