Country: United Kingdom
Field of Activity: Writer, blogger, public speaker, activist, creative connector.
Languages: English, Russian
I graduated in Russian in the 1980s. My early career was in international relations and I worked extensively in the Republic of Belarus looking to improve the capacity of the Belarusians to define their own solutions to their own issues. I also worked in Russia and Azerbaijan. I was particularly interested in the power of the Arts to bridge cultural and political divides. I brought sculptors from Scotland, Belarus, Zimbabwe, France and Norway to Scotland to work on a joint exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery and the open-air Scottish Sculpture Workshop. I brought together young actors from Scotland, Belarus and France to perform an original piece by literary translator and poet Vera Rich and thereafter, to perform an original play by a Scottish writer based on Bulgakov which was performed at His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen in three languages.
After my colleagues’ death in Belarus, I became very unwell with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The consequences included homelessness, and a disconnection from my own creativity and sense of purpose. Key to recovering was gradually re-connecting and starting to heal by expressing the trauma through art, which was exhibited in London, and through writing. Throughout this period, I was an active member of her group of poetry performers “Manifold Poets” performing scripts including “From Mazeppa to Maidan” which celebrated Vera’s translations of the greats of Ukrainian literature.
As I gradually emerged from darkness, I started to be asked to speak to various audiences about my life experiences of PTSD, homelessness etc. This led to my setting up a Consultancy through which I act as an adviser to health and social care organisations on how to work effectively with people with long-term health issues and the “seldom heard” groups such as homeless people. I work throughout the UK and overseas including at Stanford University in the US and the World Health Organisation.
In 2015, I was named on of 50 “Inspirational Women in Health” by the Health Service Journal.
Throughout all of this I maintain my deep connection with Belarus and the Belarusian people and have been an active member of the Anglo-Belarusian Society for two decades.
Blog: Fragments from a Half Life. https://allywritesblog.wordpress.com/