Writing for our lives


I’ve had the opportunity to undertake some research into the ways in which we might hand on some legacy to the next generation of learning and development professionals working in the global South.

When we think of research it is often numbers and statistics that come to the front of our minds. How many L&D professionals are there? Where are they based? What are their professional learning needs? How might we most effectively deliver those outcomes?

Typically we might despatch questionnaires to capture facts which we analyse with the appropriate software and prove, or otherwise, the expectations that we started with.

It has come as something of shock to discover that at least some of the data isn’t easy to access. It doesn’t come out in a survey – at least not in a straight-forward manner.

I’ve been fortunate to be working with colleagues who have individually and collectively shared their hearts with me. Reading their contributions has been revealing but it has been as I have written about them that I discovered some of the key issues.

Words have flowed from the keyboard and the pen nib and unexpected things have appeared on the page. Some of those things are not what we will have wanted to see but the conversations have spoken deeply and only as the writing of the account has progressed have they emerged.

And I am conflicted. I can see the truth of the issues but I am reluctant to admit them to my colleagues and fellow travellers on this research journey. Some will, I am sure, react strongly. Others will miss the points being made and others will just be too busy to connect.