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September 27, 8:30am • BoConcept • part of a series on Muse

Photo by Ellie Morag


Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

My name is Isla Munro and I live and work in Edinburgh. I teach in the Design School at Edinburgh College of Art, primarily undergraduate students, in Product Design. 

I am a designer and consultant, with a background in architecture and furniture design; I earn my crust through graphic design and visual communication and feed my soul through community and participatory art projects, and most recently street art. 

I head up the 100 Days Project Scotland which is a project aimed at encouraging daily creative practice and have great fun arranging the celebratory exhibition in Edinburgh.

Are you working on any projects right now? Tell us about them!  

The project on the forefront (apart from the return of all the university students!) is the 100 Days Project Scotland exhibition, which is opening on the 25th September. This year we have had more than double the amount of participants sign up to be a part of the celebratory show and I am very excited about it. 

Thankfully I booked a bigger venue for the show this year, the Fire Station Engine House at ECA on Lauriston Place, so we will be able to fit in all the amazing projects.

Another lovely project to be involved with is a community art project where me and my friends Astrid Jaekel and Chris Dobson are delivering cut-metal artwork just off the Cannongate. 

How can people find out more?

Instagram is a good place to see some of what I am up to. The 100 Days Project Scotland website is worth a look, including the 3D tour of the 2018 exhibition. Otherwise get in touch through Creative Mornings, and let’s have a coffee and I can tell you more.


How long have you been attending CreativeMornings? 

I have been attending Creative Mornings since 2016, when I went along to a talk by Morven Cunningham on the global theme of Change

CM is one of my favourite things and something I look forward to every month. I love the coffee and don’t even get me started on the bagels but even without those, the chance to hear all the amazing people speak about what is important to them is constantly inspiring. 

What has been your favourite CMEdi event?

It’s very difficult to choose – they are so varied and all good! One I was delighted by most recently would be Mary Johnston on the theme of Preserve. Mary’s Doric poetry was fantastic, and Mary herself was captivating. I also loved the CMEdi in the Meadows where we met under a tree, in the rain, and ate breakfast treats. 

What advice can you share with the CMEdi community? 

I think probably the best bit of advice I could share would be to be yourself, and surround yourself with people you trust. I am lucky enough to have friends and colleagues who appreciate my weird, and I theirs.

What’s your favourite thing about Edinburgh? 

There is not one thing; there is a glorious smooshing together of all the wonderful things which make Edinburgh the only city I want to live in. 

I enjoy walking and cycling around it; I love the mix of architecture, it’s geography and geology. I love living in Leith, it is full of character and there are some great independent businesses and community enterprises which have such heart.  

Love it or loathe it we are a festival city, and though I believe there is so much more Edinburgh needs to do to balance the festivals to benefit residents and not simply cater for visitors, I do feel lucky to have so many amazing things going on, on my doorstep.

What do you like to do on a free day in Edinburgh? 

One of my favourite places to go, which is just outside Edinburgh, is Jupiter Artland. It is a lovely place to wander around. It has a programme of exhibitions every year, but the growing art collection in the grounds is fantastic and I see something new every time I visit. If I can’t quite get myself out to Jupiter Artland, then a cycle up to the Botanics for a coffee and then a wander around the grounds is always a good shout. 


Who or what inspires you?

There is no one thing, or one person, so you’re getting a wee list! I am lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of inspiring friends and colleagues. My fellow 100 Days Project participants and the projects they pursue are an inspiration.  Also, I am lucky to be a member of Tribe Women, an Enterprise Community run out of Tribe Porty, which is a fine collection of inspiring women.

image: Isla Munro

What is something you love and think people should know about?

I love taking photos of mundane yet beautiful things; most recently in the south of France it was door knockers, in New York it was water towers. I spell my name with things I find in the world and I have a ‘photo scavenger hunt’ list on my phone which I tick my way through in every place I visit. It means my camera roll is full of cast shadows, zig-zags, textures and colours rather than tourist destinations. 

