For those of you who are new to the blog and A Sense of Place, I’m Ronnie Hughes, the writer of this blog about life, Liverpool and all the things that matter to me.
Much of what you’ll read here is about the work I’ve done, much of it for my income and more than a bit because it needed doing anyway, over many years. At the moment I’m not doing a lot of this work as I’ve paused things to do an MA and PhD at the University of Liverpool. But so you’ll understand the context of much that’s written about on the blog here’s how I’ve described what I’ve been doing.
‘I’ve been working with community groups, individuals and organisations, helping them imagine what they want to achieve and helping them get there. As a friend, mentor, facilitator, encourager and asker of awkward questions.
Helping people make up their futures in various ways I’ve run events, facilitated conversations and making up ideas and asked questions like:
What really matters to you?
What do you want work to feel like? How do you want your place, your town, your city to be?
What would you do and not do if you thought you’d only a limited time left to live? What would really matter then?
And what would you do if you could do only things you loved?
How would you get to a future like that? And do you want to give it a go?
I’m – in no particular order – a story teller, a writer and listener; a mentor, speaker, reader, walker and thinker. Working alongside all kinds of people, helping out with practical encouragement, shaping up ideas, clarifying thoughts and plans. Turning dreaming into doing. Because dreaming on its own won’t get you to wherever it is, will it?
There are lots of different ways to describe what I’ve been doing; or perhaps, different angles to the way I’ve worked, depending who I’ve worked with. As a mentor I’ve offered a bit of perspective. Or a contrasting perspective. Sometimes while out walking together.
I walk a lot and have done for years, as you might notice if you read through the blog. I think walking is the best way to understand how a place works and can also be a really good way of getting to understand how your own life is working. What matters to you and what you want to do about it?
Over the years I’ve worked with communities – of both place and interest – groups of activists and residents , teams, social changers and start-ups; bus drivers, bakers and makers; housing people, gardeners and artists; the young, old, newcomers, the experienced and so many in search of inspiration and their rights. Radicals, rebels and activists; the curious, the unsettled, the disobedient and the understandably angry, I’m proud to say. I’ve never been interested in being a safe pair of hands. Or getting everything right all the time. Or doing boring work. Though I know that good things can take time. Some of the best things I’ve done, that you can read about on here, have taken years.’
So read through the blog if you’re interested in any of this, these stories of interesting people and their places, what I’m up to in my life now and what you might think about doing in your own, if you want.
Plenty about people and places I’ve worked with over the years in ‘Collections’.
Including my current work and thoughts on my MA and PhD in sociology at the University of Liverpool. An unexpected turn, the best kind..
And you can find me on Twitter @asenseofplace1 if you want to get in touch.