Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Magic Torch Comics - Community Comics

Magic Torch Comics Team delivering on Project 22 last year
I'm so pleased to be able to say today that Magic Torch Comics CIC have received support from Young Start (National Lottery Community Fund Scotland) for our Outside The Box - Community Comics project, which will be delivering across Inverclyde from 2019 - 2021. To find out more about the project contact Magic Torch Comics or follow on twitter. I'll be sharing a few bits and pieces from the project on here as well. Read all about the projects supported by Young Start below...


An intergenerational dance company that helps young people creatively connect with older generations through dance is amongst a number of groups sharing in 1.3 MILLION of dormant bank account funding. 

Across the country 19 youth-led projects are celebrating £1,334,561 from the Young Start fundwhich aims to help young people build confidence, skills and take an active role in realising their own potentialSee a full list of projects here. 

Young Start is delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund and awards dormant bank and building society cash to projects led by and for young people.

One of the groups celebrating today is Barrowland Ballet, based in Glasgow, which receives £98,314 to deliver intergenerational dance workshops and performances. The project, which is called ‘Wolf Pack’ will also provide three young associates places to volunteer and gain group facilitation and leadership experience.

Natasha Gilmore, Artistic Director of Barrowland Ballet, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded three-year funding from the Young Start Fund. We passionately believe that dance is for everyone and Wolf Pack is a celebration of different generations collaborating. We provide a chance for young people to creatively engage alongside other members of their local community, develop new skills and create dance performances that give each of them an opportunity to express themselves.”

Also welcoming the funding is Isaac, 10, whose confidence has come on leaps and bounds since joining the dance company in 2017, he said: "Before I started in Wolf Pack, I didn’t really think I could dance but now I know I can. I have so many good friends too. I feel much more confident than I used to. Last week I stood up in front of 100 children at my school and gave a speech because I wanted to be house vice-captain of my school house. I was up against seven others and I won the vote! Without the confidence gained at Wolf Pack I wouldn’t have gone for it.”

Also sharing in today’s cash boost are Magic Torch Comics in Inverclyde. Their £62,708 award will enable them to run Outside the Box – Community Comics, which will empower young people from marginalised groups to create comics that reflect the imagination, lives and stories in their community. The young people will design, create and distribute their comic books at this year’s Comic Con.

Paul Bristow, Director of Magic Torch, said: “Magic Torch Comics are absolutely delighted that we have this new opportunity to provide free comics workshops across the Inverclyde community. Over the next two years our Outside the Box - Community Comics project will work with young people to help them share their stories, life experiences, hopes and ideas using comics. We're looking forward to discovering lots of new writers and artists - everyone has a story to tell."

Announcing today’s funding, National Lottery Community Fund, Chair, and Maureen McGinn, said:
“Young Start aims to support projects that are led by, and for, young people, giving them the best possible start in life. All of today’s projects share an ambition to help young people grow in confidence and play an active part in realising their potential, and so it is with great pleasure that we announce this latest investment totalling £1,334,561.

Groups wanting to know more about Young Start should visit or contact 0300 123 7110.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Haunted Voices Anthology

I'm delighted to be part of the extremely diverse team of writers and storytellers included in Haunted Voices - An Anthology of Scottish Gothic Storytelling.

The project is led by Rebecca Wojturska of Haunt Publishing, and is on Kickstarter now.

There are many awesome backer options for print, ebook and audio versions...but only one of them nets you AN ACTUAL GHOST IN A JAR.

You can head over to twitter to hear excerpts from the audiobook should you need any further convincing. Though I honestly don't know why that would be when I already told you there's a ghost in a jar.

Support new indie publishing and support storytelling by backing Haunted Voices on Kickstarter today.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Digital Storytelling

Over the last 9 months, I've had the privilege of being the Digital Storyteller in Residence for Inverclyde Libraries. The project was supported by the Scottish Book Trust and the Scottish Governments Digital Inclusion strategy.

So what is a Digital Storyteller? It's certainly been fun to enjoy the many polite smiles and blank nods over the last year as I've told people what I do. But it's actually really simple. A digital story, is usually an audio recording of a personal story or memory, told in the person's own voice, accompanied by pictures they have selected. It's all edited together by the person involved and then, sometimes, shared with others, My job has been to enable people to tell and share those stories, helping people discover new digital skills along the way. And it's been one of the best jobs I have ever had in my life.

What a joy, to have the luxury of time, to listen to people, to be there as people find their voice or reclaim their own story. We tell stories to ourselves all the time, reworking and redrafting our own history and memories as time moves on - we are all made of stories, and it's been wonderful to hear so many.

The Scottish Book Trust supported five digital storytellers across Scotland, and you can see all the stories collected on the project website. You can also view all the Inverclyde stories on Vimeo.

Here are a few of Inverclyde stories to give you a better idea of what a Digital Story is...

Alistair's Story from Digital Storytelling Residencies on Vimeo.

Falling in Music from Digital Storytelling Residencies on Vimeo.

The Weeping Animal and the Ugly Wee Snowman from Digital Storytelling Residencies on Vimeo.