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#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!   

#CMEdi Community Minutes - March 2018!

At this month’s event, after a fantastic talk by Roan Lavery of FreeAgent on the theme of #CMCourage, we had two community minutes speakers. In case you missed them, or just need a little reminder of the details, here’s a quick recap!

1/ The Edinburgh Tool Library - Job Opportunity!

Edinburgh Tool Library is the UK’s first tool library, promoting sharing as a way of reducing our environmental impact. Lending members tools for DIY, gardening, decorating and machine repair, so that they don’t need to own them, not only does this collaborative approach make sense environmentally, it also helps members financially!

This month, they were awarded Climate Challenge Fund money by Keep Scotland Beautiful, to continue expanding the Edinburgh Tool Library and bringing tools and great workshops to more communities across Edinburgh. To support the expansion of these projects, they’re now looking for a Project Manager to join the team!

If this sounds like the initiative, project, team, and role of your dreams (or a friend’s!), get in touch with the Edinburgh Tool Library team for more information  - contact details available here!  

2/ Tribe Women Enterprise School

Tribe Women is a nurturing community of enterprising women, challenging the culture of business to the benefit of society as a whole.

Tribe Women is a pilot, supported by the Scottish Government and the RBS Skills and Opportunities fund. Participants will join a network of like-minded women and take part in a series of workshops and events designed to develop the skills, tools and mindsets needed for personal and professional fulfilment and success.

Who is it for?

Tribe Women is founded on the core values of ambition, self-awareness, positivity, collaboration and connection, vulnerability, bravery and authenticity. If you share these values, want to start or grow a business, and want the support of a strong and inspiring network of other women, then Tribe Women is for you.

Please don’t forget the online application deadline is the 27th March.

Follow Tribe Women on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates!

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: Emily Horgan

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 making our community so wonderful.

 Extending this meeting place into the virtual space, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to one such inspirational #CMEdi community member, Emily Horgan.  

Photograph of Emily Horgan by Ellie Morag

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Emily, I’m 24 and I’m working as a User Experience Designer for Bemo, a digital agency based in Codebase. I’m originally from Ireland, but moved to Edinburgh over a year ago after finishing a degree in Computer Science.

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

I attend Creative Mornings pretty much every month - it’s part of my routine and it’s something I genuinely look forward to. The diversity of people who attend and the topics covered are always so interesting and I feel like it’s the perfect way to start my last Friday of the month.

How did you find out about CreativeMornings?

When I moved here I worked with Alex, the founder of CMEdinburgh, and she suggested that I attend. I’m so glad I did. When you move somewhere new, it can be difficult to settle or find people who you connect with. Creative Mornings made meeting like minded people really easy.

What’s your usual morning routine?

On weekdays, I get up, listen to music and wander around my house a bit. I make breakfast (porridge, banana, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon EVERY time - you can have that recipe for free) and I walk to work, which is so brilliant to clear my head. I stop off in Social Bite on Rose Street every morning for a coffee and get to work around 8:30am.

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

I love the way the speakers interpret the themes every month. It shows how perspective and context can make such an impact on how people perceive things. The last event I attended had a theme of Death. Amy Hardie, the documentary director, spoke about her experiences of death, dreams and the power of the mind. It was so engaging and different to anything I had ever heard before. I think I told everyone I spoke to that day about it.

What is your creative calling?

I think my creative calling is finding ways to make people’s day to day lives better. I fundamentally believe that creativity can be found anywhere, in any profession, past-time or person. And I also believe that we can harness that creativity to create social change that works for everyone, particularly the more vulnerable people in our society. Some of the best people I know are using creative, person centered approaches in different industries and are making massive, positive changes in people’s lives.

What or who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who are authentic and passionate, who refuse to settle for what they believe is wrong and who strive to make things better for themselves and for others.

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

I think it’s important to remember the distinction between creativity for work and creativity for the sake of it. I absolutely love working in a creative industry, but I always make time for a seperate, unconstrained creative outlet. It can be quite jading creating art or design in a work environment if you expect to be completely creatively fulfilled by it. Acknowledging that separation and having a place to be free to express your creativity in an unbounded way is really important.  

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?

I use websites like Pinterest and Medium when I’m looking for design inspiration for work, I read a lot of non-fiction which helps broaden my perspectives, and I listen to a tonne of music to get a creative flow going. But honestly, my favourite creative resources are my friends - a lot of my main inspiration and ‘a-ha’ moments comes from chatting to people who challenge the way I think and give me insights I would never have considered before.

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

While I do a lot of different things to take care of my creative soul, I think the best thing anyone can do is to meet new people as often as you feel comfortable with. Having a decent conversation with a new person challenges your mind and perceptions in a way that nothing else really can. It’s also a good reminder of how interesting you are as a person to other people, even if you don’t believe it yourself.

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

An International #CMEdi Birthday!

Since our epic 3rd Birthday celebrations last month, the birthday wishes from the Global CreativeMornings community have kept coming. It’s all been a wonderful reminder of how wide-reaching and supportive this community that we are part of truly is…

All the way from Mexico, the CMTijuana chapter sent us this video, wishing us a “¡Feliz 3er cumpleaños!”


