We have just left our happy home of 20 years. When we set up BRIEF we first based ourselves in Maida Vale before we moved to Newbury Street, a larger and much more central building, in 2001. Our building in Maida Vale was also lovely and when we moved there in 1995 we could never have imagined that we would grow out of it so soon, but Newbury Street right from the beginning was a wonderful and happy place to work. For those of you who never visited us it was in a historic part of London, right on the edge of the financial district, within easy walking distance of St Paul’s, Smithfield Market, which was right on our door-step, the Thames, the Tate, the City and so much more, with so much history in virtually every street name around us. And yet life changes and in this (edging towards post-) pandemic world who needs a five-floor building in the centre of London. Like for so many organisations this last year has fundamentally and permanently changed the way that we will deliver our services, with a substantial amount of what we do staying online for ever.
So what do we remember? Well obviously the people - all of you who came through the ‘Blue Door’ as some of you called it and who made BRIEF so special, the wonderful professionals and clients that we have worked with and learned so much from. And then our support team – Sarah Hassan, Mariama Turay and Cheryl Rose. Thanks to each and every one of you for smoothing our lives, for looking after us and for being so patient with our quirckinesses and idiosyncrasies, and more important for many people being the 'voice' of BRIEF on the phone. And then our colleagues – Yasmin Ajmal, Guy Shennan and Denise Yusuf – all of whom contributed to and helped to shape our thinking and to whom we are grateful.
And what a productive time 2001 – 2021 was. 5 books between us, setting up and running the Diploma for so many years, and then the Advanced Certificate programme, and the Summer School that started at Newbury Street, with people working all over the building in all the rooms until it got too big and we moved out to other venues, ending up in Covent Garden. And all the presenters who came and worked with us during those years and shared their thinking with us, and many of whom also saw clients with us: Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, Yvonne Dolan, Peter Szabo, Allan Wade, Michael Durrant, Harry Korman, John Walter, Rayya Ghul, Linda Metcalf, Elliott Connie, Teri Pichot, Gunther Lueger and Louis Cauffman. And whilst Michael White, Ben Furman, Adam Froerer, Andrew Turnell, Russell Deal, Matthew Selekman, Kay Vaughn, Bill O’Hanlon, Cynthia Franklin, Luc Isabaert, Therese Steiner and Scott Miller also came and presented for BRIEF none of them actually did so at Newbury Street (as far as we recall) – a shame, since the smaller and more intimate setting worked really well.
And during these years our thinking never stood still. So much that is now referred to as the BRIEF model, or even SF Mark 2 (even though that is not a name that we have ever wanted to use), developed whilst working at Newbury Street. So we have much to be grateful for, many people to be grateful to, and all we can hope is that the essence of Newbury Street, our ongoing interest in the Solution Focused approach, a changing model, never standing still, comes with us into our virtual world.
We look forward to having many more enjoyable and productive discussions and debates with you all, some of whom will remember the Blue Door well and others for whom the Blue Door will be part of an unknown element of the history of Solution Focus.
Evan, Chris and Harvey.
30th July 2021
(And while we are acknowledging our friends and colleagues and their contribution to BRIEF can I also mention Ruth Mohr, Marilyn Frankfurt, the Just Therapy team, Charlie Johnson, Lyn Hoffman, Brian Cade, Jane Lethem, Michael Hoyt and Moshe Talmon all of whom also presented for BRIEF during our earlier, pre-Newbury Street, years.)