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Jo Stanley

Consultant in maritime history and creative lifestory

Lifestory Recording

Real people's histories – not just those of celebrities – deserve to be told. Such slices of 'ordinary' life reveal hidden histories.

AOW 2015

I do this work as:

  • An oral historian, making exhibitions and books of many people's stories, photos and artefacts
  • A teacher/ facilitator, showing people ways to create their lifestory

How to do it

It's often quite hard for people to get that huge and puzzling lifestory out, let alone write it creatively. As 'a lifestory midwife' I found it works to take oblique approaches to it, such as

  • Make a rag book of your story. Tell it wordlessly in textiles.
  • Create subjective maps of places in your past. Or represent your life as a map. One of the best workshops I ever did with Manchester's Transforum, where people tried to draw their life as a Metro system, with its tiny branch lines and major termini. What's your circle line called?
  • Play do-it-yourself Desert Island Discs. Identify the key pieces of music in your past then structure your memoir around that
  • Contact me [] if you want me to lead a workshop on creative lifestorying, or to give you news of my next one.



Writing out your life cover

Writing Out Your Life:
A Guide to Writing Creative Autobiography

Available from Amazon

Rag book

A completed rag book: My Realisations