Next Edinburgh speaker

Matt Fountain

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October 27, 8:30am • City Art Centre • part of a series on Pioneer

CMedi People: Chris Muir

For the next in our series of #CMedi People blog posts, we’re very excited to introduce you all digitally to CreativeMornings Edinburgh community member, Chris Muir!

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I’m a copywriter. I love what I do.

I get paid to, effectively, learn on behalf of my clients. Unless I understand what the problem is, I can’t work out how to fix it.

I also lecture one-day-a-week at Edinburgh Napier University on the MSc in Creative Advertising.

And I’m passionate about keeping things just as simple as they need to be. But not at the expense of being interesting. For example, which of the following statements is more memorable?

“Women don’t get the recognition they deserve.”


“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. Only she did it backwards and in high heels.”

I’ve also got quite a bit of experience, as I’ve been doing it for quite a long time (see below). 


2. Why did you decide to come along to our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event last month?

I come along to almost every event that’s run by CreativeMornings. It’s a great way to be inspired and catch up with what people are up to. And it’s a great place for students to meet people who are already working in the industry.

3. How did you find out about CreativeMornings?

I honestly can’t remember. Maybe through Twitter? Alex has been an amazing driving force, along with the rest of the team. When people put that much love into something, it feels wrong to not come along and join in.

4. What is your usual morning routine? 

I don’t really have one. It depends on what I’m doing that particular day. Or how late I worked the night before. My life tends to just fit in around whatever I have to do. I have more of a night routine. I’ll keep going until I finish whatever I need to finish. And I enjoy a walk after I’m done. Lucky then that I enjoy the solitude of the small hours.

5. What did you like best about our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event in July? Do you remember it?

I thought Kara’s talk was really inspiring. I’m currently working with two gender pay equality groups (Kerning the Gap in London and Ladies Wine Design in Edinburgh), so Kara’s insights and knowledge were really useful. It’s encouraging to see another young woman with the confidence and belief to stand up for what is right. 

6. What is your creative calling?

Using big ideas to make people a) notice the message and b) do something as a result. The older I get the more I work with voluntary and charitable groups to help them spread their messages and raise funds. 

7. What or who inspires you?

This could be quite a long list. 

Buckle up. (In no particular order) here goes:

Dave Trott, Dave Dye, Vicki Maguire, Juliette Forrest, Alan MacCuish, Tom Richards, Spike Milligan, Dr Seuss, Adrian Jeffery, Vikki Ross, Tiger Savage, Frank Budgen, Sir John Hegarty, David Abbott, Alex Holder, Peter Cook, Paul Arden, Tony Brignull, Alexandra Taylor, Susie Henry, Andy McLeod, Paul Bruke, Margaret Calvert, Sanam Petri, Dave Droga, Hollie Newton, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Jim Al-Khalili, Malcolm Gladwell, Alex Humphry-Baker, Elmore Leonard, Jim Downie, Keshia Thomas. 

I discover new people who inspire me almost every day. 

And my students. That’s the most rewarding part of teaching - their ideas and their enthusiasm are infectious. 

8. Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources that you’d recommend to others?

Dave Trott’s blog -  a weekly dose of brutally smart thinking, wrapped up in a story you’ll easily remember (clever, that).

Dave Dye’s blog - an astonishing online resource for all creatives. Dave takes you from the brief to the finished ads, showing you the warts-and-all journey. He’s also just digitised all his notebooks - giving you insight into 20+ years of creative genius. 

Podcasts - they’re free and you can fit them in almost anywhere. Revisionist History, Hidden Brian, 99% Invisible, This American Life, Unfictional. 

D&AD annuals - I inhale these on an almost unhealthy scale.

D&AD website

As an extra - I’d also like to share five ads below that show a level of thinking that inspires me. See what you think!


9. How do you take care of your creative soul?

I go for walks. Late at night, headphones on, podcast loaded up. I’ll walk for around an hour before going to bed most evenings. I live by the sea, so it’s a lovely walk. I’ve seen the Aurora Borealis, 300 Spanish people having a rave on the beach at 3am and some amazing star vistas on my strolls. Walking is an amazing way to recharge yourself physically and mentally.