My most recent book purchase which speaks to that side of me is called “The Art of Noticing” by Rob Walker – it is a guide full of exercises like the ones I already do (like take photos of numbers 1 – 100 in order, or start a collection), and asks readers to take more notice of the world around them… I think more people should do that.


Is there anything else you like to let the CMEdi Community know?

A shameless plug for the opening of the 100 Days Show, but I would love to see the CMEdi community come to the exhibition. If you can’t make the opening, the exhibition is open until the 29th, so it is well worth a visit. Simply search Instagram for #100daysprojectscotland to see some of the amazing projects. 



Follow Isla on instagram, and find more about The 100 Days Project Scotland at www.100daysscotland.co.uk, Instagram, and Facebook . Check out the original 100 Days Project from New Zealand at www.100daysproject.co.nz

Tickets are available now for The 100 Days Project 2019 show opening night on Wednesday 25th September, sponsored by the Cross Borders Brewing Company. 

The show runs at The Fire Station, Edinburgh College of Art, 74 Lauriston Place, from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th.

Bagel Challenge September 2019

Time again for the CMEdi/ Bross bagel challenge: your chance to design your perfect filling for a Montreal-style bagel and have it brought to life by Bross Bagels!

Your bagel should be inspired by our monthly theme, which for September is ‘Muse’. The winning recipe will be served at our CMMuse event at BoConcept on September 27th, and will be available as a weekend special from Bross Bagels’ Portobello and West End locations!

If you looking for a little extra inspiration, why not check out the current Bross Bagels menus? But do not feel limited by the existing ingredients! So long as Larah Bross and her team can make them into a reality, your ideas are well on their way to hitting the menu, too!

Use this form to submit your bagel design. All entries must be received by noon on Friday September 21st. The winner will be informed by email by September 26th. Good luck!

Hi pals!

As anyone who’s attended a CreativeMornings event knows, after the main speaker we have Community Minutes - an opportunity for anyone in our community to get up and briefly address everyone else.

We regularly have folk come up and tell the audience about new projects and campaigns, job vacancies and upcoming events, but you could use a Community Minute to highlight your newest product, a crowd-funding push, even social issues you feel strongly about, or just to let everyone know about a recent achievement you want to shout about!

Anyone attending the event can take a Community Minute slot - they get 60 seconds to make their announcement, with a slide of their choice up on the big screen. CMEdi also posts the details of the all the announcements from Community Minutes on our social media accounts.

Time at the event is limited, so we do allocate all Community Minute slots beforehand. We only have a limited number, but we will do our best to allocate on a first-come first-served basis.

If you’d like a Minute at our next event please let us know - email edinburgh@creativemornings, mentioning ‘Community Minutes’ in the subject line. We can’t accept applications less than 48 hours before the event (typically our events are on a Friday morning, so we would need to hear from you by the Wednesday before).

You’ll need to provide:

- Basic details of your announcement

- A widescreen slide image (PNG, PDF or Keynote) that can be displayed on the screen during your minute

- Contact details (including social media handles) we can share with the community.

You will also need to be able to attend the event in person!

Once we’ve received your email, we will be in touch in to let you know if you have a Community Minute slot, and give any further details.

The CMEdi Bross Bagel challenge is back! It’s your chance to design a bagel and have it brought to life by the masters at Bross Bagels!

Your bagel should be inspired by our monthly theme (August’s is Justice). The winning recipe will be served at our CMJustice event on August 22nd, and be available as a weekend special from Bross Bagels’ Portobello and West End locations!

If you looking for a little extra inspiration, why not check out the current Bross Bagels menus? However, no need to feel limited by the existing ingredients! So long as Larah Bross and her bagel-masters can make them into a reality, your ideas are well on their way to hitting the menu, too!

Use this form to submit your bagel design. All entries must be received by noon on August 15th. The winner will be informed by email by August 21st.

Fancy joining the CreativeMornings Edinburgh team, or know anyone who might? We are looking for videographers!

Creativemornings is both a local and a global event, as such we need someone with a keen eye to capture the talks as they happen and then edit them to share the Edinburgh stage with the world on the main CreativeMornings.com (that gets over a million hits a month!)

