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John Jackson

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December 14, 8:30am • The Fruitmarket Gallery • part of a series on Tradition

#CMEdi Speaker Catch-up: Jannica Honey 🍯


Like a whirlwind of creative passion and empathy, Jannica Honey took to the CMEdi stage in October; positively inspiring and remaining in the hearts and minds of our community ever since.She’s even got her own Bross Bagel, thanks to the first winner of our #BrawBagel Challenge! With the exceptional response Jannica as received from our community, we were excited to follow up with her after the event to find out a little bit more about her magic. 

For a little extra inspiration, and insight into post-CMEdi-speaker life from your fellow creative, Jannica Honey, keep on readin’… 👇🏽


Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


What was the preparation for your talk like? Were you nervous about what to expect?

I prepared a lot, not only because I was pretty nervous, but also because I thought it is considerate and respectful towards the people turning up to hear from me. I was grateful to CreativeMornings/Edinburgh to be invited, and I wanted to hold that space. You believed I would do an intriguing talk, and I wanted to make sure I delivered. I also recommend people to prepare WHEN they feel uncomfortable, at least then you know you done your best. 

Preparation is like investing, sometimes we get scared when we invest in ourselves.

I felt comfortable before even meeting the team, I knew you all would be ace! My awkwardness lays within me: I find it challenging to hear my own voice for a longer period of time. I thrive on connections: you know that beautiful/exciting exchange of words, emotions and stories? When I do talks I find myself in the land of Jannica Honey only and I sometimes loose the connection, well, nothing to worry about I am talking to my therapist about that… ;-)


How did you feel up on the stage, in front of our CMEdi community? Did you find yourself easing into it once you got going?

I felt like I had some really intriguing/interesting stories to share, and I could see that they were awake and ready to hear me. In fact, much more awake than me.

 I guess what I am trying to say is, I felt very looked after before the talk. So, when I finally had to climb up on that stage and I found myself with the microphone in my hand, I was just felt honed in to being there. I mean, when you end up getting a hug by CreativeMornings/Edinburgh’s film crew after your chat, you know your words have been perceived.


Were there any special responses and/or interactions before, during, or after your talk which stood out in your memory?

Someone asked me about guidance straight after the talk and I figured that my honesty in my presentation unlocked something in him. We spoke about the importance follow “what you are all about” to create authentic work. When I speak about authentic images I simply talk about how to create photography of a certain quality. 

The talk also emphasised something to me, something that I kind of knew about already, how we are all connected and we affect each other regardless we want it or not. This can be positive and negative of course, the beauty with honesty is if you are honest people are just going to respond just like they are open and honest and it is just there where we all connect.


Community & Connectivity around Jannica’s photography.


We have loved having you as a speaker; but, also as a community member – you are now part of the #CMEdi family! 

Related to that,  would you recommend taking part in the CMEdi community and events, as a speaker and/or attendee?

Yes, I would love too! To meet the CreativeMornings/EDI community was like opening a secret door. An entrance leading to not only good coffee and chats, but also learning new things and early mornings. I know that work/art/inspiration happens in connections, and CreativeMornings/EDI facilitates just that in the most relaxed yet professional way.

One of the more positive things that have resulted from my experiences, and connections made at CreativeMornings Edinburgh, is that plenty are now aware of the events that CreativeMornings/EDI put on. Last but not least, your support and guidance has also put me at peace with my presentations.

I feel like something shifted and that shift definitely happened after the morning with you. I also had a lot of interaction on social media, people asking if when I am doing another talk and people asking about it.

I actually think these kinds of events extend way beyond me, way beyond us here in Edinburgh… it is like a mutual positive experience for all participants. The idea of sharing narratives is central for human evolution. At CreativeMornings/EDI we might be in a beautiful high-tech place eating bagels, but these kind of activities have been going on for a very long time, perhaps without the microphone and Insta-stories, more around a fire, sharing, connecting and learning. A reciprocal experience of something changing and evolving… developing.


If, like us, you found yourself looking for more the magical inspiration that Jannica Honey shared, don’t miss out on two workshops that she will be running in the new year, at the Arienas Collective: 

In these “half-day workshops with photographer Jannica Honey, you will consider the questions: What is a portrait? Or to be more specific, what is a good portrait? And do we need to see ourselves to see the other?”

2019 Dates include January 13th, and February 24th. Full details and booking available at: https://www.thearienascollective.com/the-art-of-portrait-photography 

#CMHonesty with CreativeMornings/EDI


Wednesday 24th October 2018 saw the full moon, complete with golden autumnal halo, fill the night sky. In celebration of this lunar event, photographer Jannica Honey took over the CreativeMornings/EDI Instagram account; sharing images and behind the scenes stories from her many stunning projects. As our speaker for the month, her storytelling takeover extended the event into a three-day experience. A core feature being Jannica’s commitment to creative vulnerability, and authenticity… perfectly in tune with October’s global theme of ‘Honesty’.  

With the event’s rhythm in motion, opening the doors to welcome you all on that final Friday morning of the month brought it all full circle. From the virtual stage, to face-to-face greetings, hugs, and reunions. 

In special celebration of our new CMEdi-Bross partnership, Larah Bross of Bross Bagels kicked it all off with an epic array of Party Bagels! Six giant bagels, with various delicious fillings, laid out and ready for all to enjoy. As Larah says, “They’re big enough to feed 10-12 people… or one nasty hangover!” - the perfect breakfast spread to fuel the creative day ahead.

Bross Party Bagel - Photography by Ellie Morag

Bross Bagels - Photography by Ellie Morag


Bellies full, and caffeine levels rising, we took our seats with excitement. Ready and eager to hear Jannica Honey’s inspiring story of photography, humanity, and womanhood.

