I was born in Isleworth and grew up West of London in the 1940s/1950s, part of the post-WW2 ‘baby boom’. In 1981 we moved to the USA and despite divorcing four short years later, I stayed in California for 25 years. For the last nine years I ran a technical writing business specialising in Medical Instrumentation documentation.
Approaching retirement, I returned to the UK and took root in the village of Catrine in East Ayrshire, where I have remained for 13 years. I have four sons. My #3 son and his family chose to return to the UK also and I am lucky enough to have them close in the same village.
Suffering from post-retirement ennui, I took some ‘access’ classes at the University of Glasgow and in 2014, graduated with an honours degree in Sociology and Politics. What I learned piqued an interest in post-industrialism especially as my village was originally built as Catrine Cotton Works by Glasgow entrepreneur David Dale during the first wave of industrialisation in Scotland. I was accepted into the research PhD program at Glasgow but was unable to get funding.
Since leaving university, I have been involved in organisations aimed at conservation and regeneration of the village. Catrine is sister to the World Heritage Site of New Lanark, the two having been built within a year of each other by the same entrepreneur. Sadly, Catrine’s outcomes have not been as rewarding as New Lanark’s and much of its original built heritage has been destroyed over time by local authorities and developers. We are trying to preserve the rest for the community. I have served on the Community Council, on the board of a local trust, on the ‘Action Plan’ group and recently launched, Catrine’s Heritage Action Team (CHAT) a SCIO created to bring Catrine’s built heritage into community ownership and make it work sustainably for the village. I also run a program called ‘Connecting Generations’ which brings together old and young in the community for activities and projects. I admin. three FaceBook pages, two websites (www.catrinesheritage.org and www.catrineconnections.org) and two twitter accounts. I also work with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s ‘Talking About Poverty’ run by On Road Media to try to change the language used by the mainstream media about poverty. I am driven by a desire to ‘understand’ poverty and community and in participating with the Institute for Community Studies hope to learn how research can perhaps influence policy.