You might be one person or you might choose to share the job, but you’ll be a full member of the CmEdi team and of course be invited to our retreats and socials.

Dedicated time: approx 10h a month, including 4h for event day and monthly team meeting.

If you are interested in this role, please let us know via this link.

CMEdi People: Q&A with Keiron Calder

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

My name is Keiron, I’m from the hillfoots in Clackmannanshire, and now live and work in Edinburgh.

I work as an Independent Consultant, specialising in industrial design and manufacturing.

I’m also director of K_N Design Studio, working on a variety of Product Design related projects from theme parks, to award trophies. I love to write and speak about design and personal growth whenever I get the chance!


How can people see your work?

You can check out the Studio’s past work at k-n.studio and you can keep up with day to day stuff on my Instagram which I keep relatively up to date! You should also check out my Medium page for regular blogs and playlists!


Are you working on any projects right now? Tell us about them!

I’ve been working away on some fun side projects recently which I’d love to share. I’ve been making a new playlist every month for almost a year now which is really cool. Each month I put together 10 tracks loosely based around a theme of what’s been happening that month, and I write a wee blog post that accompanies them and runs through my thoughts and feelings and random anecdotes. It’s pretty much an outlet for my obscure thoughts that would normally swim around in my head!

You can check them out on my Medium blog, and stream the playlists on Apple Music &/or Spotify. I’ve also combined them into one massive playlist which grows each month. It’s been a really fun process gradually curating my dream playlist.

My other side project has been printing posters based around the theme of positive vibes. I really love quotes, and I’m constantly discovering and writing down new ones for a rainy day! I print all my posters at Out of the Blueprint down in Leith, who are an amazing Risograph Print service who support young illustrators in our local community. You should check them out! All my posters are available on Etsy.


Who inspires you?

Dieter Rams is a big influence from an Industrial Design point of view. He’s given a lot to the design community and continues to inspire generations of creatives. His recent documentary RAMS really challenges the designers of today to be better. A wise man.


What brings you to CreativeMornings?

CreativeMornings was one of the first events I ever attended when I first started up my business. I’ve been pretty hooked ever since. Each talk is totally different and I always leave feeling really inspired and fired up! It’s also a great excuse to catch up with local friends doing similar (and extremely different) things to me!


How long have you been coming to our events?

I’ve been going off and on for about 3 years now! The first one I attended was actually in the evening, it was the Edinburgh chapter’s first birthday party at Whitespace’s offices and I instantly met a bunch of cool people who I still catch up with regularly.


What has been your favourite CMEdi event?

Hmmm tough to pick one because they’re all so different. David Hartmann’s one was really funny going all the way back to his childhood. He also had animated Gif’s which were pretty epic. Pete Thomas was really inspiring, casually dropping some pretty amazing quotes.

(Reality with Pete Thomas)


What advice can you share with the CMEdi community?

Figure out what you really want from life. Seriously. So many people spend their lives avoiding these really important questions. I did for a long time, and I can tell you that floating along can be fun for a while but it won’t last forever! At some point you need to gift yourself the time and space to really think about this stuff. People avoid it because it seems hard, but life is so much harder when you don’t know what you’re doing!

Once you have a crystal clear picture of exactly what you want, you can start taking massive daily action towards your goals. Not knowing what you really want is like stabbing in the dark! You’ll probably hit something but who knows where you’ll end up! Knowing what you want gives you control over your own life. (Usually the main reason why people go freelance in the first place!) #isntitironicdontyouthink


What’s your favourite thing about Edinburgh?

It’s a city that feels like a village! On one hand it has a quiet charm, packed full of character and obscure things, then on the other hand it’s bloody touristy, and constantly alive! You just don’t get that anywhere else. It’s a total anomaly. I felt at home the day I moved here and I never want to leave!


How do you like to spend a free day in the city?

My wife and I live and work along the invisible border where the New Town, Old Town and West End all meet! So we’re usually skulking about within our wee radius! I know it’s touristy, but I bloody love it!

