June 2019

Equality and Diversity Coordinator draws on Windrush experience in first book

Read time: approx 1 mins

UCB’s Equality and Diversity Coordinator has had his first book published – a powerful story based on his experience as the next generation on from the Windrush era.

Dr Godfrey Henry’s The Culture Switch: I Was Dying: 45 Minutes Psychodrama That Saved My Life is now on sale at Amazon and is an odyssey of self-discovery.

Delivered as a stream of consciousness, it follows a young man seeking answers to life’s big questions, ‘who am I?, where am I?, why am I?, why am I not?’. By doing so, he hopes to calm his distressed mind and establish his cultural identity.

“Desperate to survive in a world which seems to offer little or no hope, the young man’s self-reflection, on a 45 minute journey time, serves up a psychodrama which deeply threatens his very existence, as he battles to find answers and save himself,” said Dr Henry.

“It is a fascinating, powerful and thought-provoking story of life and culture and people who have read it say they see themselves differently now. I am not preaching at people, but giving them new insight, and I hope it will used as teaching resource by lecturers, as well as for personal reading.”

Building on a presentation he delivered at a 2010 conference on behalf of UCB to demonstrate the University’s global student population, the book was originally inspired by Dr Henry’s own struggle to find himself.

The lecturer, who has over 40 years of experience working in education, was born on the island of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean, migrating to the UK as a 25-year-old schoolteacher as the next generation on from the Windrush era.

The Windrush generation refers to those who arrived on the ship MV Empire Windrush between 1948 and 1971 in response to post-war labour shortages in the UK.

Being from St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean, but living in the UK and holding a British passport, resulted in Dr Henry being uncertain about ‘who he was’ and 'who he was not’. “My work and study provided contrasting realities of cultural connection and disconnection with learning, working and living within different cultural spaces, “he said.

“This provided an interesting and enriched view of self-identity, acceptance and sense of being as fundamental success drivers.

“While my book is based on my own mental journey of exploration as a 20-something young man, the issues are just as pertinent now, what with traditional family networks breaking down and the rise in mental health problems. We have also seen the controversy surrounding the Windrush generation, who, despite living and working in the UK for decades, were told they were living here illegally because of a lack of official paperwork. The government apologised, but it was unsettling for people’s sense of identity.

“I would love to hear readers’ feedback on this pyschodrama, a term I use as it describes the young man's mental actioning of the internal situation conflicts he experiences in relation to his lived life and culture, and how he wrestles with the major challenges of life and navigates the 'mindfields' within his mind.”

The paperback edition of Culture Switch: I Was Dying: 45 Minutes Psychodrama is available to buy at Amazon.com for £19.70. There is also a Kindle edition available priced at £4.71. Click here for more information and to buy the book.

Find out more about Dr Henry and equality and diversity at UCB.

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