Happy New Year from Madeira, where we are taking a working break for a couple of weeks. While here in Funchal, we’re looking over what we have done in 2022 and making plans for 2023.
2022 in Review
Wind&Bones move to Scotland
Last year was incredibly busy. The most significant change was that we moved from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Dundee, Scotland. After almost 2½ years working in Bulgaria, we felt like we needed to reconnect to our UK roots, so we moved up to Scotland.
One quirk of UK company law is that you can’t move a business over the border from England to Scotland. So, as Wind&Bones CIC was registered in Leicester, we set about dissolving the old company and setting up a shiny new Wind&Bones CIC based in Dundee. It was a slightly complicated process (you can read about it here), but by the summer, we had our new company in place.
Food, Glorious Food
Food production, distribution, and preparation are all a central part of human well-being. So some of our projects in 2022 were related to food: where the food we eat comes from, how to make food production sustainable, how food intersects with history, community, culture, and identity.
Shortly after arriving in Scotland, we got involved with the brilliant folks at the Dandelion festival. This led to us running a three-day public workshop at Dandelion Festival Glasgow, harvesting micro-stories about food from the public. You can find out more about what we did by going to our virtual story garden.
Not long after this, we were over in Waterford, Ireland, with the lovely GIY (Ireland) crew, for their Waterford Harvest Festival, a three-day celebration of “food done right.” Not only did we eat some exceptional food, but we also spent time harvesting more stories from the people of Waterford.
On our final day in Waterford, we also had the enormous pleasure of co-running a workshop with Dr Sarah Prosser, developing a manifesto for food futures in the Waterford Bioregion.
We continue to be concerned about the situation in Myanmar, and to work with Myanmar-based organisations on projects that can help with alleviating some of the profound difficulties that have resulted from the coup of 2021.
We started the year by running an ethical leadership class for the Parami Institute, based in Yangon. This was based on the work we have done with the educational NGO Mote Oo, developing a course on ethics and leadership for grassroots and community groups based in Myanmar.
We also ran a project later in the year working with Myanmar-based teachers on storytelling as a tool for classroom education.
Awakening Between the Lines
In the summer, we spent six weeks back in Bulgaria. During that time, we visited the National Gallery of Bulgaria to see the exhibition from the Awakening Between the Lines project we co-delivered with the Emprove Foundation. For this project, we worked with a group of women survivors of domestic abuse writing a collection of micro-stories in both English and Bulgarian. The resulting stories were cross-translated and accompanied by images produced by Bulgarian illustrators and artists.
Not only did the project lead to an exhibition in the national gallery, but the stories have now been printed as a boxed set of beautiful story-cards. Each card features a single story — in both Bulgarian and English — and, on the reverse side, a beautiful image.
We finished the year with a couple of weeks south of the border in England. At De Montfort University in Leicester, Will ran a Wind&Bones workshop in storytelling and effective communication with a small group of art students. Then we headed down to London, where we met students at the London College of Communication. Students in magazine publishing and marketing are using our work at Wind&Bones as a case-study, exploring how we can develop our brand and our profile. We are really excited to see what they come up with when the results of this pilot come flooding in, some time in the middle of January.
Writing, Writing, Writing
Individually, we’ve also been busy working on writing projects. Hannah secured a £5000 grant from Creative Scotland to write her first novel, an exploration of abuse and coercive control in queer communities. Meanwhile, both Hannah and Will signed contracts for their short story collections In their Absence and Sixty-Four Chance Pieces to be translated into Bulgarian. The books are coming out in Bulgaria next year.
2022 was also the 10th anniversary of the publication of Will’s children’s book, The Snorgh and the Sailor. To mark the occasion, Scholastic published a beautiful new edition. And also in the summer, Will’s Hello, Stranger: Stories of Connection in a Divided World came out in paperback from Granta books.
We’ve got all kinds of writing projects in the work for next year as well. We’ll keep you all posted.
2022 has been a good year for some of our mentees as well. A couple of years back, we worked with Dr Angela Stienne on her book Mummified: The stories behind Egyptian mummies in museums, and we were delighted to see the book published — in a beautiful edition — by Manchester University Press.
We also worked with Dr Ariane Karbe on her book proposal for Museum Exhibitions and Suspense: The Use of Screenwriting Techniques in Curatorial Practice, and are really excited to see the book out in the wild — at the time of writing, just a few weeks old!
You can find out more about our mentoring here.
Into the New Year…
So what do we have planned for 2023? First up, we’ve got a new partnership with the Premise Institute, and we’re running our first partner workshop with them on February 4th 2023. You can find out more here. We’ve also been speaking to friends at Trade Sexual Health in Leicester, and Blunt Knife in Edinburgh about possible collaborations. And we’ve just relaunched our Looking for Wisdom project, and have big plans there as well.
Finally, we’ve got a very exciting project that — for the next couple of weeks at least — is still under wraps. It’s to do with writing, and philosophy, and social change, and cross-cultural approaches to creativity, and… well, pretty much all the things that we care about. But we’re not quite ready to announce that yet!
So that’s more or less where we’re up to! Happy New Year, wherever you are in the world. And do get in touch if you want to say hello, or cook up any collaborations together.
Hannah & Will