I’d probably go for a walk down the canal, get some lunch from Pumpkin Brown or Hula, and then head to The Filmhouse or Cameo to catch a movie. Margaritas at Bodega TollX are always a good idea too! Taco’s Taco’s Taco’s!


What is something you love, that you think more people should know about?

I’m currently reading an absolute game changer of a book. It was written in the 60’s so it’s not always an easy read (and a bit out of date gender wise - ‘Man this, Man that’), but it is full of wisdom and I’ve related to every single chapter so far. It’s all about success and self image. If you’re into self help and all that stuff (I’m pretty addicted!) you need to read this. I actually think every person on the planet needs this book. It should be in the school curriculum (just update the gender pro-nouns first!). It’s called ‘Psycho-Cybernectics’ by Maxwell Maltz. (Could do with a jazzier cover also!).

Is there anything else you like to say to the CMEdi Community?

Life is non-linear! Small actions taken consistently every day will compound over time and make a massive impact! Concentrate on small consistent wins rather than seeking the glory of a big one! The big ones don’t last! Always remember YOU ARE ENOUGH! Cheers for reading Edinburgh pals!


You can follow Keiron on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and see more of his work at k-n.studio and keironcalder.com.

Find Keiron’s blog posts at medium.com/@KeironCalder and listen to the accompanying playlists on Apple Music &/or Spotify.

Check out his inspirational poster designs at his Etsy store!

CMEdi People: Lucy Batura


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lucy Batura and I’m a Contract Designer at BoConcept in Edinburgh. We are the world’s most global furniture brand and have been designing, developing and producing furniture in Denmark since 1952. My role at BoConcept is to help people to create a perfect environment to grow and develop their business. I also run Polymorphics, an independent company specializing in designing and handcrafting contemporary objects. Recently I’ve also started We Make, a new studio/ workshop / retail space based in central Edinburgh.

Why do you come to CreativeMornings?

I’ve been to many CMEDI events and I really like the concept and the atmosphere, even if is early in the morning. My favourite talk so far was by Pete Thomas about ‘Reality’, Pete with his wife Kirsty runs Tom Pigeon, a design studio in Fife. I just love everything about their brand, and it was fantastic to hear the story behind their success.

What are you working on at the moment?

At BoConcept in Edinburgh we are developing the contract side of the business and we’ve started BoBreakfast, a monthly networking event for industry creatives in Scotland. We would like to provide a platform to connect with like-minded individuals, also bring the industry together, share good practice, knowledge, successes, failures and challenges. Please join us on the 1th of August! (Details and tickets here)

Who inspires you?

At the moment Greta Thunberg, I’m absolutely mind blown by her determination and commitment towards climate change. This 15years old true warrior is not only increasing awareness of global warming but empowering young people to get involve in changing their future.

Do you have any advice to share?

Working as a freelancer or in a small company can be challenging, sometimes feels like you are drifting alone on the boat towards unknown and you are terrified. It can be paralyzing and overwhelming but if you look around, they are other people feeling exactly like you! Park your boat, get out and join Creative Mornings or BoBreakfast and start chatting! About your feelings, work, dreams or a book that you just read it. I believe that sharing the experience is the best way to learn from each other and overcome the difficulties, try it!

What is something creative or cultural that you think more people should know about?

I recently went to Architecture Fringe, it’s an independent, open platform for projects across the arts exploring architecture and its impact. This fantastic festival took place in June across Scotland but the exhibition in the Lighthouse in Glasgow has been extended until 31th of August, so there still chance to see it.

What’s your favourite Edinburgh activity?

I love long walks around Edinburgh, so many places to visit! Recently I went with my dog to the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill; fantastic views, lush greenery and so peaceful environment! Just perfect!


Check out Lucy’s different projects at www.polymorphics.co.uk and www.wemakeedinburgh.co.uk

BoConcept produce and sell contemporary Danish designed furniture, accessories and lighting, and offer free interior design services. Find out more at www.boconcept.com. Find more details about the August BoBreakfast event here.

