Debbie Butler – Telling Stories, and Listening

Deep in thought whilst on the way to see a show at Nottingham University Lakeside Theatre I couldn’t decide if I was looking forward to the show ahead or not. I had bought tickets to see The Mugenkyo drummers for my partner’s birthday in October. Andy (my partner) has played drums in a band for over 20 years and is one of those people who is constantly tapping out a rhythm to anything.

I was most impressed with the auditorium, the chairs, while small, were very comfortable (it does make a difference).  The show began with a vibrant piece which from the very outset captivated me. Following this, the group’s leader spoke to the audience. It was a story. This little word resonated throughout the evening with stories and legends of the different stories the drums told. The amazing thing was in the times of these legends portrayed by the drums, there were no social media outlets, but the stories kept on coming, and are still alive in groups such as the Mugenkyo drummers.

Some of you will know that I have been a service user/patient for many years in both physical and mental health services, and have been involved in different pieces of work with the School of Health sciences and the IMH around telling my story, which is not legendary.

Academics and other colleagues have stories to tell like I do, but the trend into hearing patients’ stories seems to have taken off. In Nottingham there are several talking libraries and storytelling workshops with volunteers who want to share their experiences be it in health or any other field.

In my 57 years the world has changed and I wear so many hats which I wouldn’t want to tell stories of. But people have told stories in many different ways to researches thus enabling medical diagnosis and prognosis have changed dramatically.

If you would like to chat to me or any of my colleagues who are working on the story-telling part of the dissertation module please find my contact details below.

Debbie Butler


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