I also (thanks to being old) now know when to knock work on the head and go and do something less boring instead. Your subconscious mind is the real power you have. Fill your brain with all the information you have. Think about the problem until your head hurts. And then go and do something entirely different. 

Trying to force a solution when your brain isn’t ready is the least efficient way to do anything. But having the confidence, when deadlines are looming, to know that walking away is the best thing you can do, is hard to learn. The sooner you learn it, the happier you’ll be.

Also, remember that we’re not coming up with a cure for cancer. Learn to have some perspective about what we do for a living. Collaborate on projects. Work with people whose work you admire. Do some good in the world. 


A huge thank you to Chris for taking the time to share more about himself with us, and for being an inspirational community member himself! Don’t forget to say hi if you see him on Friday at our next CreativeMornings Edinburgh event. Remember to book online through our website before Friday, places go quick! 

If you’d like the opportunity to introduce yourself to the CreativeMornings Community digitally via our #CMedi People blog, catch up with Cilla or Ellie (our crew members) at our event on Friday and they’ll be able to hook you up. We look forward to seeing you all very soon. Two sleeps and counting. 

Photography by Ellie Morag. 

CreativeMornings Edinburgh: August Reminiscing 

Guest blog post from CreativeMornings Edinburgh community member, Audrey Barnes.

Not so long ago, I was introduced to the wild and inspiring world of CreativeMornings, via an Instagram post on the topic of #Equality. I soon discovered that equality was a theme, setting the broad focus for a vast, and open, community that lay beyond this single post. A community which connects 175 cities around the world… and counting. After reading the initiative’s manifesto, concluding in the lines “We bring together people who are driven by passion and purpose, confident that they will inspire one another, and inspire change in neighborhoods and cities around the world. Everyone is welcome.”, I was excited to discover more. Finally, on Friday the 25th of August, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend my very first Creative Mornings event, here in our fair city of Edinburgh.

Last month, the event took place in the University of Edinburgh’s Appleton Tower, at the heart of the city, still buzzing with the spirit of Edinburgh’s festival season. With this month’s theme of #Genius, a word which evokes mental images of the likes of Elon Musk, Jimi Hendrix, and Zadie Smith, there was an air of excited anticipation amongst the attendees, curious to discover what genius is at work within Edinburgh’s creative community. And, I’m pleased to say, the guest speaker of the day did not disappoint…

Sashana Souza Zanella, one half of Edinburgh Food Studio’s founding duo, welcomed us to her talk with an inspirational discussion on the evolution of Genius as a human concept, journeying through time from Greek and Roman philosophers, through the Renaissance, all the way to John Cleese’s theories on creative genius. A fast, yet eloquent introduction, which revealed Souza’s own creative influences to be drawn from a diverse network of sources, and implemented in her work with both dedication and humorous flair.

A young chef, anthropologist, and entrepreneur from Montreal, Souza and her partner, Ben Reade, met whilst studying at the internationally renowned University of Gastronomic Sciences, in Piedmont, Italy. Some time after graduating, bringing their over 25 years of combined culinary experience, they made the move to Edinburgh in pursuit of building their own successful restaurant. However, as Souza pointed out, a significant barrier of limited finances was met before they were ready to open their doors to business, and they were forced to make tough decisions regarding the future of the venture. In a true display of creative daring and dedication, they decided to go all in on launching an even larger concept, as a Food Studio and as a Kickstarter campaign, instead of “turning it into a little cafe as it was, or something…”

Since the campaign launch two years ago, on the 7th of September 2015, they have long surpassed their £10,000 goal, receiving over £17,000 from 228 backers – all in time to launch their studio only two months later, in November of 2015. Going beyond the more traditional restaurant or food institute models, Souza and Reade’s Food studio draws individuals from around the world, to partake in all manner of food related discovery. From research and sharing of production and preparation techniques, to artistic service and dining.