“Honesty opens doors. Honesty is not just to do with being bold or frank. It’s about giving something up of yourself.Honesty is not about being rude. It’s about being vulnerable.” - Jannica Honey

Swedish-born, adopted Scot, of boundary-busting, mixed-heritage parents, Jannica’s career has carried on a tradition of crossing every kind of border. Further influenced by her academic background in anthropology and criminology, Jannica’s photographic craft has seen her delve into the nuanced, and typically unseen realms of culture and society. Every step taken with empathy, and heart. 

Jannica Honey on stage - Photography by Ellie Morag


Before introducing us to the intimate - sometimes ‘taboo’ - contexts this journey has lead her to explore, Jannica makes clear the importance of honest intent in each project.

“If you lose honesty, you lose touch with your photography. With your subjects… I went in honest. I think having a hidden agenda should be illegal.”

Starting with her project going behind-the-scenes of an Edinburgh strip-club, dehumanising notions are immediately forced aside. The first image, looking through the stocking-and-garter-clad legs of a dancer, her tampon string clearly visible. Jannica tells the story of how this image came about. How the dancer, Mina, had previously been fired from a club for having a tampon string showing, and became anxious on the day of shooting as her period had, naturally, started once more that very morning. 

‘Mina’s String’ with Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag


With a bond formed, only possible due to Jannica’s willingness to be as authentic and vulnerable as these women, they saw capturing the moment as positive action. Saying “f**k it” to the natural events of a woman’s life being made taboo. 

To this day, the bond between Jannica and Mina - forged in trust and mutual empowerment - is still strong.

“Vulnerability is like a bucket of ice-cold water over the head. It shocks us, gets us to open up, and start connecting.”


While very different in terms of their grounds for connection, this honest approach remains constant in Jannica’s next project. Into the highly secretive world of the Orange Order. 

“I had to be vulnerable and honest with them. Granted a seat at their top officials’ meetings, I earned allowance to take photographs at the front of their march.

I don’t agree with their beliefs, but their vulnerability humanised them in my eyes… with conflict on significant points, but empathy.”

Behind the Orange March with Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag


Contrasting once again with previous projects, Jannica’s venture onto the reservation lands of the Mohawk Nation would not have been possible without that same submission to vulnerability. By opening up about her own story in conversations, she was gifted tours of the land by an incredible mix tribal members - including the chief peacemaker (reservation police officer), and the local cocaine dealer. 

Welcome to the Mohawk Nation with Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag


The projector then switches to a stunning image of a woman and her horse - both in action, strong, and covered only by natural light. With that, we are introduced to Jannica’s most recent and ambitious project, When the Blackbird Sings.

Initiated by feelings of disempowerment resulting from both personal heartache, and the 2016 election of “a guy caught shouting grab ‘em by the p**sy”, she conceived of the project as a way to take power back. Power in the form of consensual vulnerability, honesty, and humanisation.

The series portrays the multiple aspects of the female cycle through photographs of women and nature. Constraints being the utilisation of twilight as the only light source, and only shooting on the new and full moon over 12 months. Thus, the shooting schedule was formed by moon cycles - an intrinsic feminine rhythm - channelled the earth’s natural rhythms into her work. The result being a continuing reconnection to womanhood and femininity.

Photography by Ellie Morag

Behind these photos is hours, if not days, of honest conversations with no topic out of bounds. Photographer and subject are co-creators of both dialogue and image.

“We were having full, honest conversations… experiences of abuse, miscarriage, IVF, menstruation, menopause… we shared it all.” 

Jannica makes clear, however, that with this degree of honesty and vulnerability, time and space is needed away from projects.

“You need to be honest, but hold a space for yourself - which ultimately facilitates your ability to hold a space for others to be safe in vulnerability. Throughout ‘When the Blackbird Sings’, I had to do a lot of self-caring work in my own time. Including in the run-up to the exhibition. For others, as well as for me.” 

With massive applause, and a sense of awe throughout the audience, Jannica ended her talk on a high. A welcome speaker on the CMEdi stage, and in the community. Discover more of her work via her website at www.jannicahoney.com, and join her fantastic conversations on Twitter @JannicaHoney, and Instagram @JannicaHoney

Jannica Honey - Photography by Ellie Morag

Speaking of social media, the CMEdi volunteer organisers want to take this opportunity to thank our own Twitter-pro team-member, Cilla, for all of her fantastic contributions. October’s event was officially her last in the role, as she heads off to new adventures, and successes!

“It was such a pleasure collaborating with you on CMEDI over the past 18 months. I hope you find joy and happiness in everything you do, and I’m excited to see your side projects bloom! As you said, quite rightly, on Friday: it’s not really goodbye. We’re looking forward to seeing your smiling face at future CMEDI events! All the best x” - Ellie, CMEdi Photographer & Instagram Queen


“I’ll miss your laugh and amazing social media skills - good luck in everything that comes after, and looking forward to seeing you at the next events! Xx” - Chloe, CMEdi Operations Champion


“On the work side, Cilla has been a massive help in shaping and writing grants, and her live-tweeting was on point. On a personal level, I loved dressing up for an 80s night with her - and her ambition to get CreativeMornings/EDI into the Usher Hall will live on!” - Alex, CMEdi founder & host


The month of #CMHonesty may soon be over, but hopefully it’s inspired you to continue a truthful trend throughout your days. In the words of the great Will Rogers,  “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

 We can’t wait to see you all at our next event, all on the global theme of ‘Restart’. May you have the good fortune to explore the global community that awaits. It’s only ever just a click away… At CreativeMornings 🗺️

CMEdi x Bross Bagels Partnership: Meeting Larah Bross!

Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


After some photography and film-making fun, all whilst sipping on some of Bross’s very own coffee, we are introduced to the Bross Bagels team. A brief tour of the new Leith shop catches us up to speed on the latest goings on - a new upstairs seating area being built, vegan additions to the menu, and our worlds being opened up to the culinary possibilities of Latkes, whitefish, and organic fruit as food colouring - #CMEdi blue bagels, anyone?

