Doing better things

Dyfrig Williams

Since the hype around Chat GPT first emerged there has been lots of discussion around the role of artificial intelligence in the workplace and if/when we will get replaced by our robot overlords.

robot A robot army

We've recently been auditing our videos to see which transcriptions have slipped the net and reviewing our processes to be and do better in future. It's given us the opportunity to look at the gap between automated transcriptions and the efforts of transcription companies. The standards of automated transcription have got a lot better over the last couple of years, but they still need a human eye to check them.

Tech colonialism

One of the issues with automated transcription is how it perceives non-English names. AI is currently providing an anglocentric view of the world because of the data it's working with. It generally works for our videos because they're produced in the English language. But whilst having my name changed to Derek is quite funny initially, the novelty definitely wears off. I'm regularly reminded of this flaw whenever I use mapping systems back home – they butcher Welsh placenames as a matter of course. Projects like Mapio Cymru and Common Voice are so important in addressing this.

There are also issues with how AI Algorithms are seeing and representing the world as stereotypes. AI might be able to augment human outputs, but if we're not triangulating those outputs with other sources, we're letting the biases beneath them go unchecked.

Taking a different perspective

Lots of the proposed cases I've seen for AI have been as a labour saver, but that labour is just displaced somewhere else. This article on how people in Nairobi are processing data to train AI is depressing – our exploitative use of AI in the West is in turn leading to the exploitation of people in the Global South.

If we take an extractive perspective where we contribute nothing and take value, we are in trouble. But if we look at how we can work in partnership with technology, then that opens up a whole world of possibilities. This article by Janet Vertesi delves into what a healthier approach would look like and why it's more likely to succeed. For example Spotify and other streaming services are cannibalising the music industry, but if we looked at algorithms as a source of creativity instead, then the system feels a lot healthier:

“Artists could write or curate their own algorithms to fuel creativity and retain credit for their work. Of course, rejecting replacement does not eliminate all ethical concerns with AI. But many problems associated with human livelihood, agency and bias shift when replacement is no longer the goal.”

This reminded me of Vanguard's work on public service, where they talk about the importance of starting with changing our mindsets before tinkering with systems and performance. If our thinking dictates that AI is solely a means of saving money, then our defacto purpose becomes delivering a cheap service, not a good one. Technology isn't an answer to the questions that we face, it is a tool that can help us to do better things. And if we approach AI with that perspective, then we will be much better placed to deliver human-centred services and support.

I recently had my annual review, which gave me a chance to reflect on the year gone by, so I trawled through my posts and caught up with my line manager on my work this year and also the developments in the role.

Feedback and reflection

Generally things have gone well, but there's still lots of potential to further embed learning into the core products of the business. We've previously tested new products which we've called Learning Pathways, where people are taken on a learning journey through a variety of resources. Our website held us back a bit, but we've just shifted from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 10, which gives us the opportunity to further develop these resources. These will require a different way of working, with increased collaboration across different departments. It will be interesting to see what procedural and cultural shifts will be required.

As an organisation we're at an interesting point in our development – we've outgrown some of our simple processes, which don't help us keep each other accountable. I've been pushing back against some things that increase bureaucracy, but I've struggled to understand when it's useful to be the grit in the oyster and when I should let things go. There are occasions when it feels like it’s expected that I will disagree, and that doesn't feel like a helpful space to be in.

What do I want to be saying at my next annual review?

This time next year I hope to be saying that it both looks and feels like I am a supportive member of our middle manager group, and that our resources are better designed to implement and facilitate change.


I'm now managing our UX Officer. We're currently prototyping an approach to UX that is based on our internal experience of hybrid working. We will use the learning from that work to look at how we can bring UX into the development of wider work streams.

I have some knowledge around UX, but I'm by no means an expert. The limitations in my knowledge can limit the support that I’m able to offer, but as a counterpoint, I'm able to give a good steer around the nature of our work and resources, as well as knowledge around how our partners work.

I'm also really interested in testing how we can change the way that our multimedia resources feel. We're looking at how we can better design them to make it easier for people to emotionally connect with them and put the learning into practice, as per the Elephant and the Rider analogy.

What do I want to be saying at my next annual review?

This time next year I hope to be saying that the relational nature of our resources makes it easier for people to apply them in practice. I also want to increase my knowledge around UX so that I can better support and challenge my colleague.

