Next Edinburgh speaker

Jannica Honey

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October 26, 8:15am • Codebase • part of a series on Honesty

#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, 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:

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

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.

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 

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 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 

 #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!

At our May event, after Maryam Ghaffari stirred up our souls with her talk on the global theme of #CMCommitment, we had two community minutes speakers sharing some wonderful opportunities to get involved in creative initiatives!

In case you missed them, or just need a little reminder of the details, here’s a quick recap!

1/ Indie Book & Zine Fair Edinburgh - Call for Creative Contributors

The organisers of Edinburgh’s Indie Book & Zine Fair are looking for people who create DIY publications (e.g small press indie books, animated zines, poetry pamphlets etc) to take part in their next event! 

“It’s a grassroots event which has come about from a love of homemade print publications and the idea of connecting like-minded people in person.”

Taking place at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh, on 21 July 2018, the event will be a great opportunity for independent literature creators and appreciators alike to connect, share, and celebrate the featured expressive mediums. 

If this looks like something you’d love to get involved with, get in touch with event team member Rosalind at - and to keep up to date with the event as it takes shape, follow the latest happenings on facebook @tangiblebooks and/or Twitter @tangible_books 

2/ Real Talk - Social Enterprise Calling for Volunteers

As a social enterprise dedicated to mental health storytelling, Real Talk provides the much needed space for all individuals to speak openly about, and listen to, mental health experiences. 

Since the initiative’s founding days, it has gained stellar support, building a positive community of “courageous speakers and curious audience members”. As the success and growth continues, the Real Talk project are now looking to add 3 volunteers to the team. 

To apply or find out more information about this wonderful opportunity, get in touch at 

To keep up with the latest on the Real Talk project’s events, and community sharing, you can follow on facebook @RealTalkStorytelling or Twitter at @RealTalkStories 

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 or our Facebook Page.

#CMGame Community Minutes

At our April event, after an awesome talk by Caitlin Goodale on the theme of #CMGame, we had three community minutes speakers. In case you missed them, or just need a little reminder of the details, here’s a quick recap!

1/ Our Linen stories – Upcoming Exhibition

Photography by Ellie Morag 📷

Coming to Custom Lane in Leith, from 5th-26th May, is the Our Linen Stories touring exhibition!

“Showcasing twelve contemporary designers and a new design commission, Our Linen Stories celebrates the most sustainable of textiles, Linen.”

Curated by #CMEdi community member John Ennis, the Leith leg of the tour includes several events, including artist talks, storytelling, and workshops. It also marks the official launch of the 2018 exhibition before it heads off on the rest of the tour, travelling through Scotland, then onwards to Northern Ireland and the Netherlands!

For full exhibition details head over to - and follow all of the exhibition activities on twitter @OurLinenStories!

2/ Anna Stoltzmann – Seeking Exhibition Space

Photography by Ellie Morag 📷

Our second community minutes speaker, Anna, is on the hunt for the perfect space to host her mixed-medium exhibition, which will include:

- Two performance projections.

- Three large-scale landscape prints.

- Workshops and live performance.  

The ideal space will be within her budget of £400, and available for 10-14 days at the end of June/early-mid July. So, if you have the space, and would welcome Anna’s exhibition with open arms, get in touch at

3/  Voxsio – Recruitment Call to Smart Techies!

Photography by Ellie Morag 📷

Edinburgh based tech start-up, Voxsio, is looking for smart, tech-savvy individuals to come join their team! In the early stages of development, and already finding great success, it’s a great time to get involved.

“Focusing on specific domains of knowledge, Voxsio’s Conversational Search unlocks valuable information. Using machine learning to create expert agents that help people resolve complex enquiries.”

If it sounds like the right opportunity for you - or someone you know - check out their website at, and get in touch with the team at

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 or our Facebook Page.

#CMEdi People: Col McElwaine

At our March 2018 event we got to share with you our brand new #CMEdiCups, designed by the legendary Col McElwaine!As well as being a talented designer and illustrator, Col is a long-time member of the CreativeMornings/EDI community - making the launch of our new cups just that extra bit special 💙

After the event, we took the opportunity to interview the legend himself, getting to know little bit more about his creative inspirations, processes, and more. 

Photography by our very own Ellie Morag 📸 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am an Australian designer and illustrator who only recently made the move over to the UK. I have been living and working in Edinburgh for last few months getting to know the city and some of the legends that live here.

How did you first find out about CreativeMornings? And, which chapter was it that you first went along to?

I think I heard about Creative Mornings just though word of mouth, and went along to my first Creative Mornings event in Brisbane back in Australia.
What made you decide to first come along to CreativeMornings Edinburgh? 

We had just arrived in Edinburgh a few weeks earlier and I was really keen to check it out and find out more about the creative community in Scotland.

  What attracted you to get involved in collaborating with the chapter on cup designs? 

I try to get along to as many events that I can, but obviously some months can get pretty hectic so I cant always make it. I think it is important to support community run events like this and to contribute where you can. So I let Alex know that I was keen to do some work together.

What was your inspiration? 

 One of my favorite things about travelling is coming across all the different regional slang. Scotland might be the best place in the world for it. When I first saw the “You look braw today” on the last cups I loved it. It is such a good bit of slang I had to letter it. 

What’s your usual morning routine?

I try to wake up pretty early, have a coffee, read the news, cruise down to the canals have another coffee and map my day out and then I will usually be ready to start work.

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

It was the first CM night event I have been to, there was a really different set of speakers which made it an interesting event. 

Photography by our very own Ellie Morag 📸

What is your creative calling?

I guess I like to make things that make everything else just a little bit easier. Whether it’s design or illustration the goal is to effectively make someones day better, whether that means making something better than before or just a little more fun to do.

What or who inspires you?

This is kind of cheesy but at the moment I am kind of obsessed with creative couples. My partner is a film maker and we have done a few projects together but I have it in my head that we are going to be Charles and Ray Eames some day or Jay and Bey or whatever. So her and that.

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

I kind of think creativity fills a gap that you leave space for. Allow yourself to be bored sometimes as well as actively dedicating some time to make new stuff. 

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?

There is way too many to name but I burn through a ton of time on and I feel like they have been my consistent stayers.
What do you do to take care of your creative soul?

I don’t know if I do? I have a pretty bad habit of trying to cram as much that is possible into any given day, which I don’t think is really good for my creative soul, or maybe it is?  

Thank you so much Col for sharing insights into your creative life! If you spot Col at our next event, be sure to say hello - and don’t forget to check out his #Braw creations!