 The energy in the shop is a perfect balance of busy preparations and relaxed banter. Each person in the shop playing an active part in conversations – including the odd individual quickly ducking their head in from the street, and through the doorway, notifying us all “I’ll be back soon for the day’s bagel!” and, “Remembered my mug the day and all!”.

 From the start of our visit, creative ideas are passing back and forth between the Bross and CMEdi teams. Touching on cultural sharing, sustainability, and our mutual love for creative community building, and support. We could have talked, planned, and laughed together all day!

 But, with the mid-morning, bagel-hungry rush fast approaching, it was time to capture some thoughts and insights. Music playing, joyful chatter continuing, and the smells of fresh baked breakfasts filling the air. Our interview with Bross founder, Larah, beginning with a more laughter and happy strides towards the seats in the sunlit shop window.   


Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


Audrey: We’d love to start with learning a little more about the foundation of Bross, and that creative fire that got it going - because we feel it really resonates with us. So, what do you think has made this one the most exciting new independent businesses in Edinburgh, and Scotland?

 Larah: I definitely think a key thing is that there was no local bagel place. We brought bagels. And, it’s not just the bagels, it’s the culture - this whole new exciting thing that came along with it. Also, of course, the branding, and everyone wanting to get involved. Then, as everyone started to hear about it, talk spread… people were saying “have you had a bagel yet?”, or “Have you been to the bagel shop?”… And there’s only one!  

 So, it’s like when everyone starts to hear about a good thing, and then they’re wanting to tell 10 people. Who’s been there first? And, who has been there? 

I think everything happened really quickly, but really well. I also think the fact that I am not a business person meant that I took a whole bunch of risks that, if I were a business person, I would never have taken. I think the success really lies on that. That is, just really going for it, and not planning too much, and not debating ow its going to work. You’re just basically jumping in the deep end, and deciding “I’m going to open up a bagel shop!”

 Audrey: It’s taking that leap, and just going for it!

 Larah: Yeah!


Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


Audrey: So, with your craft - which I’ve termed “Wowing the crowd with your delicious bagel presentation, and delivery!” - how have your team, and yourself developed over this past year? Tell us about you, as people!

 Larah: My team was very important for me. I didn’t really mind if they had never been in hospitality before. I didn’t even really mind if they had never even heard of a bagel before, because I was teaching them about bagels - so that was fine, and easy stuff to learn. It’s more about being able to talk to people. To create a vibe so that, when someone comes into the shop, they’ll be like “Oh, wow! It’s a whole experience!”. You know, this whole new thing!

 So, they have to be fun people to work with, be outgoing, be able to shout out a number, have a bit of a chat with the customer while they’re waiting, if there’s a massive queue… It’s best if they don’t stress out too much about moments like that.

 Right now, I think I’ve got a really great team, they’re all really believing in the brand. They think it’s exciting to work here, and to be part of it. To be part of history - it’s all really going in that direction.

 Also, for me, it’s the first time I’ve ever been the ‘boss lady’ - the Bross Lady! So, it’s been a learning curve, and I told them that as well. I’ve never run a business before, so there’s going to be things that are probably going to be 'weird’ and different. But, everyone respects that!

 It’s something that… well… As long as they’re having a good time at work, for me that’s what’s important. I was in hospitality for quite a long time, and there was nothing worse than not being thanked at the end of a shift, or just not being well looked after, and not being respected. Just, not being treated like a real person. So, here at Bross Bagels, we try and make sure that everybody is nurtured.

 For example, I’ve told everybody that if they’re good at anything else - besides making bagels - to let me know. We have one of the team members who’s a sign-writer, and that’s what she does as a side-business. So, I said “we’re happy to pay you to do the signs.” Anything you’re working on, on the side, - I don’t think this is anyone’s 'end job’, so - we’re happy to support everybody’s other passions, and work goals, and things like that.

 I think it’s good place to work. And, I’m hopefully responsible for that.

 Audrey: That sounds like it’s multiple layers of culture change. For your customers, bringing in a new culinary experience. Also a new brand. And, internally, that investment in people’s development and personal/professional projects. We hear about that being done at Google, and Virgin - but, not at smaller businesses, especially not in hospitality. So, you’ll be getting my application shortly…


Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


Audrey: So, it was just over a year ago that we met you at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2017. It was CreativeMornings/EDI’s event for the global theme of 'Genius’, with Sashana Souza Zanella of the Edinburgh Food Studio. You were fresh out of the gate, a little nervous. But, for us, your approach to creativity and your overall energy were just fantastic. We definitely feel that you’re a great creative partner for us. But, what about CreativeMornings Edinburgh gets you excited?

 Larah: The people. Definitely.

 As soon as I did that CreativeMornings, I knew that these are kind of people that I want to be around. This is the most comfortable environment for me, being a creative person, and just knowing that I can cater for these people. Using my enthusiasm that just rides with the CreativeMornings vibe, it’s a really good match for me.

 So, yeah. It’s mostly the people that it attracts, and that are involved. We have a similar ethos!

 Audrey: That’s so wonderful to hear. We love this community, so it makes a huge, positive impact that you find a resonance in this element of CreativeMornings.

 Larah: Yeah, I think it’s a really good match. I mean, how could you go wrong with creativity and bagels?! I think, together, we could actually cross a lot of barriers that maybe without each other we wouldn’t be able to.

 Even just thinking about the things we could do together as collaborators, it’s great! So, I’m really happy to be involved in this. I don’t see any disadvantages at all. This feels like the best thing that could ever happen!


Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


Audrey: Yes, we love Bross! And, looking forward to the next 6 months, what do you hope to bring to our monthly inspirational mornings?

