Author Graeme Armstrong: “It’s my duty to disrupt”

NCL Film and TV’s guest speaker programme brought 2021 to a close with an inspirational discussion with Airdrie born author Graeme Armstrong, whose award winning novel “The Young Team” is currently being adapted for television by Synchronicity Films. 
The novel tells the story of “Azzy Williams”, an Airdrie teenager who at age 14 joins the local gang that gives the novel its title and follows his journey into adulthood, trying to escape the bleak post-industrial landscape of North Lanarkshire.  
During a wide ranging discussion with host Maureen Cuestas Rincon, Graeme shared his thoughts on publishing, public speaking and the importance of storytelling as testimony, recounting his own journey through gang culture and addiction in the process. 

“It was testimony. I went through all that and I want to tell people about it. I love when I get messages from young people – whether it’s kids, whether it’s prisoners or whether it’s anybody – who say that it has had an impact…It feels like vindication that all the suffering and struggling to do it was worth it. It makes me feel better – it’s like a healing thing.” 

Graeme Armstrong

“Graeme has emerged as an authentic new voice in Scottish literature and his story will resonate with many of our own demographic of students who face numerous barriers to education. As a department, we encourage the students to explore their own culture within the work they make and use their creative and digital skills to empower their communities and Graeme’s story is a fantastic example of the power of storytelling.”

Kim Beveridge, Film & Television Lecturer

“Having enjoyed the guest speaker slots so far, I was really keen to listen to Graeme’s discussion and get an insight in to his thought process as an author moving towards the TV industry.   It was refreshing to listen to someone who has not only turned his life around for the better, but is carving a career for himself in the creative arts to amplify voices like his own.  Getting the opportunity to listen to Graeme talk about his life, creative experiences and being unapologetically himself was really emboldening for me, and I’m looking forward to following his work in the future thanks to this introduction through the course.” 

Sarah Stables, HNC Film & TV Student 

Graeme really is an advocate for a lot of people, folk from similar areas to me that are massively under-represented in education. I feel I’m in a better place to guide young people because of the way I came into education, which wasn’t until I was almost 30. There are so many ruined lives after chaotic starts, but there is an alternative route and I feel the more working class, scheme raised teachers and lecturers that can relate more to young people the better. 

Barry Morrison, Supported Learning Lecturer 

“Through professional stories to funny life stories, each speaker has been very interesting to listen to and at times I have not wanted them to stop. The added ability for the students to ask questions at the end has been important as some questions have related back to exactly what we are studying/ learning at that time and hearing a professionals opinion has really made us think about the next step we take once we progress from college. Overall the guest speaker program has been one of the highlights while studying at NCL and the information I have been given from these professionals has definitely helped me with a better understanding of the industry I one day hope to be established in”

Graeme Ross, HND Film & TV Student

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