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Staff Changemaker of the Year 2022: Paula Bowles

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Recently I received a nomination for a Changemaker Award, even more surprising, last night I won the Staff Changemaker of the Year Award. You can see the nomination below:

As our regular readers will now, we’ve been blogging for over five years on a variety of different and diverse topics, always with criminology at their heart. However, the pandemic changed the blog beyond recognition. Whilst our bloggers and readers were still fascinated by criminology, the worries and fears around the pandemic and lockdown, made concentration challenging for all of us. For me the turning point was David Hockney’s (2020): Do Remember They Can’t Cancel the Spring

It seemed to me that we all needed something to ease the pressure and so My Favourite Things was born. It offered every blogger the opportunity to think about things (other than the pandemic), and to reflect on what mattered to them on a personal level. Each of these entries are a snapshot of the time at which they were written and were completed by a wide range of additional reflections around the Pandemic and Me. Each of these showed the need we had for human contact, for a place to discuss, vent and escape from everyday life. The blog became a focal point for many, as illustrated by our viewing figures:

I have loved reading since childhood, it plays an important part in my mental health, my equilibrium, my identity. As I’ve noted before, my guilty pleasure lies in the crime fiction of Agatha Christie. I thought if reading works such magic for me, maybe a book club would offer space, time and companionship to other people. The only rules were the book must focus on broad elements of criminal, it needed to be fiction and no one in the club had read it before.

The first book, chosen by me, was a disastrous read, confusing narrative, one-dimensional characters and a very unlikely story. But, we took our book seriously, lots of heated discussion, particularly around whether or not it was a easy to move a dead body around (thanks to @5teveh we know that’s not possible). Lots of laughter and a complete break from everything else. After that the books became much better in content and characterisation (apart from one!).

I am not sure the above makes me a worthy winner of a Changemaker Award, but I do know that none of it was possible without my fellow readers and bloggers. So a big thank you to them and of course, our readers, without whom the blog would be a much quieter affair.

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