Creative and media students at Sunderland College invited a diverse range of guests to tell their life stories as part of a project aimed at challenging stereotypes.

A nun, a transgender woman, an alternative healer, a sufferer of bipolar disorder and a police officer with lupus were amongst the guests who visited the college and shared their experiences with students as part of the People’s Pages project.

The project encourages guests to become human books, and was started by TV and radio presenter Gilly Hope, who lectures on the creative and media course at the college.

One of the contributors was 41-year-old Leo Berry, an army veteran who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. He now runs an organisation offering counselling and therapy for people with mental health conditions.

Daniel Clarke, 18, said: “I really enjoyed the project. It was a good way for students to meet people they wouldn’t necessarily meet in their everyday lives, and it was interesting to hear so many diverse stories. It’s nice to think we’ve helped to influence people’s perceptions of others for the better.”

“It’s quite nerve-wracking approaching members of the public and asking them to speak about personal issues, but it’s something that has to be done on a regular basis if you work in TV or radio,” added Ms Hope.


Pictured: Some of the project’s participants

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