Growth and Development

I've learnt so much from being on Twitter over the years, but X is no longer a helpful space. Helen Lewis' description of it as “bobbing for apples in a bowl full of amateur race scientists” feels about right to me. Moving away from X means that I need to develop new online networks. Whilst imperfect, the Fediverse seems like a good place to do that.

What do I want to be saying at my next annual review?

I hope to develop my learning from new sources and networks over the coming year.


This year hasn't been super easy as I've overloaded myself a bit.

I'm getting to grips with the rhythm of a four day working week. Basically, Tuesday is hectic, and I lighten my load as the week progresses until I have the time and space to crack on on Friday. I learnt a tonne from Happy on productivity, and I want to more consistently put some of those tools into practice.

Cycling has been my go to activity to take a break and look after myself both mentally and physically. When I started cycling a decade ago, I didn't know how much work bike maintenance would be. I've learnt a tonne from it, but building up a gravel bike has taken a lot of effort. Annoyingly, the forks on my fixed gear bike broke as I started working on my gravel bike. Getting both bikes on the road has been a real effort when I really could have done with some spare time. The early morning bike rides have been incredible though, and exploring back home on my gravel bike made it all worthwhile this summer.

A photo from the top of a hill over a green valley, taken whilst exploring Wales on my gravel bike

My blogging has taken a bit of a hit with the squeeze on my spare time. I've not been as productive as I would like, but I also want to be generous with myself. I don't feel like any of my time has been wasted, and I hope to get back on it during the last part of the year.

What do I want to be saying at my next annual review?

That I'm not starting my day with emails on Wednesday-Friday, having identified the key tasks for me to focus on the day before.

With the winter nights bearing in, it's important that I hold my “no meetings over lunchtime” boundaries so that I can get out for exercise when I might not otherwise be able to.

As ever, it will be interesting to reflect on this post at the end of this year and see what I've put into practice and what I haven't. Something to reflect on at next year's annual review too!

Twitter used to be the one stop shop for microblogging, but it seems that we're all now spread between a variety of platforms.

Image description

It's been a good half a year since I wrote a post pitching that people get involved with Mastodon. We had a fascinating chat in work around the platform, what our initial experiences were and what we had learnt. Of everybody there, I was probably the person who was most excited about it, and also the person least confused by it.

This post by Erin Kissane suggests that of the many reasons people have left Mastodon, some found it to be too confusing, too much work and too intimidating.

It's a real shame that Mastodon wasn't able to capitalise on the decline of Twitter. Maria Antoniak nicely encapsulates the current state of play and how the community might move forward:

“It might be a good time for the Mastodon community to reflect on how it’s failed the average user — the kind of user who is most comfortable with easy-to-use apps like Facebook and Instagram. We need healthy social media alternatives so badly, and the way to win this war is by creating alternatives that are realistic and delightful to use.”

Listening to people from minoritised communities on Mastodon has been a learning experience too – some features and community members have made the platform an unwelcoming space. The lack of a quote post function has served to minimise the shaming aspect of Twitter, but without that call and response feature it hasn't felt like a viable alternative to Black Twitter for many.

Mastodon is definitely not a like for like replacement for Twitter. Whilst my interactions have been predominantly positive, the limitations with the search (which are thankfully changing) has meant that it has been hard to find specific information and communities. Terence Eden's post on the complexities of search is well worth a read.

Why stick with Mastodon?

It's easy to think about Mastodon in isolation. As it's part of the Fediverse, there's lots of scope for Mastodon to develop, or for other platforms to develop from it.

Whilst Mastodon isn't a perfect learning space right now, it has much more potential to develop into a workable (and pleasant) one than its alternatives. There are a lot of people from tech on the platform, which does make it feel like the early days of Twitter.

So what about the alternatives?

Having ditched the Meta ecosystem, I have no desire to get sucked back in via Threads.

I don't have much faith in Blue Sky either. There seems to be a collective amnesia around what Twitter was like before Elon Musk took over. I fell out of love with Twitter well before Musk bought it. To me it feels like he just hastened its demise. I'm waiting to see how Blue Sky functions on Jack Dorsey's watch, and whether it feels any different.

Whilst Mastodon has lots of room to develop and be better, the user (and instance)-centred moderation is incredibly refreshing when compared with Twitter. Different options around removing words and phrases from your timeline, as well as community content warnings all make it feel considerably less toxic than Twitter.

