new histories

Margaret Gearty is an action researcher, consultant and educator whose work and passion is all about how the simple human matter of storytelling can be combined with reflective and participative action research to stimulate important learning and change for individuals, communities and organisations.

New histories…towards a sustainable future
Margaret founded the action research consultancy New Histories in 2012 to pursue this work.

We become the stories we tell

bulbThe stories we choose to tell do matter. A story can inspire, motivate or disempower. New Histories is all about the potential storytelling has for individual learning as well as for widespread change. By paying attention to the stories being told and by helping new and important stories to travel, we can bring about change – towards a more enlightened, sustainable future.

Action Research

spanner_lgA reflective, participative approach to learning with people on issues relevant to them and seeking practical action and change. Action research processes help to change, amplify and stimulate new stories to be told.

A digital Story

Digital stories are one way of capturing the power of the spoken voice and the everyday human story.

More on digital stories

A learning history

storytellingLearning history is a powerful action research storying process that both captures and stimulates learning

More on learning histories

Sharing Stories


Sharing stories and reflecting on them can be a powerful route to shaping new identities and generating new knowledge

Sharing my story

On this website you will find some background and illustrative stories of the kind of work I do together with publications and resources relating to it. If you are interested in what you see and think you may like to work with me then please get in touch.

‘Margaret creates the space in which your personal story can grow and be articulated as never before. In a funny sort of way I feel that I, as a storyteller, am changed through this process…’

Narrative Coaching public sector executives against a backdrop of major organisational change


Narrative Coaching public sector executives against a backdrop of major organisational change

Over 1 year I worked with the board of a large public sector organisation. Times were hard. The organisation was going through a major re-structure and the top team needed to point towards a hopeful new vision for the future whilst acknowledging the deep uncertainty most people felt. In 1:1 narrative coaching sessions I sat with directors to help them develop the skills, and often the courage, to tell real stories to go alongside their dryer (and often) necessary strategic powerpoint slides and all-points-bulletins. In session, using images, writing exercises and story practices I supported each leader to experiment and find their way to a narrative style that worked for them. As we worked, we also reflected on their leadership and the stories that inspired them personally. At the end of each session these busy execs went away equipped with tools to try out, and crucially, ready to listen differently, noticing potential stories coming up around them. All commented on the value of the sessions in giving them the space to not only talk things through but to go away with real actions to try out. Each director applied the skills in different way. One reported how he now using storytelling impromptu in his team meetings had completely changed the motivation in his team. Another board member was a passionate photographer and resolved to introduce his own photos into all-staff presentations to bring himself into the message he was sharing. Collectively, over the sessions an awareness started to build up of the different strengths and styles they had as a board. The next phase envisaged was to work at the team level to explore the story they told together as a team. However at just this point the board itself was re-structured and so the narrative coaching came to a close.