Originally from Aberdeen, Jean grew up surrounded by stories. Her father was a sculptor, teaching for many years at Gray's School of Art. His passion for the natural landscape and its history meant we went long, long walks in all weathers exploring beaches, ruined castles, stone circles always collecting pebbles, driftwood, shells and stories. Out of this childhood grew her own love and respect for story and landscape. After a post-graduate year at Aberdeen Teacher Training College , followed by several years as a playgroup leader then nursery teacher, then designer, Jean began to develop her ideas into writing and running writing workshops. It was during this time that she started regularly attending storytelling workshops run by Mary Medlicott and Karen Tovell , and suddenly ‘being a chatterbox’ made sense. Jean is now a storyteller and a storymaker.
Jean has worked for over 20 years as a professional storyteller and writer. This has been a wonderful journey taking her to schools, nurseries, museums, libraries, universities, colleges, community centres, cathedrals, forests and many other exciting destinations, and she is still travelling. Jean enjoys working with other artists and has recently completed short residencies working alongside dancer Rosina Bonsu in nurseries, schools and the Burrell. In 2010 with Rosina she created a performance for the Edinburgh Mela, Royal Botanic Gardens and The Scottish Storytelling Centre. Earlier this year Jean worked with Light and Sound artist Tim Fitzpatrick, New Lanark Primary School and Historic Scotland to create a new performance for New Lanark Mills World Heritage Day.
While living in Glasgow, Jean worked in Primary Schools, Libraries, Museums and Arts and Communitiy Centres across Scotland. She has run workshops and CPD sessions for teachers, parents, carers and has been involved in several intergenerational projects most recently for the NHS. Jean has also worked with Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, Historic Scotland, Hidden Gardens, The Scottish Storytelling Centre, the Princess Royal Trust Young Carers, The Scottish Housing Association, Creative Therapies in Yorkhill Hospital, Feis Rois, In 2011 she worked as lead artist alongside a visual artist and poet, on a 12 week project with a group of older people and carers. This was organised by Glasgow Association of Mental Health and Scope.
In 2012 Jean created with fellow storytellers Bea Ferguson and Allison Galbraith and musician Jenny Gardnerl 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon' which was presented during the Scottish Storytelling Festival and is now available as a performance with workshops and would be of interest to schools and colleges.
In 2013 Jean will begin working as a facilitator with "The Living Voices' project, working in two Care Homes in South Ayrshire. This is organised by the Scottish Poetry Library and The Scottish Storytelling Centre.
Jean is available to work with children and adults telling stories in performance, or using stories as a starting point to discover people's own stories. Workshops are informal, gentle and positive and suitable for parents, teachers, carers or anyone who is interested in including storytelling and storymaking in their work. Jean also enjoys working on residencies either in schools or with community groups and with other storytellers and artists.
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Everyone is a storyteller! Find out how you can learn a few tales to share with friends or how you can become a professional.