Community Minutes

Hi pals!

As anyone who’s attended a CreativeMornings event knows, after the main speaker we have Community Minutes - an opportunity for anyone in our community to get up and let everyone else know about their latest project, a job vacancy, a new product, campaign or event, or anything else they feel like shouting about!


Anyone attending the event can take a Community Minute slot - they get 60 seconds to make their announcement, with a slide of their choice up on the big screen. CMEdi also posts the details of the all the announcements from Community Minutes on our social media accounts.

Time at the event is limited, so we do allocate all Community Minute slots beforehand. We only have a limited number, but we will do our best to allocate on a first-come first-served basis.


If you’d like a Minute at our July event (Friday 26th, 8.30-10.00am) please let us know by Weds 24th, - email edinburgh@creativemornings and mention ‘Community Minutes’ in the subject line.

You’ll need to provide:

- Basic details of your announcement

- Contact details (including social media handles) we can share with the community.

- A widescreen slide image (PNG, PDF or Keynote) that can be displayed on the screen during your minute.

You’ll also need to be able to attend the event at BoConcept on Rose Street!


Once we’ve received your email, we will be in touch in to let you know if you have a Community Minute slot, and give any further details.

As there isn’t a CMEdi event this month, we’re going to try a bit of an experiment.

The CreativeMornings theme for June is Wonder, and we’d like to introduce the CreativeMornings Edinburgh community to the creative wonder that is… the CreativeMornings Edinburgh community!

On the morning of Friday June 28th, when we would have been holding our event, we’re going to take to Twitter to highlight some of the makers, creators, performers and artists who come to our events, using the tag #CMEdiWonders. The CMEdi community can get to know them and their projects, and hopefully their talent and passion can give everyone enough inspiration to get through another Scottish summer!

What ever you do creatively - if you’re a painter, print-maker, dancer, poet or musician, make-up artist, filmmaker, designer, writer or whatever, we’d love for you to be involved. Whether it’s your full-time job or you do it for the sheer pleasure, let us know about it!

We’ve set up a survey here for you to give us the details about you and your creative projects. If you have any questions, please contact us at edinburgh@creativemornings.com.

We’ll post as many of the responses as we can between 8.30 and 10.00am on Friday June 28th - so keep an eye out for #CMEdiWonders!

Please note, we are looking to highlight individual members of our community. If your company or agency is interested in becoming one of our local partners, do get in touch!

#CMEdi Speaker Catch-up: Hazel Johnson


In Edinburgh, since 2014, the month of May has signalled a creative pilgrimage. A flocking of creatively inclined folks, forming community and reclamation at Hidden Door Arts festival. In September of last year, we had the good fortune to welcome their director, Hazel Johnson, as a speaker at CreativeMornings Edinburgh!

Fresh out of their 2018 line-up, Hazel and her team were still wiping the sweat from their brows - whilst simultaneously running an emergency campaign to secure the future of the festival. Since then, the Save Hidden Door campaign has achieved phenomenal success, thanks to donors, volunteers, and community ralliers just like you!

So, here we are, in May of 2019. The stellar Hidden Door Arts Festival 2019 line-up launched, with tickets on the go, and a whole new round of fun in store for the creative city that is our home. What better time to catch up with Hazel, reflecting on her introduction to our CMEdi community, and all of the inspiring things that have taken place since!

Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷


Audrey: Hey everybody! Audrey here, with Hazel of Hidden Door Arts, following up on our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event last September - where Hazel was our speaker, on the theme of ‘Chaos’!

So, it’s been a fair few months now… 

Hazel: Yeah, a while ago now! 

Audrey: A good amount of time for many things to have happened. And, perhaps, some positive, productive reflection? 

Hazel: More chaos! 

Audrey: Oh, I bet! It’s all looking great though!

So, thinking back, to the preparation for your talk - can you give us a little insight into how you went about that? 

