I am an amateur poet, photographer, blogger and transmedia journalist passionate about liberation psychology, Nature practices and digital wellbeing.
I started my adventure with creativity in an old-fashioned photo studio in my parents’ attic in Poland. My dad gave me a Practica camera and sent me out to use up a roll of film. I remember the chemistry and magic of the black & white picture emerging on photo paper in his darkroom. I also remember him sitting down with me and talking me through the mistakes in composition, light, action set up and the “why” of each photo. I enjoyed learning during that one lesson and later learned from my own mistakes in the very same manner. As a student, I upgraded to a Nikon camera. As an adult, I moved to a more professional and versatile Canon environment.
I was always a prolific writer. I wrote small novels and shelves of journals in my primary school. Later, in my secondary education, I moved to Gothic Literature and wrote many short stories. I experimented with writing in English – I found it most expressive for my writing goals. I graduated in Polish, English and German, significantly expanding my writing toolkit. Later, I also learned fluent Hungarian.
During my university years, I considered a professional photography career for a while. I worked on a commission for the Central European University. My image was used on the cover of their publication. However, the second commissioned work was deemed unsuitable and too abstract. I could not force myself to follow the restricting brief, even despite a rewarding fee. At that point, I decided to keep my artistic activities free from monetary rewards. I spent hours at gigs and art events donating my photo work to the organisers, enjoying the process of capturing live performances – as long as I had the artistic freedom of work delivery.
During my university years in Hungary, away from my homeland, I started processing childhood trauma through poetry. The medium became a perfect avenue to explore my intense feelings softly, connect with fellow poets, and document my complicated multicultural journey. During that time, my poetry was published in the Polish minority monthly. Due to family obligations, I left Hungary just before my first poetry book was to be published – sadly, the relocation to the U.K. put an end to that project.
In the U.K., as my career took me into the world of business and emerging social media marketing, I continued working on my photography more as a hobby. In 2017, I had my first photo exhibition in Oxford’s Jam Factory.
When the social media industry grew towards more exploitative marketing, I moved to work in the charity sector to work in social justice. I continued experimenting with technology and with the social web. The multilayered connections between offline and online spaces fascinated me. I was always a massive fan of the postmodern movement, so the new digital age took it all to the next level with the option of transmedia storytelling.
I re-activated the Polish group of Global Voices Online (citizen journalist network) and built it up to a self-sustainable level. I spent evenings blogging and reporting on events in my homeland. I participated and won awards in the European Blogging Competition and worked for MySociety in Eastern Europe. I recorded a shift towards gentrification in my local town through the eyes of its citizens (Wantage Tales).
As I moved towards work in mental health for social justice, I conducted audio interviews about a new aspect of digital – wellbeing and wellness (Cyber-Wellness Podcast).
I continue writing, reporting, taking photos and using other media as often as possible. I like smaller art projects to capture something of interest, but I keep art free of charge to maintain my own take on the results of my work. I occasionally do small portrait commissions for clients and friends who trust my work – if both parties agree on the nature of the work. I integrate my creative skills in my paid consultancy, coaching and counselling work. I deliver smaller or larger content campaigns there and sometimes do paid commission work.
However, outside of work, I prefer to keep my work more spontaneous and free.
As my poetry publisher once said: “We only happen to be writers.” I create when I need to speak up and have something meaningful to say.
2004 June – “Too Poor To Move, Too Poor To Stay” (front cover)
2008 May – Oxford Castle Fair for Artweeks (blog post)
2009 May – Didcot Cornerstones Artweeks Joint Exhibition – all works sold out (blog post)
2010 December – initiating the Central and Eastern European blog for MySociety (first post)
2011 February – winning TH!NK3 blogging competition to travel to Kenya for a reporting trip, however, my trip was interrupted by the Egyptian Revolution (blog post)
2013 March – Landscapes Solo Exhibition (blog post)
2013 May – Wantage Artweeks Solo Exhibition (blog post)
2013 May – Ardington Artweeks Joint Exhibition (blog post)
2014 May – Wantage Artweeks Solo Exhibition (blog post)
2014 June – leaving Global Voices Online (last translated article)
2014 November – Wantage Tales at the Vale & Downland Museum Solo Exhibition and the first documentary screening at the Museum (full documentary)
2016 June – initiating and organising the first Vale & Downland Museum and Wantage Pixel Club LEGO® Exhibition (the first LEGO® exhibition in Wantage crowdsourcing LEGO® designs built mainly by children and young people and displayed at the local museum) – an estimated 1.5K people visited the exhibition in one weekend, the exhibition continues on an annual basis, 10K people visited it in 2018 (poster here)
2016 July – Wantage Summer Festival Digital Journalism Project – engaging young people in citizen journalist coverage of the local summer festival (blog post). The project was awarded the Town Council’s Community “Award for Community Service” in October 2016 (blog post). One of the participants was also awarded a digital media Google Scholarship (press article).
2018 May – Cyber-Wellness Podcast (launch blog post)
2019 January – Lifestory book (private project, unpublished)
2021 Summer – “Introduction to Digital Wellbeing” book (private project for clients, unpublished)
2022 Autumn (ongoing) – Syl’s Liberation Psychologies Newsletter (public book project on Substack)
2023 Spring (ongoing) – Digital Wellbeing ebooks (voxelhub.org)
Wantage Tales Documentary
Some of my past community and art projects:
Inspirations from people I love:
“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”Gertdue Stein
“Everything around us, dead or alive, in the eyes of a crazy photographer mysteriously takes on many variations, so that a seemingly dead object comes to life through light or by its surroundings. And if the photographer has a bit of sense in his head maybe he is able to capture some of this—and I suppose that’s lyricism.”Josef Sudek
“What is past is prologue.”William Shakespeare
“Do not overlook the little joys!”Herman Hesse
“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”Paulo Coelho
“My shadow serves as the friend I crave.”Anna Akhmatova
“I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.”Anne Rice
“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”Edgar Allan Poe
“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”Georgia O’Keeffe
“In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”Alfred Stieglitz
“I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams.”Zdzisław Beksiński
“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”Ansel Adam
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.”Annie Leibovitz
“Don’t pretend that you know something you don’t. Don’t create the appearance of fake authority. Speak about the things you really care about. I believe that the internet as an open platform for distribution could be a great chance for the diversity of film production.”Agnieszka Holland