David Metcalfe

David's creative practice is particularly concerned with the narrative interpretation of archaeology and history, with human communities' inter-action with each other in the deep and recent past, and with the impact of humankind on the environment and landscape. 

David carries out a range of narrative consultancy, research, workshop and advisory services as Future Folklore and performs his stories and ballads as Dark Tarn. He also co-produces and performs with Fire Springs storytellers, which he co-founded in 2000.

A lifelong student of the human condition, folk culture and humankind's symbiotic relationship to the land, David has degrees in History (BA, 1975) and Archaeology (MPhil, 1978). David practised as a field archaeologist for much of the 1970s, undertaking research, field survey activity and site excavation work in Wales, northern England and southern Scotland. David's academic grounding in mediaeval history and his training and experience in prehistoric archaeology, deeply inform his storytelling and folk-singing.

In the 1980s, qualifying as a chartered public finance accountant (CPFA, 1987), David transferred his investigative skills to examining the efficiency and effectiveness of public bodies' use of resources as a value-for-money specialist, first with the National Audit Office and then the Wales Audit Office. From this vantage point, he developed a keen interest in the ways organisations formulate, articulate and regenerate their corporate narratives. David has written, co-authored or made specialist contributions to many official publications for Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales, together with various reports to senior managers in national and international public bodies.


In 2010, David became a freelance narrative consultant, providing creative thinking services for public, private and third sector bodies. In 2012 David founded Applied Cognition Ltd, providing analytical management consultancy services to enterprises undertaking strategic and operational development or corporate change initiatives. 


David Metcalfe, BA, MPhil, CPFA

You can watch David speaking about his story-work from the top of Solsbury Hill, east of the ancient city of Bath.

David is co-author, with other Fire Springs colleagues, of An Ecobardic Manifesto: a vision for the arts in a time of environmental crisis (Awen Publications, 2008), and with Fire Springs has co-produced several major storytelling shows, appearing in theatres, arts centres and other venues across the UK.

David is the author of:

The Last Wolf, in Writing the Land - An Anthology of Natural Words (Awen Publications, 2003)

Bringing the Landscape to Life (Guardian feature article, 6 September 2013)

Voices in the City - a storytelling circle's contribution to informal community building, in Storytelling for a Greener World (Hawthorn Press, 2014)

The Wind Shall Blow, in Ballad Tales (History Press, 2017)


Narrative consultancy, research and performance


You can also watch a short film about the Ghosts in the Garden project, to which David and his Fire Springs colleague Anthony Nanson contributed by conducting two storytelling workshops to support narrative development.