The Curated Life Project ™
The Curated Life Project™ explores questions around personal-reflection and personal-expression. Who am I? How do we think about our conscious-experience? What is it to express what we find? What happens when our personal expression is made public? What is our personal legacy?
We care about your self-reflection, self-expression, self-curation and legacy creation.
Personal-expression and personal-reflection, are as relevant in the digital age as they were when Buddha discussed ‘atman’ and ‘anatta’ and the Ancient Greek sages advocated people ‘know thyself’. In the age of Chat GPT and Threads, ideas around fake self and authentic self, or public self and private self, take on a new and fascinating dimension. The Curated Life Project™ laboratory talks to the challenges and possibilities of self-reflection and self-expression. It speaks to anatomizing the issues in modern personal-examination and personal-expression.
The Curated Life Project™ Laboratory / National Association of Journal and Diary Writers
At the The Curated Life Project™ laboratory we discuss approaches to self-reflection and self-expression. We draw on a range of disciplines to support our work, including international life-writing, such as journals and diaries, psychology, coaching, spiritual practices, neuroscience, history and philosophy. The work of the laboratory is fit for purpose in the age of A.I. and social media.
A.I., particularly sophisticated natural language processing models, puts pressure on the idea of human agency, voice and authenticity. Thinking about life-writing and the examined life, can act as a kind of ground zero for these concepts.
There is no hypothesis, the ideology is led by the idea of transdisciplinary exploration and evolution. The results will necessarily be open-ended. However, there will be concrete outputs with Global impact.
Supported by a panel of life-long diarists and journal-writers and by experts in the field, we are building the National Association of Journal and Diary Writers.
Educational Outreach Programme / Artful self-reflection for all & safeguarding personal legacies
Our focus is currently on bringing the many benefits of artful self-reflection and self-expression to a diverse range of communities.
We want everyone to benefit from, for example, free journal-writing techniques and from informed self-presentation on social media.
We are co-producing with schools, FE, and HE, upgraded digital safeguarding policies. We will also be providing a set of self-reflection and digital expression guidelines, or top tips. These will be co-designed with their target audiences.
We want to work to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goal #3.
Advice & Curated Life Project™ toolkits / Journal-writing +
We offer advice on developing and safeguarding your self-reflective practices and your self-expression, on line or off. Your self-expression has a legacy. It is worth nurturing. There are no answers or perfect results here. But, the path of self-expression and self-awareness is well-trodden and its many travellers have left us a rich heritage. Mastering one’s consciousness, life, enjoyment, self-reflection and self-expression may not be problems to solve, rather explorations to have.
Working closely with diverse clients and beneficiaries, The Curated Life Project™ produces – in conversation with its clients and beneficiaries – inspiring, dynamic, high-quality suites of tailor-made tools for self-reflection and self-expression.
The Curated Life Project™ toolkits enable and empower their clients and beneficiaries. The toolkits are designed to be self-sustaining and include evidence-based approaches to artful personal-reflection and personal-expression.
The toolkits draw on key questions and routes of inquiry; techniques from process-recording; empirically-tested diary-writing and journal-writing techniques; key principles from numerous psychological methods, such as A.C.T. or C.B.T.; and insights from Global philosophies, spiritual and life-writing practices, neuroscience and neurobiology.
Curated Life Project™ toolkits are not static or fixed. They are not cures, or even plasters, but a range of approaches addressing issues of self-expression and self-reflection. These issues are put under a particular type of pressure in an age where most people engage in daily practices of self-publication.
The Curated Life Project™ works with digital businesses, teachers, educators, coaches, guides, mentors, parents, moderators, community leaders, volunteer organisations and participants in workshops, seminars, focus groups and one-to-one conversations as they discuss and develop approaches to their “inner”, private, reflections and their “outer”, public, expression. (For publications, debate, workshops, seminars and public speaking contact pollynorth[@]hotmail.com.)
Your self-reflection (on-line and off) has present and future value. It means something. It matters how you know yourself and how you express yourself. Your personal expression is part of your personal legacy, it is worth safeguarding and examining.