 Larah: A WHOLE LOTTA BAGELS! Yes, we want to bring new ideas, including bagels.

 One idea we’ve thought about is bringing themed bagels, following the CreativeMornings themes. Potentially leaving that up to the people of CreativeMornings as well! Perhaps a suggestion box, game, quiz, or something else that people could get involved with, and really recommend their kind of bagels.

 We can explore what different types of people would have on their bagel, selecting one each month, and put it on the breakfast menu for CreativeMornings. We would also put it on our Bross Bagels menu for the month - a Monthly CreativeMornings Bagel. Changing it up as we go along.

 That’s really only one of the possibilities that we could explore, but they are truly endless.

 Audrey: Do you have any additional messages for the CMEdi people, or perhaps a question?

 Larah: ARE YOU READY!? Start thinking! Start thinking about these creative bagels that we can come up with, together.

 What’s the craziest thing you can come up with, that would work on a bagel? You’ll maybe end up seeing it in one of our shops. In Leith, Portobello, and maybe one more coming…


Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


Audrey: Yes! Really fun and exciting times ahead!  

So, I have one more question for you. We have our monthly global theme, but, if you could pick a theme for the month, that the whole world would take part in - all 191 chapters around the world, for a whole month - what would it be?

 Larah: One that I would enjoy, thinking about 191 different cultures around the world, it would have to be 'Culture’.

 It relates to ideas we’ve had for our bagels, and collaborations. It would be great to find out what bagels the people of these cultures would create. Say, this is our Montreal style bagel. But what’s Romania’s bagel? What’s Ethiopia’s bagel?

 And so, we would go around the world, celebrating each country’s bagel! We could then pick the winning bagel for each place, and put that in our bagel menu. So, people could be like “Could I get an Israeli bagel?” or “One Indonesian bagel, please!”.

 Yeah, it would be 'Culture’. It’s what could, and should, bring everybody together. Culture and food together, that’s all you need!   


Photography by Ellie Morag 📸


So, stay tuned for the many delicious things yet to be announced. You can bet we’ll be calling on you for all your hole-y baked ideas.In the meantime… check out the awesome new Bross Bagels website, peruse the menu, and let your own creative minds run free. What would your custom bagel be? 

See you at our next event… Bross Bagels and creative inspiration await 💙

#CMChaos with CreativeMornings/EDI

At 8.30am on Friday the 28th of September, 2018, we opened the doors of the Fruitmarket Gallery, to you - the CMEdi community. With bright smiles and warm greetings, you eagerly awaited your chance to pour a cup of freshly brewed coffee and grab some delicious Homespun Kitchen treats.

Between you and that breakfast spread, we set a #CMChaos themed challenge. To grab a name and picture - any identity but your own - and find the mystery person among the crowd. With only one hard rule, to “be nice”, you had the freedom to search in whatever creative fashion your heart desired. The results were nothing short of joyful, demonstrating the potential chaos can unleash… 


Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷 


Some went “full method”, becoming who they thought their chosen person might be. Others employed sleuthing skills to discover who their chosen person believed themselves to be. Perhaps the most blissful of all, however, was those who embraced the barriers of a packed venue - choosing instead to use their hand-picked avatar as an ice-breaker, sparking conversation with those who seemed alone. 

Laughter, new friends, and collaborative ideas filled the room. Together, you catalysed a positive reaction between creativity, chaos, and community. 


Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷 


With new found pals, we took our seats, excited to hear from our speaker of the month. Built heritage professional, and director of the Hidden Door Arts organisation, Hazel Johnson.

Hidden Door is an arts organisation which aims to open up urban spaces as a platform for new and emerging artists, musicians, theatre makers, film makers and poets.

Through organising temporary events Hidden Door works to showcase new work and create engaging environments for the public to experience, explore and discover.


Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷 


Drawing on her life as part of Hidden Door arts since its foundation, in 2014, Hazel brings extensive insights into this creative, volunteer-lead initiative. Sharing a balance of human stories and hard facts, she provided a sensitising experience for all - exposed to the inspiring realities of what it’s like creating something spectacular, out of chaos!     

“All year round we:
- budget & fundraise
- promote
- partner with local organisations
- recruit, manage & support our volunteer army……I’m telling you this all not to show you that a festival is a lot of work, but to show you that things can be done!”
- Hazel Johnson.

With humble beginnings as a truly grassroots initiative, it’s often been ‘leaps of faith’ that carried them through. To this day, they have never been underwritten by any single funder year to year. Run not-for-profit, the festival is funded through ticket sales, sponsorship, fundraising, and grants. Any and all money received going straight back into the festival, and its creative contributors.


Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷 


These past 5 years have seen the festival bring new life to abandoned spaces across Edinburgh and Leith. Every corner of every venue filled with art of every medium; each year increasing capacity, scope, and engagement. Throughout it all, that same small founding group acts as a mighty linchpin to a growing army of committed volunteers. Many of whom return every year - familiar faces on what has become a special kind of creative pilgrimage:

“As soon as we have the keys, we put out a call to volunteers; who we truly depend on. This army of volunteers totalled over 400 people in 2018.

The pressure’s always on to make it all happen on time. We love our volunteers. They are the essential to the heart of Hidden Door.” - Hazel Johnson.

While the love and dedication to this festival has grown exponentially over the years, increasing annual costs are putting its continuation in jeopardy. As Hazel points out, there are lots of overheads that don’t often get conveyed to the public. All of the behind-the-scenes preparation expenses, including everything from licensing fees and compulsory building surveys, to health and safety checks and facilities installations - on top of the more visible, front-facing elements that we get to see, each time we enjoy these incredible arts events, and reclaimed spaces.

