About Me

Sarah McCulloch At A New Dawn in the Negev, 2017

In 1989, I was born to a mother who loved (and loves) me a great deal and to whom I am quite grateful. I grew up in London, took my 11+ and moved to Chelmsford, Essex to be near my school. While at school, I was an Air Cadet, a St. John’s Cadet, a member of Chelmsford Youth Council, member for Chelmsford on the Young Essex Assembly and a dedicated member of the Proactive Essex Police Youth Strategy (PEPYS) Youth Forum. I also worked in an Oxfam shop every Saturday for five years. I quit all of them when I was 17 in order to concentrate on my A levels, and started editing Wikipedia instead.

In 2007, I moved to Bradford in my gap year to work as a Disabled Student Support Worker under the auspices of Community Service Volunteers. I had intended to spend my year chilling out and taking a break from endless examinations – I joined the Bradford University LGBT Society as Treasurer instead and took up drinking. I fell into political activism through people I met there, became External Relations Officer for Sensible Drug Policy UK, and nearly got arrested for the first time for blockading a petrol garage linked to Total, the single largest investor in the totalitarian regime of Burma.

One year later, I started my degree in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Manchester, where I was sat of the committee of the LGBT Society for all three years, founded a chapter of Manchester Students for Sensible Drug Policy (which became Re:Vision Drug Policy Manchester), ran for Disabled Secretary on the Union Council, and went to the equivalent of two protests a week for a year. Oh, the joys of first year. Second year, I did much of the above, but also became Chair of Manchester Students Against ID, and at some point became a Liberal Democrat. I quit shortly after the Liberal Democrats got into government and everything that followed.

Leading a student demonstration of 6.000 (!) people in November 2011

Leading a student demonstration of 6.000 (!) people in November 2011. I’m holding the megaphone.

In 2010, I took another gap year between my second and third year. The Coalition Government was elected and I took a job as Cuts Campaign Assistant at my student union, organising students to campaign against the cuts to public services and the rises in tuition fees.

I resigned from SSDP UK in July 2010 over a matter of principle and in March 2011, I helped found a different drug policy organisation, the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network, which works to empower young people to speak out against the drug war. Re:Vision was taken over by another in 2014, and I became a board member for NORML UK, then an adviser to NORML Women’s Alliance, before finally leaving the drug policy sphere for other interests.

In summer 2012, I finally finished my undergraduate degree. I moved back to London, took an internship in digital media with Yachad, and took a Certificate in Digital Marketing with Google. In 2013, I enrolled in the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary to train as an interfaith minister. I was ordained as the Reverend Sarah McCulloch in 2014. I then took a two year dance leader training in the Dances of Universal Peace.

In September 2013, I changed course and enrolled in an MSc in Occupational Therapy at London South Bank University. I didn’t participate in student life on any kind of level like my undergraduate, but I nonetheless won a place on the LSBU Enterprise in Action scheme (£500 and office space to develop a business idea) and served as Digital Officer for the Enterprise Society for two years. I graduated in 2015 with a specialism in mental health and have worked as a locum OT in a wide range of settings, including mental health wards, forensic units, early intervention services, dementia out-patient clinics, and community mental health teams.

Addressing AutismCon 2016

Addressing AutismCon 2016 on coping with meltdowns.

My long-term goal for training as an OT is to work with autistic adults. In 2015, I took on a mentoring role at AS Mentoring, and participated in a pilot study funded by Research Autism on the benefits of mentoring for young autistic adults. I have been asked to speak twice at the National Autistic Society’s AutismCon and have led sessions on meditation and meltdowns.

In July 2016, I sold my car, packed up my life and moved to Israel to enrol at the Conservative Yeshiva and Pardes to undertake intensive Jewish learning. Outside of this, I also spent my year undertaking part-time training in Clinical Pastoral Education (chaplaincy) and spent two months volunteering for A New Dawn in the Negev, a Bedouin Arab-Jewish NGO that works to improve employment and educational opportunities for at-risk Bedouin youth.

I returned in September 2017, and founded a podcast, Audible Autism, and got to work on the Autistic Empire. I’ve been all over the world and seen a lot of things and now I am hoping to stay put in one place for a while. You can see my Now page here.

In 2018, I became godparent to Robyn Aurora O’Kerry, who is the most amazing baby in the entire world.

Me and a two week old Robyn

In what spare time I have, I like to write, follow American politics (every four years), and spend time with my 1500 strong library of books.

For my professional CV, please visit my LinkedIn Profile.