There are open discussions around participative models for the platform. Whilst it's not perfect right now, it is changing and developing at pace. In fact, it's taken me so long to write this post that lots of the issues that I had when I started writing have begun to be dealt with (search being a case in point).

Mastodon has shown me that social networks don't have to be toxic, and it gives me hope for finding effective learning spaces in the future.

I've been looking at research around attention spans as I'm examining how Research in Practice might develop our online learning offer.

It's no surprise that people interact differently in an online space when compared to in-person spaces. But what does the evidence actually tell us?

Attention Span Somebody looking at a butterfly instead of doing work on a computer

Are our attention spans decreasing?

Contrary to popular belief, our attention spans aren't shrinking due to our increasing use of technology. This article on the BBC serves as a warning for how we use evidence without checking the sources. Facts and figures from dubious sources have been shared around the effect of technology without any actual evidence to support these claims.

So if our attention spans aren't shrinking, does this mean we can go back to death by PowerPoint again?

“How much attention we apply to a task will vary depending on what the task demand is”

This quote from the article gave me plenty to think about. If there is no demand or exercise that requires people to listen, they are likely to switch off. Talking at people for an extended period of time, particularly in an online space where people have lots of competing demands for their attention, means that people will likely tune out. There isn't a perfect amount of time that will ensure that people maintain their focus – this is context and content specific. But if we involve people in the delivery and demonstrate that their input is both required and appreciated, then they are more likely to focus and feed in to the exercises that we run.

One of the cool things about working in an organisation like Research in Practice is that we are able to take the learning from resources that we work on and put them into practice in our own work.

When I became a line manager again I checked in with my colleagues in the Business Development team around how I might start the relationships positively. They pointed me towards the supervision agreements that were put together for the Practice Supervisor Development Programme, which help to clarify expectations around how we might work together.


A close up of someone's hand as they sign a contract or agreement

Going through the back catalogue

Becoming a line manager again has made me delve through some old posts too. In a previous post, I wrote about wanting to have adult-adult relationships, and that's something that I think supervision agreements can help to establish. The rationale for agreements reminds me of a post that I wrote on groundrules – they can provide a shared statement for helpful interactions.

Reading back over that post on groundrules reminded me that I should check in on what the organisational values mean to us and what other values are important to us too. Do we have a shared understanding of these values? For example, what does it mean to be kind and how might that look in practice?

The clarity from the agreements reminds me of the manual of me approach, except the agreement goes beyond this into a shared commitment for how two people will work together.

Going beyond command and control

What I really like about the supervision agreement is that it places the responsibility for a healthy relationship at the door of both parties. In a command and control organisation it becomes the responsibility of the manager to shape the relationship as the buck stops with them. I'm looking forward to seeing how the agreements can help us to move beyond that point so that we have the basis for effective and supportive working relationships.

I've had a couple of conversations about Communities of Practice lately. One person said to me that Communities of Practice don't really work. It might be that they’re not a good fit for what they’re trying to achieve, but there are also lots of things that aren’t often taken into consideration that can determine the success (or not) of Communities of Practice.

Why might we need communities of practice?

There isn't a silver bullet approach for gaps in traditional learning provision, but we need to give consideration to how learning from training can be applied in reality. The gap between learning and practice is usually smaller within communities of practice because the content is driven by learner needs. Communities of practice within single organisations are also better placed to grapple with their organisational context.

There are some great quotes from Prof. Donald Forrester et al's research in this brilliant Practice Supervisor Development Programme guide on Communities of Practice. They describe how “culture eats training for breakfast” and that we need to “focus not just on helping individuals to improve their practice but also on changing the organisational contexts which they work in.”

This is bang on, and reflects lots of what I've learnt from communities of practice over the years. Here’s what sticks out for me.

What's in it for me?

Before starting, it's important to have a clear idea of what you want the community of practice to achieve. In doing so, it's important to go beyond the benefit to the host organisation or department. The benefit to us will be quite clear – we're developing a supportive learning environment which will yield deep learning. The bigger question is what's in it for the community members, and how can we demonstrate and articulate this value at the outset? What is going to make people put in the time and effort to contribute? This is a particularly important question to ask in the social care sector, where time is a precious commodity and large caseloads are well documented.

They're free?! What are we waiting for?