So, the team have made the important - but difficult - decision to let 2019 be a year for funding focus, aiming to bring the festival back to life in 2020. This will be a proactive, community lead year of fundraising - all of which you can directly contribute to! Just head on over to the campaign site at savehiddendoor.com, where you can donate and find out more. 

Also, do get in touch with the team to see how else you can be a part of keeping it all going! All of the details on how to make that happen are available on their dedicated contact page: hiddendoorblog.org/about/contact/

SaveHiddenDoor.com


Whilst we had our patch of chaos covered here in Edinburgh, the global CreativeMornings community has also been busy stirring it up - in 187 cities around the world!

At #CMCluj, Romania, their speaker was famous local graffiti artist Kero Zen. Not only did he bring inspiration to the crowd in his talk, he also put them to action, collectively creating a #CMChaos graffiti mural… of epic proportions!

“It has been an incredible experience, not only for me as an organizer, but also for the audience and the speaker. Our speaker, who is one of the initiators of street art and graffiti art in Romania, challenged the audience to express their inner chaos within a collective chaos on two large canvas we have prepared in the venues. The process was funny and…chaotic. But the result was wonderful and everybody quite surprised of the beauty of a collective chaos ” - Stefania Robu, CM Cluj Host.


Over at CM Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, their speaker, Fayiz Melibary, embedded chaos into his talk. Providing creative wisdom, prompted by words submitted by attendees via instagram stories only the day before! 

A dentist turned multi-media designer, he drew on a fascinating and complex world of diverse contexts. From patient care and fatherhood, to faith and community festivals. All with his sweet, enthusiastic daughter cheering him on from the audience. 


With that truly awesome month of #CMChaos behind us, we hope the memories will help you all have a little more fun with disarray. After all, if the famous Dan Wieden is right, “Chaos is the only thing that honestly wants you to grow. The only friend who really helps you be creative.”

We can’t wait to see you all at our next event, all on the global theme of ‘Honesty’. May you have the good fortune to explore the global community that awaits. It’s only ever just a click away… At CreativeMornings 🗺️

CMEdi at CreativeMornings Global Summit 2018


What do you get when you gather over 300 morning people, from 89 countries, around a roaring campfire… and fill them up on s’mores? A whole lot of folks asking, “What are s’mores?”! But, once that question is answered and all the sugary goodness takes effect, well… you get the first night of the CreativeMornings Global Summit 2018, at Iroquois Springs, New York 🏕️

Lit by flickering embers and a shining moon’s reflections on the nearby lake, volunteer organisers from CreativeMornings chapters around the world began their 3-day adventure together. Co-created by the CreativeMornings team at HQ, the summit is intended “to celebrate volunteers and the indispensable work they do”.


If you follow us on Instagram (which you definitely should ➡️ @Edinburgh_CM) you may have seen many a fun glimpse into our creative quest - from the classic yellow American school bus that brought us to our Summer Camp location, through to our fantastic FreeAgent sponsored moment of shining glory, under the CreativeMornings archway. All thanks to the Instagram story talents of our very own Ellie! 

As you might have guessed, it was a magical time. However, packed with workshops, talks, and creative activities, it was no time for our team to kick back and take it easy! We were on a mission to learn from our global peers, connect, and make sure we had plenty to bring back to all of you! 


“When I think of the Summit, the word that comes to mind is ‘LOVE’! The whole first morning stands out in my memory. Particularly the big interactive session with Priya Parker, on “The Art of Gathering”

Oh! The inflatable unicorn, too… hungover and deflated from the night before… flopped next to the San Diego chapter’s cabin. And who could forget that brass band, greeting us in the morning to march us down to our first activity of the day. 

Overall - despite the massive group - we all felt seen, recognised, and appreciated. Throughout the many activities, there were so many opportunities to connect. Yet, there was also lots of reflection - ensuring we had a learning that allowed us to bring back experiences, and care, back to CMEdi.” - Tao-Anas, CMEdi Videographer 🎥


Interactive Workshop and Q&A with Priya Parker


“Watching your activity online, sharing posts and messages with those of us who had to stay back home, it all looked so fun, warm, colourful, inspirational, homey… and generally so well curated. The books and quotes being shared were excellent.” - Briana, CMEdi Speaker Coach 


Blue CreativeMornings Chapters united! 


“For the 10 year anniversary of CreativeMornings, it was so interesting to have more emphasis on, and awareness of, the need for self-care. It really was good… a positive focus, topping up our energy for the next 10 years! 

A favourite moment has to be by the fire. Kitsch s’mores, and singing together. But the best part of all was seeing all of the team witness and experience the global scale of our community, first-hand. We now hold the global concept together, connecting more every day - bringing it back to our local CMEdi community.”  - Alex, CMEdi Founder & Host


Songs by the fire, with James Sills 


“I loved having options. Not just between activities, but also in whether or not to participate in the main organised way. It was another way of encouraging self-care. Allowing breathing space, and time for reflection.” - Ellie, CMEdi Photographer


CM Global family, with a Bohemian Brass Band!

Since touching back down on glorious Scottish turf, we’ve spent much time reflecting, brainstorming, and planning. Sharing key take-aways and points of inspiration in almost every conversation, we realise the Summit has been braw for your wee CMEdi organising team. We can’t wait to put these new ideas into action, as we grow, evolve, and get evermore creative. Rest assured, there’s many years of events still to come…

Thank you to our very special sponsors, and to you - our CMEdi community. You keep us motivated and inspired, eager to volunteer our time and creativity, and strong in our belief that “everyone is creative, everyone is welcome!” 

#CMEdi Global People 🌍


Over the years, CreativeMornings/EDI as become a welcoming foundation for local community networks. Coming together for that one special morning each month, we share coffee, inspiration, and conversation with fellow locals - both familiar, and new. No matter what the venue or theme, we always find ourselves surrounded by individuals full of motivation, engagement, and creativity. 