The most inspiring element of Souza’s talk, however, was the lack of self-congratulations (although the vision of her and her partner is very much worthy), and the all-out celebration of individuals who have collaborated in bringing the Edinburgh Food Studio concept to life, with their time, money, craft, and custom. She shared a motivating vision of the work she dedicates herself to, as a product of community, continuous improvement, and open innovation.

Throughout the rest of her talk, Souza shared pictures, anecdotes, and bios of the individuals who have travelled from around the world to collaborate with her and her team within the Food Studio.  A fantastic portrait of a culinary haven, blending bohemian artistry and a studious dedication to scientific techniques, that bridges the gap between international gastronomy elites and everyday lovers of all things delicious. She demonstrates that creative genius often requires more than the ability to come up with great ideas, but the ability to convey your vision to a wider community of inspired folks, and motivate them to get on board with that vision by celebrating all that each individual contributes in their participation… as well as having the guts to put your big dreams out for all to see!

To finish off the wonderful morning, Larah Bross gave a brief but – entirely engaging – introduction to her business, Bross Bagels. Hailing from Quebec, Canada, she is the founder of Portobello’s newly opened Bakery and Bagel shop, bringing the tastes and techniques of Montreal’s Jewish deli’s to Scottish shores. Yet another daring and adventurous food industry entrepreneur, she not only provided all of us at Creative Mornings Edinburgh with a tasty bagel breakfast, but also gave a further example of how having the guts to run with a creative idea can become a genius venture. Now nearing a month since their doors opened to customers, they are already attracting much attention and praise.

In fact, my own mother decided to pop on by for her birthday lunch on the 1st of September, and ended up sharing company with local foodies, young and old, local police officers, and several tourists, all customers eager to try the pumpernickel, cinnamon raisin, and many other bagel varieties on offer. My Mom’s review of the baked goods? “Five stars… We’ll definitely be back! Delicious!”

You can find more about the Edinburgh Food studio on their website, here – and don’t forget to sign up to their newsletter, so you can keep up to date on what great chefs and events will be hosted next. They also run a beautiful instagram account @EdFoodStudio, which will be enough to make your taste buds ready to pop on by for one of their 7-course banquets.

Bross Bagels also has a fun and tasty instgram account @Bross_Bagels, and you can find Bross Bagels at 186 Portobello High Street, Edinburgh – take my Mother’s word for it, it’s worth a trip on over!

Creative Mornings have now launched their theme for September, which will be, “Compassion”. I can’t wait to see who the guest speaker will be, and to get busy with sharing some #CMCompassion inspiration with the Creative Mornings community. If you would like to come along to the events, they are free to attend, and tickets are available on their website. If you’re not in Edinburgh, don’t worry, they take place in over the world… find your nearest chapter here!

Photography by Ellie Morag.

CMedi People: Denise Strohsahl 

Over the next few months, we will be trialling an exciting new blog series called #CMedi People. This is our way of sharing the love and introducing you all digitally to the wonderful people who make up our CreativeMornings Edinburgh community.

First up is Denise Strohsahl from sandstonecastles in Edinburgh.


Denise, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself?

“I’m originally from Germany. In 2010, I sold my car and most of my belongings, got rid of my flat and quit my job as creative director – and moved to Edinburgh. I arrived here with two suitcases and a backpack and registered as a freelancer the very next day. Haven’t looked back once.”

What made you decide to come along to our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event last month?

“Since CreativeMornings Edinburgh had re-started in March, I was always busy with work on the last Friday of the month. In July, I finally managed to keep the day free. And the topic of Equality was a big draw for me, too!”

How did you find out about CreativeMornings? 

“Honestly, I don’t remember. Probably via Twitter. I only remember that I went to the very first one here in Edinburgh, at Summerhall. And I enjoyed it so much, it quickly became a fixed part of my schedule.” 

What’s your usual morning routine?

“Tea. Lots of it. I usually check the news and my social media feeds while slowly (!) waking up.”

What did you like best about our July event?

“Apart from the topic, I was quite excited to see the co-working space at The Melting Pot. I always wanted to check it out but somehow never managed. Loved it!”

