the founder: Denise Drake

Professional bio

Denise is a training, learning and creativity for social change specialist, as well as skilled in group-process facilitation and and intercultural training and advising. She has 20 years experience working with people to organise and learn about social justice and peace-building issues locally and internationally. Mostly she has been involved with people-to-people direct democracy projects collaborating with community, faith and youth groups, students, trade unions, NGOs and the voluntary sector, and forced economic migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the US, Japan, Mexico and Great Britain. This positioning privileges her with an understanding how the global connects to the local, and diverse networks of contacts doing amazing work all over the world. She has also carried out short-term work projects in Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Kenya, Nepal and Thailand.

Arriving in London 7 years ago, she felt dropped into a kaleidescope of diversity, positive energy and amazing activity. Here in one place are people from all over the world working on every social justice issue imaginable, all contributing our own bit to 'another world'. From the mega-monster-size issues that affect us all like nuclear disarmament and climate chaos, to the me-size that connect us all: safe streets, green spaces, affordable housing and food, and community cohesion.

Denise founded communi-STANDING in 2007 to help London's diverse communities learn how to better understand themselves and each other. The universality of the human experience means we all share the same needs and similar dreams for ourselves and future generations, but misunderstandings or conflicts arise because of our different, and sometimes opposing, strategies we use to go about meeting our needs and dreams. The challenge and magic of life are using our differences and diversity to build broad, non-traditional and dynamic alliances which work to resolve social issues with creativity and compassion.

Denise sometimes works alone, and when the consultancy requires, with a creative specialist. communi-STANDING's networks are wide and diverse. Our associates include clowns, conflict specialists, story-tellers, poets, social movement strategists, puppeteers, performance artists and political analysts.

Paid work experience

Specialist association memberships

  • SIETAR – Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research
  • WRC – Women's Resource Centre

Academic background

Masters, Applied Linguistics specialising in Intercultural Communication
Georgia State University, Atlanta, USA

Bachelors, Political Science & Latin American Studies
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA