Listen & Learn how to Speak Up!

Updated: Dec 16, 2019


What’s the point of a speaking summit on oracy? Is oracy just another educational fad? Another novelty? Are oracy advocates just doe-eyed idealists, or are we rational, practical problem solvers?...can we be both?...


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

It’s easy to get caught up in a romanticised, pioneering spirit of the individual

'I am the rugged pioneer - I divide & conquer - I point off into the distance, I look longingly at the horizon, I wear a pointy hat, hum a catchy tune, my flag has the best lion/bird/amorphous blob on it - so follow me into the future!

But look carefully into the past - there are innumerous flash in the pan moments that didn’t make it. What caused and sustained consistent change in the past? - a simple equation - a cause survives, thrives or dies upon:


Care + Commitment + Collaboration = Consistent Change


Positive change needs a loud voice, but to be sustained it needs diverse voices at it’s core. It needs diverse people, with diverse skills, diverse knowledge, diverse perspectives but crucially: a common cause - it’s a melting pot, with a vision.


(For more examples of my favourite melting pots see the Scottish Enlightenment and Benjamin Franklin’s Junto.)

Now there’s a lot to say and little time to say it all in one go, so these next series of blog posts will focus on the highlights from the Voice 21 Speaking Summit (6th,July 2018)


So we’re here, we care and we are committed - what we need is collaboration. And that’s why we have people from all over the UK, Australia and Japan gathered here in a hot theatre in Regent High School, Camden. The intense heat of the room - matched by the vigor of our first speakers Beccy Earnshaw & Kathy Bannon from Voice 21 and Voice Camden.


But wait! ... I know what you’re thinking

...well ok...I don’t - I’m actually sat right here in front of a screen that’s stuck to an electric box and you’re over there...sat in front of a different kind screen with an electric box - but trust me I’m trying my hardest to channel my inner you and say what you might think


‘Getting swept up in a passionate plea is all well and good - I pretend to hear you say. ‘...but what’s the bigger picture? where does this whole oracy thing come from?’ ‘where’s the grounding, the substance, the perspective - I want some insight dammit! Gimme gimme gimme!’ - you say with an ernest urgency that I’ve hamfistedly written into your character - go with me, it’s good for dramatic effect.


if you want to know the future, you’ve got to look at the past


Thankfully there’s a few of us trying to tackle these questions and do just that - for now try Voice21’s Oracy timeline on for size.

Next time, we dive deeper - in fact we dig deeper into the history of oracy.

So throw away those flippers, wetsuit and that designer snorkel - we’re going to swap them out for a leather jacket and a khaki shirt - top it off with a whip and a brown hat why not?


We’ll be exploring the history of oracy with Alan Howe and ‘The Archeology of Oracy’ (lost arks, holy grails and doom themed temples not included...definitely not crystal skulls anyway…)

...so for now remember to:



Listen, Learn Stand-up & Speak.




Part 1 - Part 2




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