Taking care of your self-reflection and self-expression can support enhanced well-being and life-satisfaction, including and not limited to:
Increased facility for self-centering, pausing, and artful self-care;
Improved self-knowledge, including knowledge of personal values, morals, opinions, goals, achievements, desires, and aversions;
Enhanced definition of meaning and purpose;
Enhanced identification of character facets;
Enhanced identification with character facets that support and nurture positive living;
Advanced self-care through self-knowledge;
Enhanced skills with which to navigate one’s public image and personas, on-line and off;
Improved emotional regulation;
Improved decision-making skills;
Improved job satisfaction;
Improved leadership skills;
Improved professional awareness;
Improved boundary setting;
Improved writing skills;
Improved authenticity of voice.
A deeper dive
At the Curated Life Project™ we discuss: what do modern people make of the Classical idea of the “examined life”? And: once – and if – they have self-interrogated, what do they make of their self-expression? The 21st century is heir to millennia of personal-examination, but uniquely offers myriad opportunities for personal-expression, with attendant challenges.
The aim of The Curated Life Project™ is to empower persons, groups, and communities to take charge of their personal legacies. We can all become self-curators. The Curated Life Project™ discussions encourage us to wonder about the degree to which we can tailor our consciousness and our impact in the world.
The Curated Life Project™ is the apex of a conversation about what it means to take stock of and safeguard one’s public and published life, on-line and off. The project is built around a series of live conversations with current and real-world relevance.
The project is ‘live’ because its academic and lay outputs will depend on discussions with a cross-section of participants who are actively using on-line and off-line platforms and formats to present themselves. It is applicable to all audiences because it interrogates lived approaches to self-publication and self-expression. This type of reflection can safeguard people as they self-publish. It is applicable to transdisciplinary academic, business, community, and domestic arenas because it lays out terms of reference and frameworks for discussing personal on-line and off-line activity.
Our self-reflection (on-line and off) has present and future value. Your personal expression can also be your personal legacy, it is worth examining. This legacy, when made public, requires an additional layer of self-awareness. As an archivist and curator I want to examine and work toward safe-guarding the value of self-expression, at home and in the world.
The Curated Life Project™ is a 21st century cousin to the Classical idea of an Examined Life. Neither is a recipe for peace, or even general well-being, but both are the basis for seeing (and showing) oneself as clearly and honestly as possible.
Modern people have unprecedented opportunities to self-describe and self-publicize. To curate one’s life is to be in charge of how one presents oneself. One is not in charge of oneself, as we all know. We are certainly not in charge of how others see us or respond to us. But we can aim to be deliberate in what we say and show about ourselves, and be alert to the dangers of not thinking through how we use the tools of the digital world. After all, every online utterance we make has the potential to have unexpected influence and unexpected permanence. To curate one’s life or any other self-presentation one must be alert to opportunities and risks.
The methodologies for this pioneering, community-driven and acutely relevant research project are mixed. The broad philosophy is responsive, carefully pragmatic, inclusive, dynamic, sustainable and open-mindedly deductive.
Self-examination and self-publicizing in an age of convenient and permanent digital self-publication can be well-framed as an issue in the creation and curation of the self. The digital dimension is crucial because it adds the fuel of fakery both by the self-expresser and by third parties who manipulate the material intended as personal and authentic.
Throughout history, self-examination and self-expression have been seen as mysteries. They have also been a discipline as well as an art or luxury.
For inquiries contact Polly North, the GDP’s Founding Director.
Polly North has a PhD in life-writing and has cataloged and made publicly available over 18,000 diaries and journals by the ‘everyperson’, by non-famous and ‘ordinary’ folk. Unsurprisingly, her work shows that no-one is ‘ordinary’, each of us is extraordinary!
The Great Diary Project is now the largest European archive of diaries. (Possibly the World’s largest.)
As well as being an archivist of diaries, Polly regularly publishes on issues around life-writing and diary-writing, most recently with Routledge (2021) and Oxford University Press (2022 and 2023).
Polly is considered a leading expert on the last two millennia of Global diary-writing practices.
Polly has also produced exhibitions of diaries for a range of audiences. GDP exhibitions have been held at the V&A Museum of Childhood; at HBO’s launch of the Anne Lister diaries series; and at Somerset House, in association with King’s College, London. She regularly speaks on diary matters both commercially (AM Archives 2023) and at educational and cultural institutions, including New York’s International Women’s Week in conjunction with HBO (2019), the British Library (2020) and the Universities of Cambridge (2022), Amsterdam (2023) and Sussex (2021 and 2023).