Over the course of two sessions, the award-winning singer-songwriter looked at how audiences interested in sustainability can introduce a new creative dimension to their work, and develop their own poetic or lyrical imagination, while deconstructing his own songs with audience interpretation.
Formerly a supply teacher, and guitar teacher of Bridport’s PJ Harvey, Steve formed Show of Hands with fellow folk musician Phil Beer in 1986. Steve’s career has since seen him play at some of the UK’s biggest folk festivals, including Wickham Festival, Sidmouth Folk Festival and Cambridge Folk Festival, releasing more than 30 albums.
Steve played three songs across a variety of instruments including tenor guitar and the South American cuatro, inviting the audience to explore themes that could be found throughout, and differences between commissioned material and personal. Steve said: “I’m interested in the audience’s reaction to my songs, because it’s something that I very rarely get. In a concert, I can do a brief pre-amble and say this was about or there was a time, but I thought I’d play songs without any context at all, and then I’d give the context.”
Steve also spoke of his respect for contemporary rap music: “I’m not a big fan particularly, but I can hear, in some of the music, what people are talking about like daily situations and environments.”
Organiser and Head of Education & Professional Practice in the Department of Leadership, Strategy and Organisation at BU, Dr Karen Thompson, said: “We recognise the role of creativity in a modern workplace. There is a growing belief that creativity is an important skill and creative thinking is critical for problem solving in all disciplines.”
“Steve’s narrative told the story of growing a business that delivers excellence and fosters a warm embracing sense of community, and a journey that has taken him from local pubs to the Albert Hall, and beyond. The occasion was a relaxed and informative event that proved an enjoyable diversion for hard working staff alongside enthusiastic students and members of the local sustainable business community.”
BU Senior Communications Engineer, Tom Power, said: “Steve expertly led us on an entertaining journey through the steps he’s taken in his extensive musical career. He really took the time to explain his ethos and allowed us to explore our own creativity through his music and lyrics.”
He added: “I took a lot of advice from the day which will help me both professionally at BU, as well as personally in my own musical pursuits as part of local band Quinns Quinney.”
The event, held for those with an interest in sustainability and developing their creative skills, forms part of a set of ‘creative classroom’ events looking to bring storytelling and creative narratives into the worlds of science and business, with acclaimed author, Jill Harris, also visiting the university this month to talk about mastering storytelling.