What is your creative calling? 

“Copywriting. I am a marketing consultant now, helping other sole traders and small business owners to promote their products. But I still create campaigns and write copy for my clients. I couldn’t do without it!”

What or who inspires you? 

“I’m completely useless when it comes to drawing or any kind of visual creativity. (I couldn’t hold a candle to a bunch of four-year-olds armed with crayons and paper!). So, people who can turn a few simple lines into a work of art and express so much without using a single word fascinate me. I find that very inspiring!”

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources? 

  • Creative Boom is great for creatives and freelancers in general. 
  • From a marketing point of view, Naomi Dunford from Ittybiz is always a great read. The focus of her blog has changed a bit over the years but it’s still great, down-to-earth advice. 
  • And nothing is better than having Tom Fishburne’s cartoons to put the crazy marketing world into perspective.
  • Apart from that, social media is so full of ideas and creative people, I take a lot of inspiration from that as well.

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

“That’s a tough one… I guess what keeps me sane is a mix of switching off and mingling with other creatives. I relax reading loads of books and watching movies as well as TV shows. Additionally, I try to surround myself with other freelancers, be that in real life or online. For example, I share an office with two other copywriters in a house full of creatives. I also follow a lot of blogs and connect with people on social media or at events like CreativeMornings.” 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, Denise. We really enjoyed meeting you and learning more!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Denise and her work, you can get in touch with her online here.


For those of you who would like an opportunity to take part in our #CMedi People blog series, come along to our next CreativeMornings Edinburgh event and find either of our team members Cilla Richards (Head of Social) or Ellie Morag (Photographer) and they’ll be able to hook you up.

We hope you enjoyed the first in many #CMedi People blog posts to come, and we look forward to seeing you at our next CreativeMornings Edinburgh event on Friday, 25 August 2017.

Photographer of the month: Chris Milne

Our SOUND talk will Nick Stewart will be documented by Chris Milne, a photographer and designer based in Edinburgh.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Chris Milne, 22, a recent graduate of Creative Computing at Edinburgh Napier. Since graduating I have been on a placement in Norway, travelled throughout a few of the Nordic countries and early next year I will move to Copenhagen, a city where I went on exchange, to complete another study and work on an exciting start up till the summer. I have been involved in the Edinburgh freelance and entrepreneurial scene for a few years now and it has been a catalyst towards my continual interest in pursuing creative projects.

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

My Dad has been interested in photography for a long time and when I was 12 – I received one of his old cameras: an Olympus CZ730 bridge camera and just over a year later I bought my first SLR, a Nikon D50. I did a lot of photography as a hobby of many different subjects and it transitioned towards a freelance business in my last year of high school.

What subjects are you most drawn to?

I spend a lot of time in other countries whether for school, work or just my general interest in travelling. I love to photograph everywhere I go and I wouldn’t say I have any preferred subjects but I do a lot of candid, music and event photography.

What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment? 

I inherited an old manual focus Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AI-s and it is my favourite lens to shoot on just now. I enjoy using a prime because it encourages you to focus on internal creativity as opposed to zooming in and out. It also uses a manual aperture ring and it has an aesthetically pleasing look with the metal barrel. I like to shoot fully manually as I work a lot on my photographs in Lightroom, recently making a preset which I used on a lot of my photographs from Norway and Iceland that brought out the beauty of the scenes.

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?

Instagram is one of my favourites, mainly for travel purposes and also for the variety of techniques and visual styles people use to display their photography.

I’m a big fan of the creative networking bodies around Edinburgh – CreativeMornings, Creative Edinburgh, ESAF; me and my friend Katherine also started up Sandbox who are also on the scene.

Closer to home though, my personal network and the people I know are my favourite creative resource – we discuss ideas, share interesting links and take interest in each other’s skills and I think that is wholly important to a creative lifestyle.

