Welcome to this weeks Storytelling Highlights. In the run up to the Social Media Exchange which takes place on Monday 6th February we wanted to put a spotlight on our keynote speaker Lemn Sissay MBE by sharing some of the programmes and projects he has been involved with.
Lemn is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and children’s rights campaigner and has used both his own story and the written word to put a spotlight on a range of social issues particularly those related to his care system.
Tickets to the event going quickly – likely to be fully booked by next week – so do sign up to be part of an inspiring day of digital storytelling training.
Here are just a selection of the amazing things that Lemn has been involved with.
1.A Child of the State
Lemn’s TedTalk from 2012 has been watched by over half a million people worldwide. He shares his experience as a child in care, and as a care leaver to put a spotlight on the challenges and issues that the care system faces. He brings to light how literature has long been fascinated with fostered, adopted and orphaned children like Cinderella, Oliver Twist and more recently Harry Potter. His experiences shared have reached and impacted on so many people. We loved this blog by journalist and care leaver Kelly Mattison on how Lemn’s words impacted on her life.
2. Desert Island Discs
In 2015 Lemn Sissay’s Desert Island Discs was named pick of the year. Radio 4’s iconic programme invites actors, musicians, writers and others from different walks of life to share both their favourite songs and their life experiences. In this episode Lemn shares insights into his upbringing in foster care, his love of Scotland and his poetry and how he finds inspiration.
3. The Christmas Dinner
For the past few years Lemn Sissay has been holding a Christmas dinner for care leavers of between the ages of 18-25 bringing them together on Christmas Day for food, presents and unity. The dinners were set up with the primary aim of ensuring the community takes responsibility for The Care Leaver on Christmas Day taking place in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford and London so far.
4. Gold from the Stone
Lemn Sissay was seventeen when he wrote his first poetry book, which he self-published and hand-sold to the miners and mill workers of Wigan. Last summer he released Gold from the Stone a book of poetry spanning the last 30 years of his life. It is his first book for almost a decade and brings together new work and old favourites. If you’re coming to the Social Media Exchange do buy a copy in advance to get it signed.
5. Inspire & Be Inspired
The University of Manchester welcomed Lemn as chancellor in 2015 presenting him with an honorary doctorate. He commemorated the occasion with this powerful poem willing us to inspire and be inspired.
We can’t wait to hear Lemn speak at the Social Media Exchange in less than three weeks. We’re sure he’ll provide a huge amount of inspiration to everyone who is part of the day.
We hope you enjoy some of his project highlights. And do let us know if you have any experiences or connections with Lemn that you’d like to share.
Find out more about the day and our interactive and practical masterclasses at www.socialmediaexchange.org.uk