As part of an ever larger global network of chapters, this creative community conversation extends well beyond Edinburgh… connecting us to 188 cities around the world.

We’re excited to introduce two local CMEdi community members for whom this network has been a great resource - providing new friends and creative breakfast experiences throughout their global travels. 


Col McElwaine - From Brisbane to the ‘Burgh 🌏


You might recognise our first CMEdi Global People interviewee as the famous illustrator of our ‘braw!’ CMEdi cups design! Hailing from Australia’s Queensland capital, Col started his CreativeMornings days at CM Brisbane!


‘CM Brisbane’ illustration GIF by Col McElwaine


What first attracted you to join CreativeMornings Brisbane?

By the time the first CM Brisbane rolled around everyone seemed to be pretty aware of it. I think that is a credit to Jacinta who organises the events in Brisbane. From the get go she managed to build some really good hype around the events and since has managed to keep that momentum going. 

What do you love about being a part of this global creative community?

Moving around a fair bit this year I have really come to appreciate the Global element of Creative Mornings. It is really cool that almost anywhere you go you can easily find a big group of like minded people out there every other Friday morning. 

What was your favourite part about your last CMEdi event, and the events in general?

This probably isn’t the answer you are after but the Nutella banana bread I had has really mentally stayed with me. Breaky is kind of a big deal for me, but every CMEdi I have been to has been great. 



Have you visited any other chapters?  And, are there any you would like to visit?

I think I might check out London next month. But I will try to get along to anything if I can fit it on the day.  

Do you have a favourite talk from CMEdi, or any other chapter in the Global CM Community?

The event I think about most often from Edinburgh is probably Amy Hardie’s. Bri Lee from Brisbane was great. I also recommend checking out the video of Brenton Craig talking about flags and podcasts, who I think became the MC of the Brisbane chapter since I left? It is impossible to pick just one.

‘Amy Hardie’s Horse’ Illustration GIF by Col McElwaine



Miriam Klein -  Germany’s Köln to Scotland’s Capital 🌍

Photography by Ellie Morag

Our second interviewee for this instalment of CMEdi’s Global People is Miriam Klein. A strategic manager who first attended CM Cologne with her co-workers, Miriam moved to Edinburgh last year to pursue her postgraduate studies. Since then she has been a regular member of our CMEdi events! 


What first attracted you to join CreativeMornings Cologne? 

A former colleague of mine told me about it, and so one Friday morning we went before work. I was attracted by this different format - bringing creative people from different areas and industries together in a laid back atmosphere

What do you love about being a part of this global creative community

I think it’s great to see that it connects so many people from all over the world - and always at the same time - that’s incredible today in our fast paced society. Furthermore, when moving to Edinburgh it was nice to go somewhere I kind of “know” as the format is everywhere the same.

What was your favourite part about your last CMEdi event, and the events in general?

Being honest I really enjoyed the bagels - haha ;) No, on top of the relaxed atmosphere and food, I really enjoyed the talk about courage by FreeAgent’s founder, Roan Lavery. Although my last event was the one about gaming/e-gaming - which was very inspiring too. its nice to change perspectives - that’s one of the parts I love about CM.

Do you have a favourite talk from CMEdi, or any other chapter in the Global CM Community? 

Not really, I think they are all very different, so it’s hard to make out your favourite one. I think I would like to join CM in a different cultural setting, such as somewhere in Asia or Latin America.


So, no matter where you’re from, where you’re at, or where you’re going, always remember - everyone is creative, everyone is welcome!

If you find yourself travelling, or even moving to a new place in the world, go ahead and check to see if there will be a chapter near where you’ll be

… and don’t forget to send a message back to the CM Edinburgh team! We’re all about strengthening those connections, and we may even reach out to discover more about your adventures 🗺️ 

#CMCommunity at CreativeMornings/EDI


August in Edinburgh… What a crazy time and place to be alive. The population of our city more than doubles. The streets are filled with the familiarly unfamiliar, and not a street nor lane can be traversed without festival leaflet bombardment. We can all too easily find ourselves surrounded, yet feeling totally detached from our community spaces.

 With this dynamic at play, the global theme of #CMCommunity was both timely, and welcome. The CMEdi team set to work, creating a fun, sunny meadows gathering, where we could all re-group, and share creative inspiration. However, Scotland - as always - had other ideas…

The rain came down, ensuring a hearty drenching ahead. Team chatter filled with concern over whether anyone would even make an appearance. Nevertheless, the team held out hopes… And boy did you turn up! 


Photography by Ellie Morag 📷 


Despite the grey skies and soaked anoraks, you graced our picnic blanket with delicious home-made dishes to share. Exchanging hugs for cups of hot coffee and tea. Not only did you make the event worth braving the storm, but you re-enforced our teams appreciation, and dedication to all that is CreativeMornings Edinburgh…


“Having a strong network and community is one of the reasons I love living in Edinburgh. It was really heart-warming to see that even though it was pouring with rain, our Creative Mornings/Edinburgh community were still willing to bring food and connect” - Ellie, CMEdi Photographer, and Instagram Story Extraordinaire. 


“At CreativeMornings/Edi we like to keep things fresh, so when someone suggested having an outdoor potluck brunch during the month of August, we jumped on the idea - what could go wrong? Naturally it poured with rain.

 But this made the whole experience even better, as bit by bit members of our community trickled in, laden with freshly prepared homemade bakes. It was a heart-warming morning where our community warmed our hearts and shared their stories of what #cmCommunity meant to them. Albeit a little soggy, I left the event with a toasty fuzzy feeling that no matter what, we could always count on our cm attendees to be as daft as us.” - Alex, CMEdi Host & Founder.


Photography by Ellie Morag 📷


One particular dish, which appears to have gained its own fan club since the event, was hand made by community member Emily. That was, porridge cake! 

