Inspiring stories of transformation
by Chris Sweeney | Published on 14 June 2019
For this series of interviews as a Line Resident for Southern Rail, I wanted to tell you all inspiring stories of transformation. I wanted to share stories that were diverse, inclusive, that you may not have heard before, but would entertain you. That would make you laugh and make you cry. So off I went on the train up and down the country, and I had a blast.
Travelling through London to meet my first interview, Mark from the London Gay Men’s Chorus was such an inspiring beginning. To hear what singing can do for your confidence and how it brings so many people together and changes so many lives was just incredible.
An inspirational journey of body positivity
by Chris Sweeney | Published on 10 May 2019
In the UK, just five per cent of Britain’s 19,000 train drivers are women, and one of these women is my next story of transformation, Polly McGillivray from Southern Railway.
Polly’s journey has taken her across two continents as a driver, teaching a new generation of drivers, to her new role as a Competence Development Manager. She’s been given the freedom to train and help create a new breed of driver, and I hope you enjoy her own story of inspiration, body positivity, mental health and transformation through working in the rail industry.
Transformative Justice: Radical Self-Care with Femmes of Colour
by Chris Sweeney | Published on 12 April 2019
This month’s journey with Southern Rail saw me hop on a train to London where I spoke with Tobi Adebajo who heads up Femmes of Colour – a London-based collective that connects, organises, and supports LGBTQI people of colour in the UK. The Femmes are a gathering space and support system that tackles toxic masculinity, anti-blackness, misogyny and the patriarchy – but all in a warm environment which can include baking, nail-painting and brunch.
In our discussion, Tobi sheds light on the group, its focus on transformative justice and the most radical act of self-care – being the best version of yourself and knowing your voice is important and has the right to be heard.
Pushing the boundaries of body image: Brighton Naked Bike Ride
by Chris Sweeney | Published on 15 March 2019
This month, I had the pleasure of jumping on the train down to Brighton to speak with Duncan Blinkhorn, co-organiser of the now-iconic Naked Bike Ride.
We discussed how daring to bare for the ride transformed people’s perception of body image by being outrageous and the freeing sensation that followed when they had the courage to push the boundaries.
More than 800 people have taken part in the cycle so far; I hope the conversation inspires you to try something outside of your comfort zone – it could transform your outlook. Who knows, maybe you could sign up for the next event in June?
A glittering story of transformation: Asifa Lahore
By Chris Sweeney | Published on 15 February 2019
On my second outing with Southern Rail, I travelled to Croydon to meet Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen, Asifa Lahore. From a shy retiring kid desperate to dance at camp Pakistani weddings to becoming a glittering transgender star of stage and screen, she shares her journey of transformation in our inspiring conversation.
I hope you enjoy the ride and learning more about the fascinating and deeply personal story of one of the leading voices of intersectional Britain.
The transformative power of journeys: London Gay Men's Chorus
By Chris Sweeney | Published on 11 January 2019
I kid you not - I nearly fell off my chair when I got the phone call asking me to be involved with this project. Southern wanted to celebrate the transformative power of journeys and needed help telling stories of positive transformations that can happen on the commute and in the communities up and down the network.
Well, I spend a lot of my time on the Southern line from London to Brighton. More than a person should probably should, and I also love sharing people’s stories, so consider myself amply qualified for this role.
More about Chris
Chris Sweeney is a writer, director, producer and co-creator of the hit podcast Homo Sapiens alongside Will Young. His recent credits include The Luisa Omielan Show (BBC) and the Short Film Teddy. He will shortly commence filming on the six 1 hour part comedy Back To Life for the BBC, starring Daisy Haggard.