About Kirsten

Leader, facilitator, coach, trainer, consultant, and non-executive director at national and regional level, from a public service, community action, equality and creative arts background.

  • First blind art student in the UK.
  • Transformed local government from within.
  • Trainer, consultant and non-executive director.
  • Long-standing and active volunteer.
  • Labour politician.

I was born partially sighted, in South London in 1955, the younger of a set of twins and the fourth child of an aspiring teacher and a low-paid labour-exchange worker. In 1972, after a gradual worsening of my eye condition, I became blind. I survived two years in a special school for blind girls, before escaping back into the world and becoming the first blind art student in the country. I studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art, being awarded an MA with travel scholarship in 1984.

On leaving post-graduate school, I was lured into local government and joined the Greater London Council (GLC) as a disability outreach worker. In my 16-year local government career, I rose to assistant director level, working in the field of equality and diversity, and am pleased to say that I had a hand in transforming council services into more responsive and inclusive operations.

I left local government in 2000, when yet another re-organisation threatened my job and career. I started a coaching and training consultancy. At this time, I also began to work as a non-executive director and independent advisor to a range of organisations running or shaping public services, including police, transport and central government.

In addition to paid work, since 1979, I've been a founder, active member, committee member or chair of up to twenty local, regional or national voluntary organisations, addressing a range of equality, diversity and community issues.

Elected as Labour councillor for Stroud Green Haringey in 2014, chair of children and young people's scrutiny panel. Stood as labour list member 2012 and 2016

When not engaged in any of the above, I channel my creative energies into writing, blogging, "stand-up", singing, song-writing and performing. My life experience as a disabled lesbian informs all my work.

"When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

Aure Lorde.