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

I’m going to go for a recent one – I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for a long time and I had heard about the aircraft wreckage on the black sands. So on the Saturday morning with two awesome guys from Texas we drove in convoy before sunrise to go there. After an hours drive through the pitch black we arrived at the parking to begin the 4km walk in freezing temperatures with passing showers on a flat plain which offered little protection.  When were arriving there, it was just us and a Ukranian guy who caught up with us and we were the first five there so I decided to put on my ND filter and shoot some long exposures with the frequently changing sky. I hadn’t realised until I went to edit the photo later that the Ukranian traveller appeared as a ghostly figure in one of my shots which I thought was quite fitting since the crew members of the aircraft had walked away from it when it crashed over forty years ago.


Instagram: @chrismilnecreates

Can’t believe two years have gone so fast! Share your thoughts on your local chapter to help us make it even better for next year - and get put into a cheeky prize draw for a £50.00 voucher! (go on your chances are high as only the few take on surveys 🙃) 

Fill in Survey 

Our Transparency event with Radim Malinic is documented by Suzanne Heffron, a freelance photographer based in Edinburgh.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an Edinburgh based photographer with a background in arts and events management. I first studied photography when I left school before returning to it full time a few years ago.

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

I always liked taking photographs but a talk at an ECA open day when I was 17 made me consider it more seriously.

What subjects are you most drawn to?


What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment?

I’ve just got myself a Fuji X-T1; it’s more compact than most of my other gear and means I can have it with me all the time.

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?

British Journal of Photography; Wallpaper Magazine; Guardian Online photography section

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

This has always been one of my favourite images from a recent project working with dancers. Despite a session fraught with technical difficulties everyone involved persisted and this was one of the final shots from the day – always a good reminder to not give up!

Our “Magic” event was documented by Peter McNally. Peter is a documentary photographer and film-maker based in Glasgow, Scotland. He provides individuals, businesses, organisations and photo editors with high quality visual imagery to tell stories of people, places and events. 

Visit Peter’s website to find our more about his beautiful work and read on to find our more about his passion for photography.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a documentary and portrait photographer based out of Glasgow. I have worked extensively in music and politics in Scotland and Scandinavia, following both musicians and politicians during their work. Most notably of late I worked with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over 20 months on several different campaigns. I apply my documentary style to everything I do, be it commercial work, editorial or even portrait work.

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?
I don’t remember actually. Curiosity most likely. I picked up a camera at a very early age and I have been at it ever since. I taught myself entirely on an old 35mm russian film camera.

What subjects are you most drawn to?
I am mostly drawn to people and their expressions. By that I mean the way they move and react in front of a camera or how they behave when they either don’t know you are there or forget you are there. A camera affords you an intimate view of a subject that you wouldn’t really get otherwise.

What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment?
Right now it’s the Ricoh GR. A tiny but powerful digital point and shoot camera that as far as I can tell is a bit of a well kept secret in the photography world. I have been downsizing my gear for years now to see how little I can get away with. When you get near full bleed double page spreads published with pictures taken on a point and shoot you realise that what gear you have doesn’t always matter.    

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources? 
I’m a magazine junkie but not particularly photography magazines. I don’t seek out inspiration for photography like blogs or anything like that. I’m more interested in typface, layout and design. The only photography magazine that I really loved was Once Magazine which was an iPad only publication and did long and beautiful photo essays. Sadly, they finished publishing a while back.

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

My photograph of Nicola Sturgeon facing the audience on stage at The Hydro in Glasgow is one of my favourites purely because it’s quite dramatic. I tend to prefer an understated image. Something subtle. This is far from it and I like it because of that. Also I had around 10 second to get the shot and I had all the stage lights pointing directly at me from all angles. My experience shooting rock and pop concerts kicked in and I set up the shot in my head before I went out to get it. It’s also one of those shots you can’t ever do again so you have to nail it first time. That’s always fun.

Creative Edinburgh Awards 2016!

Entries are now open for the Creative Edinburgh Awards 2016!

Enter for free before Mon 10 October 5pm:

Let’s Shoal together

Shoal is a new kind of co-working. Membership gives you a community of people to work with and places to work from.Host a Shoal at your place or join a Shoal somewhere else. We make it safe and simple to co-work with likeminded people from anywhere.


