WHO ARE WE?
Life in Motion started off as a bunch of TV bods who were brilliant at dancing and choreography, all led by Julie Kavanagh, based in Manchester. But now, it's blossomed into a female-led company that tells the stories of the forgotten and hidden people in our society.
Life In Motion isn't afraid to go deep into the dark corners of society. The stories of the forgotten and left behind. The ones who often get ignored, the Care Experienced, Adopted, Neurodiverse and Excluded young people of the North. These guys are seen but not heard, and Life in Motion is changing that.
Julie Kavanagh is the creative boss lady, she's brought together a top-notch squad of busy mums who are all multi-talented and diverse. They've got kids with additional needs, adopted children, and some who've been kicked out of mainstream school for being their lively outspoken selves. But they're all about supporting each other to do what they love, while juggling the craziness of family life and the SEND system.
These ladies are pushing the boundaries of working from home with kids who love a door slam, throw in a few swear words, and life jogs along swimmingly.
They know first-hand how tough it can be when society doesn't cater to everyone's needs, especially their kids. They are passionate about creating content and stories that reflect their lived experiences and make a real difference.
Sounds good, doesn't it?
WHAT ARE WE?
Life In Motions stories venture off and away from the preconceived notions of a working-class existence and the subcultures that run alongside them—giving a voice to those who never had the chance to make it off the first rung of life’s ladder.
Our passion for honest and complex stories born from the working classes will delve into and challenge the stereotypes bound upon them by circumstance and many lack off’s. Or to be fair, the constraints our society can entrap them in. A place where we continue generation after generation to sidestep many of society's responsibilities and still plough all the ‘blames’ onto the single Mums of the world. A place where the miss placed shame and blame game thrives. A murky world where often the easily forgotten ‘other half’ is on their toes, long gone and never challenged or scrutinised just as much as Mum.
Life In Motion will explore stories where their subjects are considered ‘at risk’ with the long tentacles of complexity this causes. Those who have encountered the Looked After Care System, Adoption, failed education, exclusions from community and society, the impact of intergenerational poverty, substance addiction and mental health illnesses will all be celebrated in our work. Those things don’t just happen to people; it's a series of circumstances, a Life In Motion that is bestowed upon a family where it can feel like a constant pile-on in an unforgiving world.
We will celebrate the Neuro Diverse community as we experience it. We won’t stop just at Autism and ADHD. We want to highlight the brutality of living in a world you are often excluded from or struggle to access fully. Our Neurodivergent commitment is not a tick-box on-trend statement from us. We live it; our families are impacted by the miss understanding and the pressure to conform. We are the warrior mums rocking and rolling with our kids at 2 am in all mighty meltdowns as they scream at the world for not understanding and excluding them.
Life In Motion stories will celebrate Neurodivergent young people. Driven by genetic and environmental factors, an estimated 15-20% of the world's population exhibits some form of neurodivergence. Life In Motion wants to jump on the roller coaster with them, scream out loud to go faster and develop stories that reflect and represent our Young People’s world back to them.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Currently developing projects about Adoption, disrupted family attachments, community relationships, the institution of the Care System & Neurodiversity in all their beauty.
An adopted teenager we are working with asked to share a little taster of his world, here's what they told us and wrote.
“People assume adoption is like going to Pets At Home, where you can adopt a fluffy bunny. Adoption, are that’s nice” he told us.
His teacher set him a task once to write a speech about being Neuro Diverse and Adopted. After 87 meltdowns, 16 threats to leave home, an array of F’Offs, I’m not doing it, knifes drawn, things smashed, a couple of calls to the police and six weeks staring at a blank screen, this teenager was ready to show what he’d done. His first completed piece of homework he had ever mastered. This fantastic teenage boy is 14, he's not allowed to go to school; the Local Authority have no school place for young people like him, he attends a part-time Alternative Provision. He was proud; the topic was challenging and unearthed many difficult feelings for him…… here is an extract.
” you imagine the clothes you’re in now are the only thing you keep as soon as you walk out of that door because your birth mum chose to keep everything because she thought you were coming back except you weren’t and as soon as you step out of that door your whole identity disappeared like your NHS number your name and your whole life are gone, and you can’t find that information ever again.”
-The teacher reminded him he needs to use better punctuation.
-His amazing Adoption Support Social worker couldn’t give a toss about punctuation, loves it, and asked permission to use it for training Social Workers.
