As 2021 draws to a close, I reflect back on the past 12 months with gratitude and thanks to all my friends, family and peers who have supported me throughout this very strange time. Thanks for the love, kindness and laughter - you know who you are.
For me, 2021 was a year of introspection, of slowing down and asking myself some important questions about the direction of my work. It also presented some amazing and unexpected opportunities and a whole lot of learning and change. Here are a few of my musings and highlights.
The year kicked off with launching We Found Love In The 80s podcast (commissioned by Future Arts Centres for Here and Now 2020) at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival in February 2021. Timing was perfect as it coincided with 'Its A Sin' Channel 4 TV series by Russell T Davies. We Found Love In The 80s celebrates the diversity of Britain through love stories of couples who found love in the 1980s and and two of the love stories we feature are about gay / queer lives and relationships with the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. The podcast proved to be a hit, especially with The Guardian who selected the podcast as their top pick for 2021.
As part of the festival, I curated two special events for my Invisible Voices Series where I shine a light on subjects or issues that affect everyday lives. We screened We Found Love In The 80s and I hosted a special Q&A with Martyn Ware (Founder of the 80s bands Human League and Heaven17) along with two queer/gay couples who shared their experiences of hidden love in the decade of big hair and shoulder pads! It was absolutely fascinating listening to Ian Bodenham and Ian Johns talking about finding love in a London nightclub while Helen Juffs and Deirdre Figueiredo talk about their first kiss as work colleagues at Nottingham Castle.
I also spoke with TV and stage actor, writer Shobna Gulati who shared her journey of writing her debut book 'Remember Me: Discovering my mother as she lost her memory'.