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Blazing Tales: ‘the river exe-pedition’

The book is an account of a ground breaking project for mixed-race families who live in the west country. It tells the story of a series of outdoor, combined arts workshops that took place along The River Exe in Devon; over nine months, from it’s source to the sea. Through that lens it shares practice, ideas, research and reflection for outdoor and combined arts work with groups, and shines a light on the rural mixed-race experience. You can see more here

Insider Art

Insider Art published my book in 2014. Blazing Tales: the ‘river exe-pedition’ a combined arts project with mixed-heritage families in Devon is a handbook, a story and education about belonging, and the arts as educators of the heart. It is thought-provoking being both pragmatic and about much more than it seems on first glance. It is action-provoking showing how good informed arts practice can help people from mixed-heritage families live better together in a complex world. 


In this creative and thought provoking book, Hurley explores the ways in which place and space shape our sense of self and belonging through a focus on the overlooked experience of racial mixing and mixedness in rural Britain. Drawing on a fascinating and eclectic combined arts project Blazing Tales take a fresh and challenging look at what it means to be – and be seen to be – part of a mixed race family beyond the British city.

Containing a wealth of information in the form of local history, interviews, workshop activities and evaluations, Hurley’s book provides not only key first hand insights into rural mixed race family life, but also thoughtful guidance on conducting creative workshops with families generally.

Trailbreaking, reflective and inspirational, Blazing Tales make a fantastic contribution to the existing literature on mixed-race families and is essential reading for academics, policy makers, practitioners and educators who are looking for a refreshing and stimulating change of focus and thinking about their understandings of and work with mixed race families in Britain.

Dr Chamion Caballero, Senior Research Fellow, Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University.

In this book Sara Hurley and Malcolm Learmonth (foreword) give a moving and honest account of inspirational work in the outdoors that receives far too little, and often sensational, attention. It bursts with ideas and insights while emphasising the critical importance of building relationships wherever you live or arrive. The methods used can be widely applied in other arts and community development projects. They are a great resource for the field.

Dr Alida Gersie, London based drama therapist and organisational consultant. Former Principal Lecturer in the Postgraduate Arts Therapies Department of the University of Hertfordshire, she has authored and edited several books.

Storytelling for a Greener World

I was invited to contribute a chapter to Storytelling for a Greener World about the river project. The chapter was co-written with Dr Alida Gersie.

A treasury of 43 stories, creative activities, techniques, tips and descriptions of inspiring practice to both empower newcomers and seasoned practitioners. A handy, unique and authoritative resource for developing innovative story-work, and a key sourcebook of lasting usefulness.

It explores the links between storytelling and emotional literacy, place, environmental justice, connecting with alienated youngsters, how to encourage children and adults’ curiosity about nature, building community, sustainability and indigenous peoples, local legends, human-animal communication and how to co-create a sustainable future together.

Storytelling for a Greener World brings together the wisdom of cutting-edge storytellers who offer a range of distinctive but complementary approaches to the art of telling stories for environmental education in 21 chapters.

Radio 4 documentary

Here’s a link to a Radio 4 documentary inspired by one parent’s experience on our camp. Thanks Katie Grant!