Two of the newest chapters to join the CM global community also rallied together to make sure they sent us Happy Birthday wishes. Welcome to the community #CMCluj of Romania, and #CMOrangeCounty in California 💙



The CMEdi birthday got even more international during our celebratory event when we got to meet two very special international guests! Catching up with them over the delicious birthday cake and refreshments, we learned a little more about their journey to Edinburgh, and love for the CreativeMornings community!

“Yu-Tung Chen” – Photography by Ellie Morag

Visiting from Taiwan, Yu-Tung Chen first joined the CreativeMornings global community at her home chapter #CMTaipei. Currently in Edinburgh whilst on a student exchange programme to the University of Edinburgh, she came along to our CMEdi January event to expand her creative network and reunite with the CM community on the other side of the world!

“Milda” – Photography by Ellie Morag

After attending #CMVilnius in Lithuania for many years, Milda recently moved to Scotland, and her visit to our January celebrations was the perfect way to reconnect. We got to catch up with Milda after the event, and find out a little bit more about what’s kept her love for this global creative community alive! 

What first attracted you to join CreativeMornings Vilnius?

As a creative person, sometimes I find it difficult to start a productive day from early morning. An idea to be inspired as soon as you get from bed sounded more than exciting. Also, coffee and snacks was pretty good attraction as well. Usually it’s hard to find some time for that in a daily rush. Overall it’s like a better version of your ideal morning pleasure of scrolling through your favourite media channels to get updated and inspired.

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

I think the most amazing thing is the ability to be among like-minded people no matter where you are.

 What was your favourite part about the CreativeMornings Edinburgh birthday event?

The general atmosphere. I came to this event alone but definitely didn’t feel lonely. I had a great time meeting new people and enjoyed the speakers very much. Also, I liked the interactive part with little notes what we are anxious about. That little act was freeing indeed!


So, no matter where you’re from, where you’re at, or where you’re going, always remember - everyone is creative, and the Global CreativeMornings community is for us all!

 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 Edinburgh! We’re all about strengthening those connections, and we may even reach out to discover more about your adventures 🗺️

Here’s to another wonderful year of creative events, all as part of this special global CreativeMornings community! 

3rd Birthday Reminiscing

At CreativeMornings/EDI, our January event was special one indeed… we turned 3! That’s 37 early starts and speakers, over 2960 coffees served, 5 panic stricken moments of missed alarms, 52 stolen sharpies and a growing family of over 1300 members!

Photography by Ellie Morag

And what a grand affair it was. We had four incredible speakers, two musical acts, and delicious bagels, cake, gin, and beer - all enjoyed within the stunning Assembly Roxy, in the heart of our fair city.

All the fun was coordinated under the CreativeMornings global theme of the month, #CMAnxiety, which felt pretty appropriate as each of our team members were called to speak on stage, at least once. With over 160 #CMEdi community members watching, this was totally new for some of us  - Anxiety indeed.  

Our first speaker, introduced by team photographer Ellie, was Marco Bevilacqua a.k.a. Want Some Studios, an award winning illustrator with over seven years experience working with international clients in editorial, advertising and television. From the start of his talk, Marco got real with us all. Anorexia and anxiety had creeped it’s way into his life at the age of 22, turning him into a shell of his former self, which he could barely recognise. Standing before us on that stage was an individual who had battled an irrational internal voice, using his art to find true expression and, ultimately, reforge himself to be stronger than ever before.

“Art and expression as a child have no inhibitions, there’s no right or wrong. Then, adulthood strikes. We lose connection to art, the analysis of self… that emotional outsourcing from head to page… “

Photography by Ellie Morag

“Art provides metaphors for us to visualise emotions. Re-engage with art.. Am I expecting everyone to go out and yell ‘it’s ok, go be crazy’? To experience miraculous re-connections with long lost fathers? No. But, you can accept yourself.”

To see all of Marco’s fantastic work, head on over to his website, and keep up his creative initiative PissedModernism which “is about making Art and Politics accessible to everyone.”

Introduced by our team’s operations wrangler, Alex, the next speaker was Niamh KcKeown, a talented young writer and director. Since graduating from Edinburgh Napier University last year, her graduate film ‘Good Girls’ has screened at ESFF, Underwire and, most recently, Flickerfest in Australia. Niamh’s latest short ‘Farmland’ was shortlisted for BAFTA Rocliffe new writing competition and is due to be shot and produced later this year.

Despite her inspiring accomplishments, Niamh has worked through some serious life anxiety and self-doubt, “I’m kinda like a loser… but also a film-maker, a porter, an artist… faking it until I make it, at least.” Reflecting on her own anxieties, she gave us a glimpse into the reality of creative process, with the distinct cocktail of chaos, passion, fear, doubt, and loneliness it can bring. All the while, a question looming in the background, “… but when do you actually ‘make it’?” Attempting to answer this question alone, the internal anxious artist responds with only more questions and worry “Maybe I should wait 10 years until I’m ‘good enough’? What even is good enough? Do I have what it takes? DOES MY MUM EVEN LOVE ME?”