Looking for studio mates!

Jamie Adams is looking for new studio mates to join him at recently open Coworking space in Sciennes. For more details visit:

Effectiveness Week

Interested in creating a culture of marketing effectiveness? Join the DMA and IPA at Effectiveness Week for a session on how effectiveness in marketing thrives when tech, creativity and data come together.This DMA/IPA collaboration explores the creation and promotion of a real effectiveness culture. For more, visit:


This October HERE + NOW will be delivering a series of FREE guided walking and cycling tours exploring some of Edinburgh’s brilliant local community, growing and arts projects!

These tours will stop in at community growing or arts projects that received a seat as part of the #SpaceToSit event earlier in the summer, with speakers giving an overview of projects along the route.  These include Summerhall, The Rust Garden, The Grove Garden at Harrison Park, the Wikihouse at Tollcross Primary School, Wauchope Community Garden, and St Margaret’s House.

Visit for more. 

One of our key objectives is to celebrate local creative talent. Every month we work with a local photographer and ask them to document our events. Our June event, BROKEN, with Akiko Kobayashi in June was captured by award winning graphic, editorial and digital designer, Adam Wilson. 

Visit Adam’s website to find our more about his beautiful work and read on to find our more about his passion for photography. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m actually a senior designer here at Whitespace where today’s event was held. I’ve lived and worked in Edinburgh for 11 years now. Originally thought I’m from the north east of England, this is where I studied Graphic Design, specifically newspaper and magazine design. I always knew I wanted to pursue a creative career, and at this time my college was really well connected in London which seemed to offer a world of opportunity for young designers.

 What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

I’d spent a lot of time editing other photographers work, as this would ultimately end up in my editorial design work. Just looking at the technical information embedded into the files themselves got me sort of hooked, I didn’t know what an F stop was, or the faintest clue how ISO worked but I had this information to work back from. I knew how to do post production on images way before I could take a picture. Following some money I won through a Threadless Tshirt print, I decided to buy my first Nikon D40 and shortly after that my first Sigma Prime lens.

 What subjects are you most drawn to?

As a designer I’m always more interested in what you leave that makes an image rather than what you put in. Whether it’s food, people, travel, scenery, I’m always trying to find a way to simplify the image. I take pictures of what comes my way, I try not to plan too much.

 What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment? 

I stripped it way back a few years ago. I now just have a Fuji X-pro1, a 35mm and 18mm lenses. Honestly a simple leather wrist strap is one of the best things over bought, purely for the reason this stops me visibly having a camera round my neck. People aren’t too bothered when you sneak in a quick picture this way, you get away with a lot more when you don’t look like a photographer.

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?

Picture wise I still trawl Flickr, Instagram, and VSCO. I get more design inspiration from It’s Nice That and Deezen. Tech wise I get a lot from The Verge and WIRED. More than anything recently though I’ve been enjoying a lot of the shows to come with the chanel Viceland. The series Huang’s World written, presented, and produced by Eddie Huang has been the most informative programme about food, travel, politics and much more I’ve seen. Its inspired a certain wanderlust.

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

This is actually a photo from my 30th birthday. Many pictures came out of that night but this particular one of myself and my Dad is one of my most cherished pictures. Its one of the last pictures we have together. He looks so dapper in this too, but he did at every party.

My friend Laura took this on her phone… I’ve thanked her countless times for capturing it.

This month we’re trying something new because we really believe in diversity and equality. Perhaps you’ve never been been on stage in front of a large audience or you’re not sure how to take the leap into public speaking? Together with #upfront, we’re inviting you to share the stage with Akiko Kobayashi.

#upfront is forcing stages around the world to be more diverse and accessible by inviting audience members to share the stage during the talk. Those on the stage don’t say any more than any other audience member would, and of course Akiko will be there to facilitate and you’ll meet her before hand. The last time Lauren Currie was upfront she shared her stage with nine other people who all had their different reasons for wanting to push themselves out their comfort zone.

Up for it? Email us at to claim a seat on the #upfront couch. Places are limited.