Telling Data Stories

Telling Data Stories-1

I have always admired the GiGL teams’ approach to technology. They understand, better than any group of people I know, how technology can be used to achieve great results, to tell stories that inspire change, and not just to impress and scare lesser mortals.

Many of GiGL’s service users may not be aware of the detail and intelligence that goes into every product and service they create. They perform technological feats that are barely short of miraculous and make it look effortless. The ability to deliver better services more efficiently is at the heart of everything the GiGL team develop. While I may not always understand the technology behind their services, I do understand that it is their service users’ needs that drive their endless innovation.

I’m fortunate to have worked with some of the great story tellers, from individuals and performers who can hold an audience in their thrall, to huge commercial entertainment companies such as Warner Bros and the BBC. Story-telling predates written cultures by thousands of years. It is at the heart of all good communication and at the heart of all my work. It is a skill to which everyone responds. Stories package raw information in a way that makes it easy for us to imagine a scenario, understand the context of facts, data and events, connect information in our minds and form a clear mental picture. Continue Reading →


October 4, 2012 / Illustration, Showcase / 0 Comments /

One of a series of images for a personal project. (work in progress)


October 4, 2012 / Illustration, Showcase / 2 Comments /

Another from a series of images for a personal project. (work in progress)

Marionette III

October 4, 2012 / Illustration, Showcase / 0 Comments /
Marionette III-1


One of a series of images for a personal project. (work in progress)

Urban foxes and love lost through familiarity

January 4, 2012 / Showcase, Writing / 6 Comments /

I was greeted by a sad sight on Monday morning. Sometime during the night, a fox had been hit by a car and crawled as far as my front garden to die. It was, despite severe impact damage to its jaw, a beautiful animal which had been in the peak of health.

What saddened me most was the reaction of the neighbours gathered for their morning gossip. One, chihuahua in arms, looked at the fox and said; “Oh, that’s a shame, but I can’t say I’m sorry. There are far too many of them. They snatch chihuahuas – they’ve taken them in this area before – I have to be careful with Lily.”

At my incredulous look, she continued; “It’s in surprisingly good condition, but most foxes have mange and pass it on to dogs.” I resisted the temptation to say that if a fox got close enough to snatch her dog, it wouldn’t have a chance to contract mange. It’s a nice dog. I wouldn’t want to upset it. Continue Reading →

Hearing London afresh

August 16, 2010 / London, Showcase, Writing / 5 Comments /

Selective hearing is a great thing, especially living in London where so many noises assault our ears and compete for our attention throughout the day. But selective hearing can block out the good with the bad.

Which is why it’s so refreshing to discover someone who helps us to hear the sounds of the city afresh. Ian Rawes’ London Sound Survey has re-opened my ears to the audio world of the capital.

Ian’s recordings are, to me, like photographs that capture a moment in time and forever allow a viewer or listener to focus on something that would otherwise have passed them by. Continue Reading →

Have a little faith

August 11, 2010 / Science, Showcase, Writing / 12 Comments /

Do you believe in climate change?

Every newspaper, website, blog site, etc. has an opinion on the subject. We are flooded by inch upon column inch of reportage, opinion and hyperbole. With such a quantity of information being force-fed to us, surely we are all equipped to offer a judgement on the truth of the matter.

No, we’re not.

A high number of column inches does not equate to high quality information. Neither does an ability to read (or to write) equate to understanding the subject matter in hand. A large quantity of information does, however, contribute to a common belief that we all know it all. Continue Reading →

Bat walks with Pete

June 17, 2010 / Showcase, Writing / 2 Comments /

Stag Headed OakThe first time I met Pete, he held captive an audience of 200 people from the lofty heights of a park bench.

Like the Bearded Piper of Dulwich Park, he lead fascinated bat enthusiasts on a walk through the twilight of south London. He instilled a spectral calm amongst the crowd as they pricked their ears, listening for the tell tale rattle on the bat detectors that told them to look to the sky and see pipistrelles dart across the inky blue.

He held us in thrall with tales of how clouds of bats used to be seen at dusk along the Thames estuary, how numbers had declined so far in a short time that they had become an Continue Reading →

Plan Bee

April 4, 2010 / London, Showcase, Writing / 0 Comments /

It’s surprising where life can lead you when you’re not looking. Taking a Canadian houseguest on her first walk through suburban London, I sought out local experiences that would give her a feel of the real life of London far away from the ubiquitous Tower and the Changing of the Guard.

So it was that I took my visitor for a wander to my local allotments summer open day. Amongst the vegetables, cake sales and barbecue we discovered Mike and Sue, local gardening and bee-keeping professionals. While Sue was busy painting children’s faces with butterflies and bees, Mike was selling jars of their own honey and handing out leaflets about their new bee-keeping course.

Continue Reading →

The Gallery – Pattern of Life

January 20, 2009 / Photography, Showcase / 2 Comments /