Of course, we had to discover her culinary secrets. In a statement from an interview following the event, Emily shared a little insight into her magic…

“I read in Ruby Tandoh’s book ‘Eat Up’ that there’s nothing more beautiful than sharing food you’ve make from scratch with someone you care about. It’s essentially kneeding your time, care and energy into something and giving it to someone else so they can absorb it and use its’ energy to go about their life. So this setup for Creative Mornings was something I was extremely excited about - the thought of making something from scratch that would go on to fuel the lives of these wonderful, creative people was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.”

“Emily on the left” by Ellie Morag 📷


As well as our CM Edinburgh activities, CreativeMornings chapters around the word were also coming together - creating a month-long wave of renewed faith in both local, and global #CMCommunity. 


At CM Harare, Zimbabwe, their speaker for August’s theme of Community was Thembe Khumalo, “a social, political and business commentator with big opinions, her aim is to provoke us into thinking differently about ourselves and one another, to require more of our leaders and our communities, and to begin to see ourselves more clearly”. 

Thembe gave words of social motivation, sharing a vision for an Africa “in which Africans are embracing their authenticity and thriving as a result”. From the buzz of activity from the community members, her words and passion struck a chord, as quotes and gratitude filled timelines: 

“Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” (A person is a person through other people.)

 “The work of community is when a person walks into a room with fear and self-doubt, only to leave with a new narrative and a feeling of possibility and hope. We can give that experience to one another. It’s the work of being human.” 


CM Ottowa, in Canada, brought the theme to life with 6 speakers, giving representation to diverse, yet interwoven parts of Ottowa’s wider communities.  

"Explore our city through these various lenses and experiences as told by different walks of life.”

“It was an incredible event, not only because it was our largest to date, but because we opened the stage to 6 members of our community doing great work.”Marwan Mansour, CMOttowa Video Lead.   

From empowering young people in democratic process, and bringing full gender-spectrum inclusion in extreme sports, to building community entrepreneurship and nourishment - these speakers are leading the way, in so many diverse, yet interconnected directions. Learn more about all of them on the CMOttowa event website!


At CM Bangalore, India, two speakers lead the event - Executive Chef Varun Raj, and Resteraunteur Madhusudhan Kashyap. The core purpose of their talk? To honour the important social role of food in fostering community.

Stepping away from the stage, they joined the community, sharing a nutritious and hearty meal. Throughout the dining experience, they provided guiding words on finding balanced mindfulness - of both self, and community. Health, enjoyment, and wellbeing, for all, placed at the heart of intentions.  



Looking back on the special month of #CMCommunity, we also get to wish a Happy 10th Birthday to the CreativeMornings founding chapter, in New York City. Ten years of creative community, growing ever more global by the day. All united in the spirit of giving a damn! 

                       “Everyone is creative. Everyone is welcome!”

 We can’t wait to see you all at our next CMEdi event, and hope that you have the good fortune to explore the global community that awaits. It’s only ever just a click away… At CreativeMornings 🗺️



#CMCraft Community Minutes


At June’s event, Steve Burnett and Thoren Ferguson wowed us with musical craftsmanship and talent. The community minutes speakers that followed, offered up some great opportunities to contribute to creative initiatives, spaces, and research!  

If you weren’t able to attend the event, or you just need a little reminder of the details, not to worry - here’s a quick recap…  ✍️ 


1/ Platforming Creativity - Share Your Experience

Harry Weeks, a researcher over at the University of Edinburgh, is looking for creative and cultural sector professionals to share experiences of the platform/gig economy.

If you’ve used these platforms and services, as a consumer or service/product provider, get in touch with Harry at harry.weeks@ed.ac.uk


2/ Tayos - Contribute to Creative Conservation

Help us to tell the story of Cueva de los Tayos through art, music and science and galvanize the call for its protection!This is a GoFundMe for TAYOS, an expedition taking place this summer bringing together conservation, art, music, neuroscience, photography and architecture in one voice, to help protect the extraordinary Cueva de los Tayos in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest.Join us in helping to realise an explorer’s vision and build a global network of guardians for Cueva de los Tayos.

https://www.gofundme.com/tayos


3/ Formerly Fish -  An Exciting Co-creative Space!

Formerly Fish is a collective studio specialising in upholstery, architecture, interior design and garden design - and they’re looking for new folks to join the space!

If you fancy joining bringing your creative business to a place where everyone can collaborate or work as individual businesses, get in touch with their team at www.formerlyfish.com 



Are you working on a side project, looking for collaborators or want to get the word out? Are you looking to hire somebody for a creative position? Are you looking for creative work? Community minutes are for you!

Interested? Email us a slide for what you want to pitch to our wonderful attendees at the end of the event. You’ll get one minute and a Keynote slide (widescreen) of your design. We can only have a few people speaking per event so if you have something to share get in touch sharpish at edinburgh@creativemornings.com or our Facebook Page.

#CMEdi Speaker Catch-up: Maryam Ghaffari of Got Soul Choir

Last month, we had the phenomenal Maryam Ghaffari as our guest, speaking on the month’s theme of #CMCommitment. Not only were we all moved by her talk, but the conversations afterwards were pretty awesome, too!

We loved seeing you all so fired-up, engaged, and inspired… so, we caught up with Maryam a short while afterwards, getting a little more insight into her experience of joining the CMEdi community! 

Read on, and check out our interview with Maryam!


Photography by Wilfred Magnussen 📸


What was the preparation for your talk like?

Preparing for the talk makes you see who you are, what you do and stand for from a new and fresh perspective. I was really grateful that Briana was there to support. Although we sailed very close to the wind having missed each other’s’ emails etc. So it was a bit of an 11th hour state! 