Hazel: I had a really useful phone call with Alex (CMEdi host), talking through the theme, event, Hidden Door, and the spaces that CreativeMornings Edinburgh community create. My paid employment also gives me a lot of experience in giving lectures and presentations. So, I wasn’t too phased.

The nice thing about having the opportunity to chat to Alex on the phone was that she painted a picture of what exactly it might be like, and managed my expectations of crowd size. And, even little things, like with the length of the presentation, knowing that it was ok to run over a wee bit. So, preparation wasn’t too much, but just enough. To set the scene like that with me, it was really good.

I also really appreciated that training was offered. Had I wanted or needed it, the fact that that was something I could have pursued was very, very good actually.

Audrey: I’m so glad that the chat with Alex was so helpful, and that you weren’t very nervous about speaking to us all.

It would be great to hear about the lectures and talks you give with your work, too. Can you give us a little insight into this experience? 

Hazel: That sounds a little bit grand! *laughter*

So, my job is with Historic Environment Scotland. In project management and policy review. There’s a lot of going out and speaking, letting people know about what we’re doing. Or at least there has been that element of talks over the course of the projects that we’re doing. As well as facilitating workshops, and that kind of public interaction.

On top of that, I get asked to talk about Hidden Door fairly regularly. More so over the last two years. For example, I do an annual talk for students of the Festival & Events Management course at Edinburgh Napier University.

It’s experiences like these that make the process of getting up in front of a very friendly bunch - which the CreativeMornings Edinburgh crowd definitely are - very easy.

Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷 


Audrey: We were are all very excited to see you! 

Hazel: Yeah, it was great! The reception was wonderful. It was a very stimulating environment to be invited into. Lot’s of interested people, and at that time in the morning there were some very interesting faces as well… everybody seemed a lot more awake than I was!

Audrey: We’re always really keen - even from the queuing, on our way in!

Hazel: Oh yeah, that queue!

Audrey: It was amazing. Early risers, all so eager to see you!

Hazel: It was crazy! Awesome… Good queue CMEdi! *laughter*

Audrey: Yeah, that was pretty special! Good queue folks!

Was that at all what you were expecting? Even just in general - the people, the vibe?

Hazel: There were probably more people there than I expected, which is good!

With the vibe, I didn’t know what to expect - but it was so much warmer than I could have expected. I know that sounds like quite an undefinable thing… I expected it to be a group of interesting people, but I wasn’t really sure why, or how much, they would want to hear about Hidden Door. But, actually, they were all super, super interested from the word go.

The sea of faces was a very warm and receptive one, so it was all even better than I had expected. It was a particularly welcoming environment. 

Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷


Audrey: So, that was your first time at CreativeMornings?

Hazel: It was! And with the added bonus of being able to hang-back and hang-out with members of the community, after the talk.

Audrey: Oh, that was so lovely. It meant a lot to us all!

So, looking from the outside in, before you’d been to the event, what was your impression of CreativeMornings Edinburgh?

Hazel: It was really good! I don’t think you could improve the way you convey the real nature of the events and community. You facilitated enough information for me to go and look up what the event might look like. Seeing the photos of previous events, and the way that this is all connected to a much wider, international group of talks. There was a lot of great information available so I could ready myself!

Audrey: So, when you were up on that stage in that moment - you’ve already said that there were lots of happy, smiling faces looking back at you. How did you feel? Did you feel like you were all of a sudden part of a community?

Hazel: I would say I felt like I was speaking to a community, which I could readily become a part of when I join at more events. I absolutely intend to come to them in future!

But, the “speaking to a community” absolutely didn’t change the fact that I felt welcome. I felt a part of it.

An interesting thing for me, when I’m giving a talk, is that it’s almost form of performance isn’t it? So, there’s possibly a line drawn; but that’s my own line that I’m drawing, rather than one that was drawn by somebody else, for me.

Audrey: And, now, you’re not up on the stage. You’re a part of the community… we feel that!

Hazel: Oh, I have made made to feel that, too. Absolutely!

Certainly, being invited to join everyone for coffee afterwards, the newsletters that I now have signed up to and get - it also helps that I work with Chloé, one of your organising team members! And Chloe is an absolute Diamond of a person!

