An insider's view: Sita Brand, Settle Stories
Can you tell us a little about your job and how you came to be doing it?
I’m the founder and Director of Settle Stories. I curate and programme events, including a festival, run the W.R. Mitchell Archive and a Learning Programme. When I left university my first job was as a storyteller for Common Lore. We travelled the country performing in schools, theatres and libraries. Then after a career as an actress, theatre director, producer and latterly as a consultant in arts and heritage I was determined to get back to creative work. So I set up Settle Stories
What aspect of your job and the place where you work makes you feel happiest?
I love Settle. It’s a wonderful market town with a strong sense of community. I adore the creative aspect of the job, creating the festival and making things happen. Also I still love performing and this job gives me the chance to do that.
What makes your business different?
We are a creative enterprise for the common good. The work we do at Settle Stories introduces people to different cultures and peoples and broadens horizons. We solve challenges in inventive ways. We have a national and international profile despite being small.
If someone is feeling a little down and perhaps in need of a boost, where in the Yorkshire Dales do you suggest they should visit?
Settle, you can go for a walk down by the river and then have a cup of tea in any one of the wonderful cafes there are around. And if you like walking or cycling then there is so much to do.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love walking, especially long distance walking. Other than that, I enjoy tapestry making and meditation. I’ve been a Zen practitioner for many years.
If a visitor was coming here for two days what would you recommend they should try to do? Any particular places to eat or drink you'd like to recommend?
I personally love the walk from Settle over to Feizor and then lunch or tea at Elaine’s Café. You can’t beat it.
Is there anywhere in the Yorkshire Dales that you feel sudden swooping joy?
Settle. I really am a fan.
Is there a happy detail in everyday life that you enjoy but you think many of us miss?
The breath. As a Zen and mindfulness practitioner, I enjoy my breath. We all breathe, but sometimes we forget and take it for granted. I often stop and still myself and just focus on my breath.
Where's your favourite place to just sit and look?
Looking out from Giggleswick across the river to Warrendale Knots and watching the sheep on the hills.
Is a local person who you think embodies the Yorkshire Dales spirit - and why?
Bill Mitchell. The stories he collected of Yorkshire over 60 years continue to inspire me.
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