But hey nothing new there for me!! As Briana and I were going through ‘my story’ I realised that perhaps I should have enquired about the possibility of doing my talk in June rather than May - since May is one of the busiest times of the year with concerts and performances. Particularly this year!! But it’s all good and I’m so glad we did it. 

In reality, when you are out the on the court busy with the boom boom boom of the heart, that’s how things can be like shot after shot after shot and you just got to take the shot right? 

Briana is a young woman with a wise old soul and I really enjoyed working on the talk with her. She recognises the value of experience when the ‘story teller’ may view them as just another day in the life of!



How did you feel up on the stage, in front of our CMEdi community? Did you find yourself easing into it once you got going?

I felt very privileged to have been asked to share my story. There was a mixture of excitement and nerves and like you say it all started to feel good once I got going.


Photography by Wilfred Magnussen 📸


Were there any special responses and/or interactions before, during, or after your talk which stood out in your memory?

I was really overwhelmed by the number of people who had identified with what I had shared and got something from it. In the conversations generated after the talk the common threads were fearing the unknown and self-doubt. 

We shared that taking a leap of faith and stepping outside of our comfort zone takes a great deal of courage - but that because the rewards are so great one feels compelled to jump!  


Would you recommend taking part in the CMEdi community and events, as a speaker and/or attendee?

Oh definitely no matter which side you’re on it’s a fantastic experience! I had no previous knowledge of The CMEdi prior to being asked to share my story. I found it an extraordinary community brimming with vitality, energy and commitment. 

The event was ‘tastefully’ presented and super organised. The team were warm, welcoming, dynamic and enterprising professionals clearly keeping the core engines well-oiled and running smooth. Why would anyone want to miss out on being part of such a vibrant, fiery AND global community.


Photography by Wilfred Magnussen 📸


If, like us, you found yourself looking for more of that soulful inspiration that Maryam shared, don’t miss out on getting involved with the Got Soul Choir! Founded by Maryam, this initiative has grown into a musical community - where EVERYONE has been, and always will be, truly welcome! 


FREE Taster Sessions at the start of Got Soul Choir’s Autumn Term 2018:

Edinburgh Tuesday 3rd Sept 6:30pm Venue: Edinburgh Academy 42 Henderson Row, Edinburgh EH3 5BL

Glasgow Wednesday 4th Sept 6:30pm Venue Russell House, 81 Hyndland Rd, Glasgow G12 9JE

Dundee Thursday 5th Sept 6:30pm Venue Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee DD1 1DA

Fife Monday 2nd Sept 6:30pm Venue East Port, Dunfermline KY12 7JA


For more information, head on over to the official website at http://www.gotsoul.org.uk/ 

 #CMEDI PEOPLE: Karen Melville

Each time our CreativeMornings/EDI community comes together for our monthly dose of inspiration, no matter what the venue or theme, we always find ourselves surrounded by individuals full of motivation, engagement, and creativity. Meeting each other, connecting, and sharing - these are all key ingredients in the making of our positive, creative community.

Extending this meeting place into the virtual space, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to one such inspirational #CMEdi community member, Karen Melville - events manager for FreeAgent, and networking extraordinaire!

Photography by Ellie Morag 📷

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Originally from a wee village in Perthshire, where you made sure you learnt to drive as soon as possible to get out and visit the “big” cities. I spent many happy years living and working in Perth then I moved to work in Edinburgh 15 years ago. 

I worked in the drinks industry for 25 years in all sorts of roles including, sales, HR - but mainly promotion and retention within marketing, before switching to event planning with FreeAgent. I love a good book and eating out at independent restaurants.


What made you decide to come along to the last CreativeMornings/EDI event you took part in?

The company that I work for, FreeAgent, is one of the major sponsors for CMEdi, and I love the chance to go along and meet all sorts of people and have great conversations as well as listening to interesting topics.


How did you find out about CreativeMornings?

Through FreeAgent sponsoring their regular monthly meetups.


What’s your usual morning routine?

 I live in Livingston, so up and about quite early, all the usual stuff of showering, doing hair/make-up and a quick breakfast before leaving for a short drive to the train station to catch the train to Haymarket then a short walk up to Edinburgh Quay.  My desk has a beautiful view of Edinburgh Castle so arriving at work every morning, grabbing a great cup of coffee and settling in for the day is certainly no hardship.


What did you like best about our the last CreativeMornings Edinburgh event you took part in?

The fact that FreeAgent got the chance to take over the area and have a huge focus on FreeAgent. As the topic was Courage we decided to have some fun with it and produced a booth where you had to have the “courage” to put your hand through a curtain to receive a lovely (or perhaps not) surprise.  Also that talk that day was delivered by Roan Lavery, our co-founder, product director and head of design. 


What is your creative calling? 

To try and surprise people without alienating anyone.  Our brand is all about being easy to use, approachable and fun so I love to try and inject that into everything we do with events, whether it is a formal expo, a recruitment drive event or sponsorship of events. 


What or who inspires you?

My colleagues are a fantastic source of inspiration.  We have regular creative jamborees where anyone can come along and really get the opportunity to think outside the box when looking for an event idea, a title for a blog, etc, etc.  We have such fun and you would be amazed at what comes out of it.  They really help to get the synapses firing and if we can’t use an idea you may find that it can be used later on down the line.

If you could give one piece of advice for nurturing creativity, what would it be?

Be open, curious and put your personal prejudices aside (don’t say “I haven’t got any prejudices” because we all have, e.g. white toweling socks, ankle chains, certain colours of blue - I know, stupid yeah).


Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?

Books, museums, art galleries, Google, Twitter and keeping my eyes wide open.


What do you do to take care of your creative soul?

I make sure that my work life balance is in the proper proportions and I take time out to have great holidays in inspiring places. 



Thank you so much Karen for sharing insights into your creative life! If you spot Karen at our next event, be sure to say hello - who knows what creative inspirations can be shared!

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