Ways of spreading an important message, beginning with a hat

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For Tour De France season, we had these Torchlight System cycling caps made in collaboration with Andy and Phil at The Ride Journal. Get in touch if you’d like one for your training rides, runs, yoga sessions or anything else — they’re also available at torchlightsystem.com/buy. I took a few out on a spin around London the other day, stopping off to support Rob Stephenson in his #MindCycle2018 initiative (there’s a vlog here). Rob has been cycling the entire Tour De France on a static bike at a range of locations, in support of MQ: Transforming Mental Health. …

How we used images as well as text to tell a story of depression and anxiety, breakdown and recovery in Torchlight: A Publication About Asking For Help

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When Enver Hadzijaj and I were making Torchlight: A Publication About Asking For Help between 2015 and 2017, we wanted to produce something that was art as much as words (it’s a linear narrative, so there are quite a few words), an object which was both beautiful as well as useful. This post shows some of things we did to give publication a visual narrative, including some word-paintings we added to it.

On helping and SuperHelpers who emerge from nowhere to make a big and transformative effect on your project, inspired by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Have you read “The Black Swan” by the author Nassim Nicholas Taleb? It’s a fantastic book (and nothing to do with the Natalie Portman film). Some of the content is complex and there’s a lot of technical stuff about risk and probability in it, but the basic idea is simple and rings very true. A Black Swan is a highly improbable event that emerges seemingly from nowhere and causes a massive impact. The credit crunch, 9/11, the Brexit vote — these are all Black Swan events, things which are big, scary, disruptive and definitive. …

Where the Torchlight project is going this year and what “storytelling for recovery” means

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Aristotle used the word Catharsis (“purification”) to describe the audience’s response to the drama unfolding on the stage. The emotional release that occurs when some moment of tragedy or comedy befalls to the actor is a once-removed, by-proxy way to feel things without undergoing the actual pain or elation of the dramas being enacted. …

I’ve been dealing with an unusual experience, something that’s take a while to adjust to. When I ran the Berlin Marathon in 2009, the overwhelming feeling upon crossing the finish line was of wanting to lie down on the floor and stay there: I felt a blissful, almost transcendant sensation of extreme relief after 4hrs and 23s second of agonised running. …

Bill Drummond of The KLF once wrote that doubt is an important part of any creative project, and right from the start, doubt has been everpresent in the work I’ve been doing to develop Torchlight System: will it be any good, will it be useful, should I do it? Two events over the last couple of weeks have assuaged some of those doubts, and forcefully.

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Practice Cards show useful suggestion for living with anxiety and depression

Last Sunday we launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to reprint the Torchlight publication and Practice Cards. By Tuesday evening, with the help of backers from all over the world, we beat the target. I was astonished, to say the least, along with feeling deeply grateful for everyone’s sharing and pledging (we’ve since added a stretch goal). …

Some thoughts on those subjects

There’s a been a lot happening with the project I began rolling out a few months ago, Torchlight System, and they’ve taught me something about the way life works.

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At the Brit School in Croydon

Last night I did a presentation about Torchlight System at the Minds@Work meetup at the offices of Clifford Chance in London (thank you Stacy Thomson). The day before I presented the project to an assembly of 150 deafeningly enthusiastic year-11 students at the Brit School in Selhurst, and last week I presented to a group at Feed Communications’ Berlin HQ as part of the Mental Health Awarness week. Next week I’m speaking at Rife Magazine’s youth mental health meetup at Watershed in Bristol, and then going to the Ash Villa school in Sleaford to meet with a further group of young people. …

How we do it at Made by Many, and what it’s done for me

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Me doing some “writing” in Vienna, 2011. Or maybe 2012

In the last few years storytelling has been quite the thing in business: a fetish commodity which can be bought and sold, a vital new process, and a subject about which textbooks have been written (Stephen Denning’s “The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling” and Carmine Gallo’s “The Storyteller’s Secret”). Yet the term itself remains a bit nebulous and vapour-like, a thing that means different things to different people at different times and in different contexts.

I say that because I’ve been “doing storytelling” at Made by Many for the last couple of years, having in 2015 started work here as an “embedded storyteller”, a title which has been alternately flattering and confusing. In this post I’ll set out how this particular story has developed, along with my views on what storytelling means, how we do it at Made by Many, and something surprising that this job title did for me. …

On internet publishing, fake news, art, and weirdness for its own sake

Over 150 years ago the young French poet Arthur Rimbaud practiced the “systematic derangement of the senses” in a bid to achieve poetic transcendence. By way of trying to understand and embrace the weirdness of the world we live in, we’ve since had modernism, post-modernism, the death of the grand narrative and the birth of the non-linear narrative from James Joyce to William Burroughs to JG Ballard. Assaults on the singular perspective also came from Freud’s theory of the Unconscious, while Dada, Cubism and Surrealism all articulated the notion that things can have many meanings and interpretations: it depends on how you’re looking at them. …

Earlier this year Made by Many completed a project to refresh, enhance and supercharge the Victoria & Albert’s web presence — applying a layer of digital deep into the heart of the museum. In this story people from Made by Many and the V&A discuss the work that went into it

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Few institutions are more naturally “legacy” than a museum, whose purpose is to contain, curate and present the past as it flows from the present. So what would digital modernity mean for one such as the Victoria & Albert with its world-leading collections of art and design. …

About

Kevin Braddock

Founder www.torchlightsystem.com, Storytelling for Recovery (ex-@MadebyMany, GQ, The Face)

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