-This brave teenager in a juxed position of baring his soul, then shamed and criticised, came home, smashed his room up and set about hunting his birth Mum down online so he could batter her for destroying his brain and now it won’t work like the other kids.
Que another urgent Children’s Services safeguarding intervention.
As with most adopted families, a simple request quickly triggers our children back into a messy hell hole from their past. However, we urge you to be honest, would you have dismissed this kick-off as a spoilt little F**k who won't do as he was told?
Julie Kavanagh, a proper dance legend in the TV industry here in Manchester for over 20 years. She started out choreographing commercial dance routines for big brands on the telly with massive teams of dancers. Julie's got a track record of creating movement-based stories for the screen that's second to none.
She's produced some top-notch dance content for big-time gaming studios across multiple platforms, and she's come up with choreography and movement concepts for 100’s of household brands and famous artists in TV commercials, music videos, and dramas. She's even generated some brand-linked dance crazes before TikTok was a thing, can you believe it?
And that's not all – Julie's also been the creative director and producer for hundreds of live fashion shows and brand campaign tours all over the UK.
Now, Julie has dyslexia and had a hard time learning in school. The education system properly failed her, but she didn't let that hold her back. Spell check often fails for dyslexics with rubbish grammer. So with the spelling police always ready to pounce, Julie is confident many job’s have been lost due to the touch of Dyslexia. But with a spring in her step and a bloody funky swag, Julie always pushes forward.
Julie's got a love for telling stories in unusual ways, and she's adapted that skill to cater to those who rarely get a voice – the unrepresented and the excluded.
And if that's not enough to impress you, Julie's a single mum who adopted two children. The school system refused to understand her adopted children's complex early life experiences and refused to work with specialist adoption social workers and therapists. But Julie's one tough cookie and she diversified and adapted her whole life to support her kids. When the school placement broke down and destroyed her kids' souls even further, Julie took the advice of experienced child trauma education experts and walked away from that toxic environment.
Julie and the kids stuck two fingers up to the lot of them and with their heads held high, the kids now have the space they needed to recover. Their story's a testament to the power of resilience and determination in adversity, and her adopted family is an inspiration to anyone facing similar challenges.
No matter what life throws at you, success is always possible – just ask Julie and her kids, after all, in the good words of Puff Daddy, “I survived what I been through, we all got drama, the saga continues”
Rarely do we hear from Children and Young people who are Care Experienced and have now moved on to Adopted Families or Kinship Care. Given the current public interest in Neuro Diversity, inclusion, and voices for the underrepresented, it's imperative to give Adopted young people the space to tell their stories and to speak their truth. They will be put front and centre of the current projects we are developing.
Adopted young people will always speak their truth, often through their behaviour. It’s questionable if they are heard; by challenging common misconceptions about adoption, childhood behaviour, and launching anyone who dares utter the words “have you tried a sticker chart”, we will develop stories that will help promote a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of some of our children's challenges. Instead of lazily assuming a child causing chaos in school and the community is "naughty" or has made "poor choices”, it's essential to consider the underlying factors driving their behaviour. What’s going on for the child? What does their world look like?
In the past, unmarried mothers were often forced to give their children up for adoption due to social stigma and lack of support. Adoption has moved on in the UK; the landscape now looks very different. Forced adoptions are still happening, but it’s a far cry from the unmarried young mothers of yesteryear. TV Programmes or stories around Adoption lean towards a ‘nice,’ sanitised account. We struggle to ‘hear’ the stories from the child’s voice. It’s hard to see anything in the media relating to Childhood Developmental Trauma and pregnancy alcohol exposure with their eye-watering large numbers directly linking to Neurodivergent conditions, school exclusions and being failed by education altogether. Of which the adoption community has a disproportionally significant high representation.
In the year 2022, 92,874 Children were Looked After in the UK. 6,820 of these children left Care through Adoption or a Special Guardianship Order, (Kinship Care).
This is repeated every year. Where are their voices? That’s many children each year with no voice, unrepresented in our communities, invisible in plain sight in our education system and more importantly, rarely given a true narrative in the media. We think it's time that narrative changed. We think it's time to shine a substantial beaming light on Adopted children’s stories, told from the child’s voice, not the parents; we want to celebrate our amazing children, show their lion's heart courageous beauty, and let them tell you, for many their world is not always FINE.