• Supported by:
    Café of Ideas is supported by Hubspace - the hub of your online world
    Café of Ideas is supported by Mark McKergow / The Centre for Solutions Focus at Work
  • Led by:
    Café if Ideas is led by Pete Francomb - webby techy business guy
  • A member of:
    Café of Ideas is a member of Creative Bath - linking the creative industries in and around Bath

Main Content

Story 2009, Bath

How narrative gives form to human life


Thursday 26 November 2009


7pm - 10pm


Chapel Arts Centre, Main Studio, Chapel Arts, Lower Borough Walls, Bath, BA1 1QR, United Kingdom

Illustration: Richard Reed

Scroll down to see photos and comments from participants.

This event examines one of the fundamental and key elements to human existence.

From ancient epic poems to modern day movies, story underpins the whole of life and though there have been great societies throughout history that did not use the wheel, there have been none that did not tell stories.

Or to quote the great American literary critic Kenneth Burke, stories are "equipment for living" - and this discussion will explore the general power of story-telling beyond just the narrative elements of literature, film, and television.


On The Panel We Had

Dr Mark McKergow, an international consultant, speaker and author with an inimitable blend of scientific rigour and performance pizazz.  He has pioneered the development of solution focused change models in business - his book 'The Solutions Focus' (co-authored with Paul Z Jackson, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2002) was declared one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2002 in the USA.  He founded the SOLWorld international solutions focus conference series, is editor of the academic journal InterAction and has presented The Solutions Focus on every continent except Antarctica.

A scientist by training and nature, Mark consults to major corporations around the world and has a wealth of experience in working with senior managers and teams in business.  He also plays jazz clarinet.

Kevan Manwaring, an author, publisher, storyteller, performance poet and teacher. He has been performing his poetry and stories for more than a decade around England and abroad. In 1998 he was awarded the Bardic Chair of Caer Badon (Bath) for an epic poem based on the founder of the city, Bladud. With the Fire Springs storytellers group he has co-created and performed in several events. He runs creative-writing and performance skills workshops for all ages and teaches creative writing for the Open University & Imperial College, London. He is also the co-host of the Bath Writers Workshop and has his own publishing company called Awen Publications. He is the author of numerous books, including "The Bardic Handbook: The Complete Manual for the 21st Century Bard."

John Kirwan, a business mentor with a background in business life combined with a gluttony for philosophy. Studying for two degrees in the subject developed John’s enjoyment for that particular vice which he has since tried to turn into a virtue by applying its insights to the world of business. After 24 years with the Lloyds Banking Group where, amongst a variety of roles, he was Service Management Director in Business Banking, and having completed his MBA, John left a couple of years ago to become a business mentor with Strategic Planning Solutions (SPS). John helps all kinds of businesses - and his four young children – create narratives of purpose, meaning and success, and speaks both here and overseas on subjects such as Leadership, Personal Efficacy, and Human Responses to Change. His book, Good Small Business Planning Guide: How to Make a Successful Business Journey has just been published by A&C Black.

Helen Jury, an Artist, Artist Researcher and Art Psychotherapist with a strong interest in visual and narrative research. In the latter capacity she has worked with children from a range of backgrounds and with a range of problems including self harm, Eating Disorders, various physical and cognitive Learning Disabilities and children on the autistic spectrum. She has worked as a visiting lecturer in Art Psychotherapy for the University of Wales.

The Entertainment Was

Performance poetry from Master Duncan, the current Bard of Bath.

Live music from Saravian.


A Big Thank You To

Stoney, Charley and Phil at Chapel Arts for supporting the event, Roy Aza for charging half price for the lights, SuperMegaActionPlus for the video animation, and JR Ryan for the original concept.


"I thoroughly enjoyed it and, once again, I learned so much from everyone else there. It is a tribute to you that there were universally positive comments about the evening and it is a sure sign that you orchestrated a stimulating discussion when I reckon that I am not alone in continuing to ruminate on the issues long after the evening itself has finished."

John Kirwan, Business Mentor, Strategic Planning Solutions (SPS)



"It could be THE place that will bring this city together."

Saravian, Singer/songwriter




Sign Up For Our EBulletin