I would definitely say it’s something I feel I am now a part of. 

Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷


Audrey: Were there any special moments during your morning with us? Perhaps even interactions or things that came about as a result that stand out to you?

Hazel: Oh yes. The interactions on the day, with yourself included. Everybody was so welcoming! Briana, Alex, and you. And, the chap on camera and audio…

Audrey: Oh, Callum!

Hazel: Yes, he was great. He had to come and hook me up for the microphone, and test. But he did it in a very natural way.

When I’m doing presentations, one thing that can freak me out is being mic’d up. Not because I don’t like being amplified, it’s because of the idea that I might break the equipment, or it might go wrong. Because, you can be fairly confident about what you’re saying, but to roll with the punches of the technological failures is something that everybody is perhaps a bit more concerned about.

So, he made that whole process really easy. Which is nice. It might seem like a small thing, but, you know… going in, as the first thing in your morning, that was - for me - quite an important part.

Also, the coffee! Absolutely important! Then, afterwards, quite a few people stayed back to talk to me, ask questions, and chat about the content of the talk. One or two potential opportunities potentially, also, came out of it.

Overall, it’s so very worthwhile. Oh, and! I got invited to do Creative Circles, about a month later. And Morvern [the organiser] was really upfront - she said “Off the back of your talk, would you mind coming and doing another talk!” She’s fantastic.

Audrey: That’s fab! So, would it be right to guess that you might recommend others join in at CreativeMornings?

Hazel: Yes. Hands-down, definitely. As a speaker, and more generally as part of the community. I can’t wait to get more involved.

Audrey: Were there any other highlights to the experience of the morning?

Hazel: That venue was a really nice environment for taking part. In the number of times that I’ve been to the Fruitmarket Gallery, it was nice to go there and feel like I was actually contributing something, as well as going there and looking at all of the other amazing stuff that everyone else is always doing.

These are very important spaces, for people to go, learn, and see things. I felt like I was a part of that - on this particular morning, especially.

Audrey: That’s a very interesting way of looking at it. When we do a talk in a museum or gallery, recognising that it all of a sudden becomes a contributor to the space. Not just a sense of being visitors. That’s really special.

Hazel: Along with breakfast. It was amazing! Everyone was just really going for it.

Audrey: Oh yeah, those mini breakfast taco-bowls and beautiful cakes, they were flying off the tables! Thank you Homespun Kitchen!

Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷


Hazel: There was also the ice-breaker activity. With the theme of ‘Chaos’, everyone took someone else’s name badge, going on to either find the owner of the badge or become who they imagined them to be. That was really, really fun.

Thanks to Alex for coming up with that idea, and getting me to contribute in on it. I can imagine there’s a lot of fun to be had when you create ice-breakers like that for different themes and speakers!

Audrey: Something that we see after events, related to the more personal level for individuals, is a shift in perspective. About creativity, community, and themselves. Related to that, how did you walk away feeling, after spending the morning with us?

Hazel: That’s a really interesting question actually. I think I always find that preparing a talk does focus your mind slightly. Now, the theme obviously means that you’re writing it with an angle, perhaps. Or, a steer. But, with what we’d just come out of with Hidden Door, has been a huge period of uncertainty - and I hadn’t given a presentation or talk since the festival in May 2018. Usually I give tours and presentations during the festival, but we came out of that festival with quite a lot of debt - despite it being hugely successful. This meant we had leapt straight into fundraising, right after.

So, being able to almost press pause on that train of thought, and look over all of the previous years’ successes, and challenges; all of it together was a really nice way of resetting myself, and my approach to the organisation. We’ve been in emergency mode. To be able to talk and, I guess, reignite my own enthusiasm for the project - that preparing of the presentation was actually quite meditative. A really good opportunity for me to stop and go “You know what? Yeah. Of course. This is why we do this.” It doesn’t matter that we had to go out and find funding.