Organisations spend thousands of pounds on training every year, whilst self-hosted communities of practice are free… in theory. The “in theory” is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Whilst there isn't a cost for the facilitator, it takes a lot of staff time to make a community of practice work. Whilst it's tempting to think that all the amazing people who have joined your community of practice will just immediately crack on and start sharing expertise and information, the reality is that people will be participating on top of their day job. The role of the “Community Gardener” (as it’s called in the PSDP guide) is really important – you need someone to tend to the community to demonstrate that it is a safe and welcoming space where learning is both welcomed and encouraged.

Not as many people will contribute as you think

The community of practice will start out quite low on people's priority list. There will be a lot of lurking going on until you can demonstrate the value of the space. Even then, the participation rates will likely be quite low.

It's important to have a large community so that you have a high number of active participants. This excellent post on communities of practice by WhatsThePont suggests that only 1% of people will actually create content, 9% will edit, modify or comment on that content an 90% will be lurkers. This feels about right from my experience of multi-agency Slack groups over the years.

Slack Emojis appearing on a Slack themed background

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

When you get lots of people together in one place with rich practice knowledge, you can unlock so much information that would otherwise be hidden. This paper on 'Theories and Frameworks for Online Education: Seeking an Integrated Model' encapsulates that nicely. When analysing Siemens' theory of connectivism, Picciano looks at how “learning rests in a diversity of opinions.” If we apply a strengths-based lens and see the wealth of knowledge that participants bring with them, we can see how the range of ideas and viewpoints can help us to grapple with the complex environments in which we work. There is no one size fits all, but collectively we have lots of knowledge and expertise that can help us to explore what might work.

As of this month I'll be a line manager again after a bit of a break. As a bit of a refresher to myself, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on what I did well and what I would do differently the second time around.

Start as you mean to go on

My previous role was the first time that I had line managed people and I learnt a tonne from it. I went into the role with a plan in my head around implementing a servant leadership approach. It was broadly positive, but it meant that I boxed myself in a bit. Going in to a situation with a methodology in mind is the ideological equivalent of “to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Aligning yourself too close with any theory can be problematic. Think Ferris Bueller.

Ferris Bueller Ferris Bueller saying “Isms in my opinion are not good”


Every person is different. Of the 3 people I initially managed, one person and I clicked. Their strengths complemented where I needed development, and my management style was what they needed from me. When reflecting in coaching last year, we talked about relational approaches being within my comfort zone. The others needed something different from me, which I didn't get my head around until much later when we had settled patterns and interactions. This time I'm looking to get some helpful processes in place early doors to mitigate some of my weaknesses. I want to take some of the emotion out of conversations. I'm looking to link our one to one conversations with the middle manager meetings, so that we all have clear expectations and clarity around what's expected.

Helpful challenge

When managing one of my colleagues, I ended up moving between “overly directive” and “overly nice.” I had to counter-balance each approach when the fallout inevitably happened. This time I'm aiming to avoid that pendulum swing. I'm going for the sweet spot of the Social Discipline Window, the helpful challenge. I'll be keeping that in mind throughout my conversations, looking to create adult to adult conversations and spaces.

Avoiding the hospital pass

As a middle manager, there were lots of things that were out of my control. When these cropped up, I would tend to pass them on to my manager, who at least in theory was in a position to do something about them. In retrospect, this meant that I sent some hospital passes their way.

Peer to peer conversations really helped me think about how I might better deal with these conversations. A colleague told me that when they got similar requests, they would go back to the staff member to say that they needed clear evidence that an approach was required before they would take it to senior management. This put the responsibility back on the individual to develop the work, retained agency in the space, and also gave them time to have wider conversations around the issue too.

Here we go again

So I'll soon be back in a line management role, which will give us a clear direction of travel around quality assurance, learning resources and user experience. I'm looking forward to the challenge this time. This post has been exactly what I wanted to get out my blogging this year – an opportunity to reflect on my learning. I'm sure there will be more of these posts as my line management develops!

I was always rubbish at practical subjects like Design Technology at school. That became my barometer of whether someone had practical skills – were they able to whittle something out of wood? I was not. I was an introspective thinky boy, which has fed into my perception of myself as an adult.

I found myself reflecting on my childhood education whilst listening to this Squiggly Careers podcast on doing by learning. David Erixon talks about how YouTube videos are powerful moments of learning, and it struck a chord with me.

