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Sync: e-bulletin Dec 2011


'Tis the season to be jolly...

a camper van covered in snow with 'no work' written on the windowscreen in the snow

Our final bulletin to you on 2011 should hopefully hit your inboxes before you take off for the festive season.

Different people deal with the season in different ways – some love it, some hate it. Many of us struggle to fit everything in that needs to be done – shopping, cooking, being with relatives, battling with the weather... How do we keep creative in the light of our never ending lists of things to do?

To ease you in to the festivities, we have two suggested links, both designed to keep those creative juices flowing throughout the holidays – perfect for distracting you from that Bond film you know you have already watched five times.

The first is a post on making time to keep writing through the holidays from the Stranglng my Muse site, but its equally applicable to any other disciplines. My three favourite tips from it are:

  • Redefine your idea of creativity. If don’t have time to write for half an hour, spend that time making up stories with a child in your life while buying or wrapping presents.

  • Turn your holiday stress into a character and write about him/her.

  • If all else fails, escape to the bathroom and write for a few minutes!

To go straight to the Strangle my Muse site...

a batik picture of a flower in blues and greens.

The second is a whole website encouraging us all to ‘be an everyday creative, be creative every day. I like its broad definition of creativity – including ‘cooking, taking pictures, knitting, doodling, writing, dancing, decorating, singing, brainstorming ideas, gardening, or making art in the form of collage, paint, or clay...’ As the author says, she is not part of the creativity police so we are all free to interpret creativity as we see fit.

The site doesn’t demand you post something up everyday, but it does give you the option to share your creativity there with others as often as you want. There is a 'creative every day challenge' too, to motivate you past the mince pies.

To go straight to the Creative Every Day site

Because all great ideas start with 'what if?'

Alison is fearless. She is the Chair of Mind the Gap's Ideas Forum. The group focus on discussion and scrutiny of artistic ideas which may come to them from anyone who is associated with the Company. Alison took to Chairing the meetings with real commitment and understanding... (Tim Wheeler, Artistic Director, Mind the Gap Theatre Company)

A photograph of Alison Short

All those on our current Sync Intensives Programme are highly creative people – of course. This month we are featuring Alison Short who works at Mind the Gap in Bradford.

Alison is Chair of the Ideas Forum or IF group – a creative role that she describes as one of the highlights of her professional working life.

The case study on Alison explores how chairing the IF group has allowed Alison to explore and support what matters to her in her own life but more importantly in the lives of other young people with learning disabilities, how her own experience of impairment shapes the way she delivers her role and also how she deals with both success and disappointment in her working life.

Alison views the world from a unique and positive perspective. Recently, a short film by Mind the Gap called Thug Dance was nominated for an award at the Oska Bright Film Festival in Brighton.

Alison told us 'I think it was nominated, because it had a lovely little twist in it – a double take, where something happens that you're not expecting....Opening people’s minds to another side of the story, showing people how they really are is what we're all about. We are all so quick to judge each other in life.'

To read the whole of Alison’s case study

The power of darkness

I have discovered that darkness can be utilised as a positive element to enable people to get out of their comfort zones and experience events and activities anew. Perhaps, darkness can even acquaint people with an aspect of themselves that they didn’t realise existed. (Lynn Cox)

cartoon eyes in the dark.

Another of our current Sync Intensives group is Lynn Cox, a coach, artist and trainer working in the cultural area. In her article this month, Lynn explores our cultural responses to darkness, and how, in true Sync style, she has found a positive way to explore these.

Lynn's attitude to her impairment is refreshingly different:

Being visually impaired has been a privilege for me. I’ve learn to recognise the size of a room by the echo, learnt not to worry if I’ve just missed the bus which I couldn’t see waiting at the stop, I can still mentally picture any scene and not worry if I have some details wrong, and I can definitely smell out any cuisine of food from 3 metres away.

She takes this confidence and ability to reframe perspectives into her work, currently running sessions with Dialogue in the Dark, a German Social Enterprise company, creating exhibitions , environments and workshops that take place - like the name suggests - entirely in the dark.

To read the whole of Lynn's article...

Having read her article, we wanted to know a little more about where Lynn's positive and compelling take on the world had come from and to find out more about her determination to make the best of what is put in front of her.

Cheekily we asked her a couple of questions and are delighted she is happy to share her answers with us all:

Since being a small child, I had so many people telling me I couldn’t do things because of my poor sight that I suppose I rebelled and tried to do them anyway - it’s amazing how many things you can do when you try, and you always learn something from your failures too. (Lynn Cox)

To read the case study on Lynn Cox...


a logo saying InSync with the y facing the other way

And finally, some news from us at Sync.

From January 2012, we are opening Sync up to anyone who is interested in leadership and diversity. Of course disabled people will be the focus of our courses and programmes, but from January, anyone will be able to sign up for our e-bulletins.

We know that our journeys, learning and leading have as much value for non-disabled people as they do for disabled people - and we thought this would be a great way to start sharing our discoveries - to get a whole new body of people InSync with us.

Also from January, we are offering a 21 day introduction to Sync. If you sign up for this, you’ll be sent one mini-email a day, telling you more about an aspect of Sync and linking to key resources on the site – it’s a great way of finding out more about us and the resources we've developed over the last two years. We've been very busy.

So from January, anyone can join up – for both the monthly bulletins and our introduction course – and if you can't wait 'til then, email us at and we can put you straight onto the lists!

That’s it for this month.

All the best,

Jo Verrent and Sarah Pickthall


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