Lilac / lilac

Published in photo diary.


Photo dump

Published in photography.


It was all yellow

Published in photo diary.



Published in photography.


Projects 28–40

Published in work.

A screenshot from Miro

Work-wise, the first half of 2020 was very different to previous years, and probably the most varied and interesting since about 2017-ish.

Not long before the pandemic struck, I decided to step aside from my role as in-house comms director at Public Digital. The team there kindly allowed me to stay on as a member of their affiliate network.

That meant I had more time to seek out more freelance work of my own. I announced my availability on March 10:

… and got an encouraging range of replies. Lots of people seemed to be keen to work with me.

A few days later, the world changed and lockdown began.

After a week or so of shock, anger, denial and so on, I settled down to a new work pattern, based entirely at home of course.

A varied list

I’m delighted to say that since then, I’ve worked on loads of client projects, large and small, some through Public Digital and some not. Pandemic aside, it’s been a particularly rewarding, interesting and exciting 6 months.

Most of that work is client-confidential, so I can’t say much about it.

I’ve worked with:

  • 1 digital agency
  • 2 different non-profit international organisations
  • 1 fellow freelancer
  • 1 English local authority
  • 1 UK government agency
  • 1 recruitment company
  • 1 business in the healthcare sector
  • 1 non-profit in the education sector

I can talk a bit about that last one. It was I’m A Scientist, a decade-or-more project run my local friend Shane McCracken. I worked with Shane’s team to slim down some of the organisation’s web pages and make them more user-centered. Towards the end of the project, I wrote some content guidelines that the team could apply in future, when I wouldn’t be around.

It was a short project but great fun, largely thanks to the enthusiastic welcome I got from the team and the pleasure of seeing live web pages being edited on the fly, as we worked.

Training and teaching

Another thing I can talk about is my partnership with Content Design London. In May I ran a free 1-hour webinar, titled “Working in the open for lone voice content designers.”

The follow-up to that will be a 1-day training course, running for the first time in mid-July (not far off – sign up now if you’re interested, spaces are limited). It expands on the advice I gave in the webinar, and gives people a chance to share and discuss their own ideas.

CDL is another great team, and I’m very grateful to Sarah Richards for putting her faith in me and encouraging me to think about doing some training in the first place. Thank you Sarah, you’re a superstar.

This 6-month block has been full of exciting new things to do and think about, full of new people to meet and new projects to deliver. Some of it has involved writing, some of it has involved teaching people writing techniques. Quite a lot of it has been encouraging teams to write collaboratively, and change their approach to writing to make that easier to implement.

Work-wise, it’s been great. I’m having fun; pandemic permitting.


Some flahs

Published in life, photography.


Bookings open for the “Working in the open” training course

Published in use the human voice, work, working in the open.

As promised a few weeks ago, tickets for my new training course are now on sale.

Book a ticket

I’m running the course in partnership with Content Design London, who have several years experience of running excellent training courses both face-to-face and remote. This one will be remote, of course.

On the day, we’ll look at the relationship and overlaps between content design and open working. We’ll dive deeper into blogging, doing presentations, making and commissioning video, and a few overarching principles.

There will be tea breaks, and there will be chances to discuss your open working ideas (and blockers) with the group.

Places are limited and the introductory price is low, so sign up now if you’re interested.


Not in the studio

Published in life, radio.

We’re 100+ days into lockdown, and I’m still not back in this little studio, broadcasting my little show. It makes me very sad.

I miss the scruffy room and miss the twiddly knobs and buttons.

I miss the fun of compiling my show playlist during the week. I miss the motivation it gives me to listen to loads more music (any excuse is a good excuse).

I miss the stash of CDs in the corner, I miss the fun of doing a live show and coming up with whole new ways of making simple mistakes. I miss pressing the wrong button at the wrong time, which means you hear the wrong song or the wrong advert. I missing winging it, and grinning as I go along, and shrugging when I play Bob Marley instead of Depeche Mode. Oh well.

I miss the joy of getting a tweet or an email coming in while I’m on air, and frantically digging around to see if I can play any songs people request. I get a buzz from that, and it’s a good buzz.

Some of my colleagues continue to do their shows, and all power to them. But as things stand, I’m not yet ready to return to room used by so many people, to a microphone we’ve all breathed on, a pop shield that’s caught all our pops. Maybe that will feel something less worrying soon – I desperately hope so.

I had no idea I enjoyed doing a radio show until I accidentally started doing one. It does me good. It uses a different part of my brain. It gets me up and out and thinking and singing and toe-tapping. It gives me a jolt, in a good way. I can’t wait to start again.


In the dark

Published in photography.


Doing something about diversity in the tech sector

Published in notes, tech.

My fellow Public Digital affiliate Davina Sirisena, founder of the Difference Digital agency, has created something new: an online community called DINT:

“A global online community set up to make connections between people who care about diversity and inclusion in tech.”

DINT meets online once a month for live person-to-person discussion, and runs a Slack for keeping in touch in between sessions.

In recent conversations with Davina, it was striking how very seriously she takes this challenge. She really wants to make a difference, to the point where doing so has become the purpose (and the name) of her business.

All of this was planned weeks before the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent global focus on Black Lives Matter.

As a hideously privileged straight cis middle-class white man, I want to support the movement. I’ve benefited from racism all my life. I’ve done and said racist things, including staying silent. This is my opportunity to learn more, and do more, and listen more.

Davina’s actions in the realm of recruitment and hiring are inspirational. She really means it. She’d doing something.

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