Dwarfism and the ethics of humour

Disability Arts Cymru event Friday 24th July 2020I was asked to speak at an event, along with Dr Erin Pritchard, who I believe instigated it, and Tammy Reynolds. There are two paragraphs explaining the topic below and then my response. Please note - there are references to depression and suicide in this piece.  Dwarfism and the ethics of humour "Why is it that people who are shorter than the ‘average’ person, people born with a variety of conditions under the medical banner of ‘dwarfism’ are so often seen as the butt of the joke, an easy target to make fun of. As children many will experience bullying, some to such an extent that they become suicidal. 
Yet, there is an industry that exploits people with dwarfism to act in shows such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, once being doubly exploited as they were filmed for a TV show about the seven cast members living in a house together as if that’s especially interesting to watch people go up and down stairs, open fridges and even coo…

Mental Health in the time of Covid 19 - a training course

Spend a couple of minutes thinking about the answers to these questions.  What’s working ok for work and for home?What’s difficult?What do you do to make yourself happy?                        OK, I’ve thought about it. Here’s mine...

Work - Like many, I’m working from home. For me that means delivering virtual training. I’ve bought a fan to cool me as my office area gets hot. I have acquired two understated mugs so, during video calls I look professional and not a teenager with a Simpsons or Snoopy mug. I like my ‘commute’ from the kitchen to the office. 
Home - Communication with my family is way more than usual. Video calls, audio calls, even the odd card or letter. I like that. I sleep a bit more. 
Difficult - The loss of human contact, someone in the same room, a handshake, a hug, a wink. I miss going to dinner with an interesting person, not seeing theatre or ballet. I miss not having these in my diary to look forward to. I long for an overseas trip to plan. I get blue twice a week,…

Lockdown, shake up, lay down

Lockdown, shake up, lay downThis is longer than the page. On a desktop, scroll down the body of the text to read it all. 
Well what are we to do? Everything has changed. We sort of saw it coming but by golly, it got big very quickly. I’m in lockdown in London. I don’t have a specific underlying condition in addition to my impairment, making me more susceptible. By the way I prefer the word susceptible to vulnerable any day of the week. However, I am staying in. 
I had a busy diary, March through mid-July. And then in the middle of March, I saw diary appointments, conferences, training, travel, all fade away. Within a week, my diary was empty, save a stubborn, optimistic appointment in July. I did my last face to face training on 17th March in Bristol; Managing mental health at work. It already felt like we (me and co-trainer Juliette Burton) shouldn’t be there. The hotel was empty and felt weird when we arrived. Hand sanitiser on every desk, kind staff with strained smiles. Five out of …

Can you really have too much of a good thing?

It's been quite a start to the year. Various projects were postponed from the end of 2018 and like a concertina, they bunched up into the start of 2019. That meant a lot of travel, including two trips to Berlin, one to Munich, then to Zurich, one to Australia and one to the USA all before April. A trip to a very cold Berlin, in January was for pleasure as was the long trip 'down under', but the remainder have been work. 

I love travel and working abroad. You can read how much in a blog from last year. Indeed, I've recently written a chapter for a forthcoming book about international consultancy and diversity with Middlesex University. However, on the final trip when I was in the USA I got what I only can describe as travellers’ blues. I've talked about it on stage at a few conferences subsequently with Clifford Chance, PwC and the International Underwriters Association. I had a more in-depth two way conversation with Phil Friend on our podcast about it too. The blue…

Talking Loud and Clear

Not so much a blog, more to let you know about what I fear might be too many podcasts! 

My regular monthly ones, BBC Ouch and The Phil & Simon Show have cracking new shows out. There's also a new one, where I am a guest. This podcast is called WB-40 and I was interviewed by the most excellent Matt Ballantine who was asking how comedy and humour can be used to influence people. I've put links to the shows in the title and links to the individuals by clicking on their name. 

If find yourself needing a distraction from Christmas television or want to try out the new headphones someone gave you as a present, take a listen. Let me know what you think. 

BBC Ouch
The Phil & Simon Show with Susan Scott-Parker

Names Not Numbers

This time last week I climbed aboard a coach to travel to conference called Names Not Numbers held at Oxford University. Now in its 10th year, it is a remarkable conference with a remarkable group of people. It is both professional and personal, about networking and connections. 

The conference theme was 'Judgement' and each speaker or session incorporated the concept in some way. As the conference began, I soon found myself instinctively jotting down notes - pithy sentences, profound points, startling facts and emotive thoughts from the various speakers. My intention was to able to reflect on them at a later date. 

However, I've changed my mind and I have set out some of them here. That’s a risk as it might be a case of 'you had to be there'... how can they have the same impact in a blog when compared to hearing them from the person’s own voice, in the context of the rest of their talk? Worryingly, such excellent speakers might be a tad unimpressed that I've fil…