I'd given up on being a practical guy until I got into cycling. But as I started racking up the miles on my bike, I realised that I couldn't take it into the bike shop everytime something needed a tweak. It was going to get expensive very quickly unless I could learn how to maintain the bike myself. I've learnt and applied so much from channels like GCN Tech, which have saved me a fortune on bike servicing.

Kermit standing on a moving bike Kermit standing on a moving bike

How do we communicate complex learning ideas in video?

We're currently testing some video development processes. We're looking at alternatives to the talking heads approach so that we can create narratives around the application of social care tools in practice.

The GCN videos that have enabled me to index my gears and recondition my brakes are in really simple contexts – the bike either works or it doesn't. In social care it's about hearts and minds. We have to work with people's messy realities and engage with them. This means thinking about how we can bring people with us.

My colleague Phil (who is part of Baobab Theatre) and I have been working on how we can commission or develop better videos. We're thinking in particular around how our resources make people feel. In initial conversations with colleagues, Phil's use of mood boards made it much easier to explain how we want resources to resonate with people.

Influencing practice

Mairi-Anne Macdonald shared this EfratFurst site on making sense of cognitive science and education with me, which breaks learning down into different stages. I find the “making meaning” stage fascinating, where we organise new concepts and connect them to existing ones before we are motivated to apply them. When I'm fixing my bike, I'll compare the setup of my bike to what I'm seeing in the video, bringing that knowledge together with my motivation to have a bike that works.

The learner motivation is a little muddier when there isn't a binary right and wrong. It means that we need a clear idea of what we want learners to achieve through watching our video, so strong learning outcomes and a good treatment is really important. If we know that facts don't change minds, then it’s really important that we tell stories in an engaging way. It's how we bring people with us and align our goals.

Then it becomes about putting things into practice. For the practical YouTube videos, actioning the learning was my rationale for watching them in the first place. But theory can be applied in lots of different ways and in varying conditions. We need to think about how we can prompt people to put the learning into practice and make it a part of what they do. Then it's not just about doing that once, but making it a part of a routine.

There's the reward for the learning and putting it into practice too – that Ikea effect where there is a sense of satisfaction from the practical effort that we put in. We are more likely to feel connected to our learning if it's done with us, not to us, and it makes a practical difference.

An approach that includes these factors is much more likely to influence change. We're on a journey with how we we make use of and work with video. I'm looking forward to seeing how we can apply some of this learning in what we do.

I've recently binge-listened to The New Gurus, a podcast on the digital spaces created by gurus as an alternative to mainstream medicine, politics and media. It’s incredibly interesting, particularly around the role of evidence.

The cover image of the New Gurus: a figure with arms outstretched is superimposed on a phone against a stained-glass window

I'm a big fan of podcasts and the democratisation of media. I've come across so many thoughtful examinations of issues that are often overlooked. There is a flipside though. There is no longer one single version of the truth, and ultimately, it is harder to tell who you can trust. One of the taglines in the New Gurus is that “as our trust in institutions waivers, we're looking to charismatic individuals to tell us how to live.” In an episode where Will Blunderfield shares why he drinks his own bodily fluids, one of his followers minimises the role of modern science:

“I believe that we are all scientists, and that science in its primal form is about observation. You don't have to be a scholar or something to say what's right or wrong.”

Whilst it's tempting to see such statements in the context of shadowy internet communities and obscure theories, there are real world implications. BASW's podcast on Social Work in a conflict zone talks about how good quality information gives people control and agency in critical and complex situations:

“Social workers recognised that people make good decisions for themselves when they have good information… how people could access free public transport, which countries were offering places for people to go.”

How can we better communicate evidence?

This fascinating paper from Anne H. Toomey on 'Why facts don't change minds' is illuminating – not just for the conservation research on which it is focuses, but wider evidence and research too. It looks at how science is commonly communicated and what a better approach might look like.

Do facts change minds?

I have been told that facts don’t change minds, stories do. The paper suggests that there is “limited usefulness of ‘improved dissemination’ of the best evidence for practice and policy.” Just giving people information isn’t enough, we need to tell our stories in an engaging way.

We fight for what we believe in

It’s nice to think that sharing evidence is enough, but things get murkier when you factor in human behaviour. We tend to think that working with individuals will eventually build momentum that will lead to a shift in collective opinion. It turns out that people are much better at arguing their point than they are at making logical decisions. Working to increase scientific literacy alone is not enough. We need to understand the power of values, emotions, and experience if we want to change people's minds and behaviour.

