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Jo Stanley

Consultant in maritime history and creative lifestory

My other lives

I have been writing non-fiction flat out for far too long now. But among my other sides are these.

Re-texturing history

Making textile art, with historical photos transferred to fabric. This seems to me to be a way of adding another dimension to history, especially using old clothes and photoshopped images.

It is a rare pleasure for me to combine representing other's history with exploring my own history and also sharing something I've sewn at home in a private fine art struggle to convey a subjective truth.

My Magic Clock, Easter 69 by Jo Stanley at Tales from the City, Museum of LiverpoolMagic clock ground floor layoutThe Museum of Liverpool has included my stitched map of the queer pub where I (fairly) innocently pulled pints in 1969.

The fabric piece and accompanying drawing of the ground plan are in the LGBTQI+ exhibition Tales from the City, and on the related blog:

Writing fiction

Whenever I can I write short stories, and often publish them under pseudonyms. 'Lying creatively' is a great way of taking time out from being a teller of literal truths, as a historian. And it's a way to weave and explore all the things that I discover that have to be off the record.

I used to write a lot of fringe plays and enjoyed having them performed. I've even got an MA in Modern Drama. Exploring with actors and directors is so eye-opening that I hope to do more plays soon.

Doing performance poetry

There's something so exciting about speaking/dancing/miming something, not just writing a straight history book. My next few years, I hope, will involve lots more use of open mic nights and playing with idea of uttering sounds, not just words.

And the rest …

  • I go walking by the reservoirs five minutes away
  • I draw with pastels
  • Gossiping with mates is one of my favourite activities, especially over cocktails and cake
  • Yes, I am that stereotype, a woman with a cat - and proud of her, Amber.

If I could do anything I'd

  • Have been a feature film director
  • Make our too-big garden an atmospheric one, with the help of many creative green-fingered experts
  • Get my health back
  • Organise peace and justice in the world. Now. Just like that.


Fred and Rita - silver wedding

Fred and Rita's honeymoon

5anarchist sheep in our garden, Pennines

Anarchist sheep in our garden, Pennines