Storytelling at the Ubele African and Caribbean Communities in Conversation


When I was about to finish my undergraduate degree at Pratt Institute, I decided to have some business cards made, to prepare me for the big bad world of work (or to be more precise, looking for it). I found this deal in downtown Brooklyn where I could get 5,000 cards for a relatively reasonable price. So I decided to design cards with content that would be relevant for many years to come. That meant two things:

  1. I had to be very careful about what contact information I included. I settled with simply an email address. That was comprised of my full name. That was not likely to change (potential future husband – know this).
  2. I needed to put a lot of thought into how I described myself. I'm a girl of many interests and I've known for a long time that I would indulge many of them, in a professional capacity, if possible. At the time, I didn't know how it would all pan out but I knew I needed a 'title' that allowed me flexibility. So I came up with something that had to do with the essence of what I wanted to do in life (the specifics not being clear): storyteller & ideamonger.  


Stories? How?

9 years later, those words are still relevant. Many people assume that I'm a storyteller of the traditional kind – somebody who sits down in front of you and literally tells you a story. I've often considered dropping it because of this common misconception.

This weekend however, I get to satisfy those who would doubt its relevance. I will be participating in the Ubele Community Conversation on Saturday 14th September, in London – "An invitation to African and Caribbean elders, adults and young people to come together in a creative space for conversation, reflection and finding new ways of building a thriving African Diaspora community in the UK."

The first part of the day will consist of several people telling their stories in small break-out groups. The lovely Yvonne Field, founder of the Ubele initiative, briefed me yesterday – the idea is to have an open and honest dialogue about my experiences (good and challenging), as a black, African, female entrepreneur and participant in the creative industry.


The objective of the day

In essence, the event seeks to explore this question: 

"Given the challenges and opportunities facing African Diaspora communities, how do we work together to build a sustainable future, given the realities of System UK?"


The event's promo materials explain what to expect:

"During the conversation you will be introduced to innovative ways of ‘seeing’, responding to and suggesting changes in what is happening in our community through the ‘U Process’ – you shall also be introduced to other participative and creative techniques we use in our work."


Why I'm looking forward to it

I'm excited about the day for several reasons:

  • I love listening to other people's stories and sharing mine. People are amazing and getting an insight into their lives is often an educational and inspiring experience. 
  • Participants (we) will be "introduced to innovative ways of ‘seeing’, responding to and suggesting changes in what is happening in our community through the ‘U Process’ – you shall also be introduced to other participative and creative techniques we use in our work". I've been very intrigued by the U Process for a while and I'm excited to finally get a practical chance to see how it works, led by Martin Kalungu-Banda, UK Director of the Presencing Institute.
  • And last but not least, a day of collective idea generation with an intergenerational group of people who share some slice of my experience in the UK (and in the world) is not a bad way to spend a chunk of my Saturday at all!


Join us! All you need to do is book your free ticket here (only a handful remaining at the time of posting)!

Hear what participants of past conversations had to say, including the women's conversation and the men's conversation. See you Saturday!

PS I probably still have about 3,000+ of those cards!





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