Losing the snobbery

Going back to the podcast, one of the things that Helen Lewis does well as the host is to listen respectfully to people who very often have been ignored and sidelined. She doesn't make fun of people whose perspectives are easy to poke fun at. She stops short of judgment of any interviewee, even those that have no factual basis for their beliefs. This helps us to understand what it is about these counter beliefs that lead people to buy into these alternative systems. The strength of a single narrative overcomes the strictly logical factual account. Going back to Will Blunderfield's scepticism of medicine:

“Mere facts can't beat a story, and Will has a story about vaccines… if you piece together his life story though, his unhappy encounters with medicine as a child, the gay bashing after which he was offered pills rather than therapy, his concerns about his own masculinity, you can begin to see where his suspicion of mainstream medicine, what he calls allopathic medicine, comes from.”

Toomey's paper asks us to stop placing the blame on the “receivers” of evidence and instead think about how we can engage with people and topics in complex scenarios. For those of us who are seeking to change minds, this study at Yale University shows the benefits of 'arguing to learn' (here's a helpful overview). We can't just expect to convince people that we're right. We need to listen in order to understand someone's point of view if we're ever going to support people to change their minds and behaviours, as well as develop our own views and perspectives of the world.

I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions, but this year I'm aiming to be a better ally, particularly to the trans community. As a first step in educating myself, I bought Shon Faye's 'The Transgender Issue' after reading this excellent review of it from Terence Eden.

The cover of ‘The Transgender Issue’ by Shon Faye

Bodily autonomy

In one chapter, Faye examines how social conservatives look to restrict and control trans-women's bodies in a similar way to how they seek to control cis-women's bodies. At the end of this and other sections of the book, Faye calls for an alliance of movements. To begin with this felt like preaching to the converted, but then I realised that these brittle relationships are at the heart of current divisions between advocates of social justice for different sectors of society.

I then gave my perspective some more thought. There can't ever be a complete account of a community's experience, as each one is so varied and diverse. It is perfectly fair for this book to be left leaning and to aim to build bridges, and for other books to pick up alternative discussions where needed.

Nuance in online arguments

Once I started to think about arguments, I started to think about the pile-ons that I've witnessed on Twitter. It's been a long time since I've seen it used for a nuanced discussion. I'd see TERFs trending and feel the urge to click and see what the hell was happening this time. Usually JK Rowling had said something grim or there was a reaction to the development of Scotland's Gender Recognition Act. I'd read all these angry and provocative comments and feel guilty for clicking away from all the rage that I was conveniently able to ignore.

As a cis-man, I know that I am incredibly privileged when it comes to discussions around gender. I've never had to reflect on whether I was born in the right body, and I also haven't experienced the fear that so many women have experienced at the hands of men (my wife Kelly Williams wrote this excellent post on this).

Whilst on Twitter trans identities are often only seen in the context of marginalising women, the reality is that trans people have little institutional power. In previous work I have heard from people who have been repeatedly deadnamed in an attempt to undermine their identities when they came into contact with public services.

What does good allyship look like?

Last year we went through the process of going through our podcasts and ensuring that they were transcribed for accessibility. We shared the work around a few of us, and I found myself getting engrossed in some of the episodes that I was responsible for. Something that Dez Holmes said on a podcast on race, privilege and allyship has stuck with me. The comment was made in the context of race, but it made me reflect on my role as an ally more generally:

“I think I take a, kind of, multifaceted view on privilege, or white privilege, in that there's definitely an element of what you've said, about unleashing power. I think in some scenarios, it is important for allies to unleash their power, but I also appreciate, for those people who, perhaps, are self-conscious about their power, the thought of unleashing it could make, kind of, make them feel condescending, as you say, or feel ambivalent about doing that. But I just think different scenarios require different things from allies. And so, that's why it's important allies are educated in terms of the power that they hold, how that could be used in different situations and what that power actually is.”

Since reflecting on this I have been considering the power that I hold and what I do with it. Whilst I don't intend on wading into online arguments, there is something around making my position clear so that when I do get drawn into discussions, I am in a position to respond in a helpful and supportive way to the trans community. In the current culture war, it means having the courage of my convictions to put my own thoughts and ideas out there and to be more vocal when I see injustice.

If you live or work close to Newport, Stonewall are offering this learning programme for trans allies – looks fascinating!

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