I spend the day at The Riverside Rooms in my office at the Southbank centre and meet Fiona Lambert the artist in residence liason, back after her pregnancy. Love it here. All’s well. All swell.
At 2 pm I skip across the river from Waterloo Bridge where I work and to Tower Bridge and Royal Mint Court to deliver a forty five minute talk. It’s part of a series of intense conferences around the country by a company called C4EO: Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in young people and childrens services..
This is the first of two London events and there is a marked difference in the mood. Social service practise in London is different to anywhere in Britain. It’s more pressured: by sheer weight of numbers to say the least. In the middle of the talk I found my emotions caught me and my voice wobbled – this happens occasionally. Emotion is a language our services could well learn to incorporate within their own practice. Professionalism and emotion do not have to be opposites in Childrens services.
But I am against using it as a tool in the building of talks and readings. However when it arises it is relevant. When I was a literature development worker in a cooperative about twenty years ago I heard a colleague say to another about some matter or other “you’re being over sensitive”. I spoke to her afterwards “a person can’t be OVER sensitive as senses are all we have to experience the world”. I’d rather explore why de-sensitivity happens on occassions .
Still the quiver gave depth to the occasion that no one was expecting least of all myself, though it may have passed unnoticed. The talk ends to applause and I know I have worked hard. As I walk back across the bridge alongside the river I think how much I enjoy articulating experiences and sharing insights from the stage and reading poems. But I enjoy it because I am capable of doing it. I have the ability and the skills. But i am as articulate on one day as I am inarticulate the next. I must look after myself. Inside us all is the centre for excellence and outcomes.