Being right in the middle of the ‘Save Hidden Door’ fundraising campaign in September 2018, when doing the CreativeMornings Edinburgh talk, was pretty much the beginning of when we were having to sit down and figure it all out. So, it was good.

It reignited my optimism, because it felt familiar. It was nice to be able to talk about something we had been working on for 5 years, and frame it in a way that said “This is a really special and important thing to me” and, as it turns out, to a lot of other people, too.

Audrey: Quite a few members of your team came along, with you. Did that make it seem like a team day? A kind of celebration, and reflection?

Hazel: I didn’t put it on them to come along, so it was incredibly lovely to have them there. Although, it did heighten my fear that I would say something wrong about their areas of expertise at Hidden Door! *laughter*

Within our team, everyone one is so skilled and dedicated, and has a lot of autonomy over the different things that they do. For example, I don’t do any of the content.

But, no, it was so nice that they came along. That’s one of the nice things about Hidden Door; we are very supportive of each other’s endeavours. I did say to them “Please do come, by all means! But, can you sit at the back? So I don’t have to look at you?” *laughter* That is one of the few things when I’m giving a talk… what will make me a little bit nervous is when there’s people I know really, really well in the audience. It’s the only thing that can really rattle me!

Nevertheless, a particularly lovely thing was that some of our events volunteers came along, as well as members of the core team. These were volunteers who had just done stewarding shifts at the festival, along with some people who had asked if they could be involved in future, so they could learn more about it. And, we had people come along who had worked with Hidden Door in previous years.

While I knew, with some confidence, that I’d see hands go up in the air when I asked “Who in the room knows Hidden Door, or has been to Hidden Door?”, I was overwhelmed at just how many hands would go up in the air. It was lovely to see those familiar faces, and catch-up with a few folk that I hadn’t seen in a while.

Audrey: It sounds like you have a fundamental understanding of that special vibe we find so hard to describe, in the context of CreativeMornings. Sure, Hidden Door has a different cycle in time, and magnitude per occurrence, but it has that ‘special something’. You’ve done that. You’ve got people giving their time, and wanting to see you again.

Hazel: Yeah, absolutely. There’s something that, whenever we get a new influx of volunteer stewards - there will be brand new people, but there also will be people who said “my friend can’t come this year, but they said I should definitely come and do it, because they had such a good time previously.” or something like that. And then, you have the people that keep coming back.

And, when you really look at it, what we’re asking people to do is invigilate artwork, or steward drunk people. They get perks, and hopefully get a lot out of it. We try and work it so that they do. But, we’re asking something of them, and yet they come back! I’m always just a bit like “Wow! I can’t believe you’re here again!”, and it does remind you that people are good. People are really good!

There are people out there who just like doing something because it’s a good idea. Rather than necessarily thinking “oh well, what am I going to get out of this?”. Sure, they might get some free tickets, but, in the grand scheme of things, their time is so valuable. I’m always very aware and appreciative of that. 

Photography by Suzanne Heffron 📷


Audrey: Do you have any messages you would like to send out to the CreativeMornings community, local and global?

Hazel: I would love to send out my thanks. Thank you for thinking of me, inviting me to contribute to your community and space. It was such a beautiful experience.

Also, for the opportunity to shout about the work we were doing specifically around the fundraising. The awareness raising of the festival and organisation is great. It looks big and shiny from the outside, so to be able to talk people through how it actually happens - that it is all volunteer run - is no small thing. Thank you for that, as well. 

Thank you so much to Hazel for taking the time to catch-up with us, and for sharing these incredibly valuable behind-the-scenes insights!

If you’re in Edinburgh between 30th May and 2nd of June, 2019, make sure to make time to head on down to Hidden Door, at Leith Theatre! There’s visual art and performances, both filling and surrounding the venue, all free for you to explore. As well as a mind-blowing array of night-time performances, for which tickets are flying off the digital shelves - grab yours on their website at hiddendoorblog.org/tickets/

If you can’t be there this year, cure the FOMO by following them on instagram @HiddenDoorArts, on Twitter @HiddenDoorArts, and on Facebook @HiddenDoor 📲🎨

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