Niamh’s fantastic character and comedic timing had us all laughing, in that special way that says “We know exactly what you’re talking about.” From this reflection, however, came some wise words for us all as we face the future, chasing our creative dreams and aspirations.

“The worst mistake I make is trying to ‘lone-wolf’ it - not letting people help me until it’s too late. I need feedback, even if I don’t want it! ”

Photography by Ellie Morag

So, go out there and remember you are never alone in dealing with your anxiety, or finding that next vital dose of inspiration! The creative community awaits!

Follow all of the amazing things Niamh is getting up to on twitter @KeownMcNiamh and instagram @KeownMcNiamh

The third speaker of the night, introduced by our operations wrangler Chloe, was Matilda Mayne. Starting off a little differently, she gave us all some instructions in subtle, dulcet tones…

“Place your hand behind your head, and pull your head down. Relax the muscle around your shoulders… your arms… and allow the muscles in your face to slowly open up. Breathe. Take yourself just to the edge of discomfort.

Bring your mind back to your breathe… back inside your body. Open your eyes.”

Photography by Ellie Morag

As a performance psychology coach who loves to work with pioneers, inventors and boundary-pushers, Matilda’s work and life have given her an appreciation for anxiety - “Anxiety is an urge to get back to comfort, which means we’re missing out, a lot.”  Aided by the practice of Yin-yoga, Matilda has found ways to help individuals face anxiety and stress, with purpose, not only getting to the root of causes, but helping them tap into “a learning ground, and strategies to deal with chaos and adversity.”

“Next time you experience anxiety or fear on some level, remember to stop and tune into yourself.”

Follow Matilda on instagram @Mayne_Psychology - and get in touch! She’d love to hear from you 📬

CreativeMornings/EDI’s Speaker Coach extraordinaire, Briana, introduced our final speaker of the night, Niall Dolan, the CEO of the John Byrne Award. As the leader of an organisation which aims to provide a platform for young creatives to express themselves, and their values, Niall extended this goal to our event, inviting the talented young sculpture, and former John Byrne Award winner, Robert McCormick to share the stage.

Photography by Ellie Morag

In a time of great social and political anxiety, the voices of young people often go without full recognition or respect - despite their role as ultimate inheritors of all we create. As Niall explains, the John Byrne Award seeks to raise these young voices, allowing them to communicate what they truly value, through artistic mediums. The results are truly inspiring, expressing thoughtfulness, concern, and perspectives which not only warrant greater inclusion of young people in public conversations, but also more compassionate investment in dialogue, generally.

To find out more about the John Byrne Award, head on over to their website, and follow them on instagram at @TheJohnByrneAward

Finishing our #CMAnxiety set for the night, team videographer Tao welcomed Wendy McAuslan to the stage. With her magical voice and acoustic guitar skills, this Edinburgh based singer and songwriter overcame performance anxiety to play us out.. And boy were we glad she did. Wendy left us in collective awe, sending us off in a distinctly un-anxious state of inspiration. 

Photography by Ellie Morag

To keep up with Wendy and listen in on her lovely tunes, you can follow her on soundcloud, facebook, and instagram @WMcAuslanMusic

Throughout our 3rd birthday bash, it was a joy to look around and see a full house, surrounded by memories of the last 3 years of hard work, inspiration, and community. Our host and founder Alex took the stage to chart the key moments that have shaped the chapter, including a weather bomb, a brexit wake, a team retreat, and a killer event that put Edinburgh on The CreativeMornings global map. What a journey it’s been!

So here’s to another fantastic year of CreativeMorningS/EDI events, and all that we stand for as a (growing) creative community:

- Build & grow place for connection. Breaking down silos between disciplines is number one on our local chapter’s agenda. We’re bent on growing a safe and welcoming place for our community and providing a hot bed for ideas. Let’s show the world that Edinburgh is a creative city, 12 months a year.

- A program that inspires by example. We strive for a diverse program of speakers; upholding a gender balanced lineup but also having a healthy representation of different ethnic background and beliefs. Our speakers are real people, doing real work, telling real stories. They make inspiration tangible - when you see someone up there that looks like you, or says out loud what you’re thinking it gives us strength  to someday make the leap for ourselves..

- Relish the ambiguity of the word “creative”. No matter what life you lead or what your passion may be, creativity is involved in it all. Whether your art can be found on an easel, a workbench, a garden, a page of code, a way of thinking, or a nurtured organisational culture… you are creative, and great inspiration can be found in the many facets of it all.  

We were so humbled to have you all here with us on our birthday, at our biggest event yet! The best part? We have so much more yet to come!

Shout out to all who joined us, with special thanks to our sponsors, Eastern Exhibit, FreeAgent, Amiqus, Cello Signal, Orbit, Designit, The Edinburgh Beer Factory, Pickering’s Gin, The Homespun Kitchen, and Bross Bagels - all of you made this wonderful night possible 💙   

Last month, in December 2017, the global CreativeMornings community was united in discussion on the them of Context. We saw this theme being taken in so many interesting directions by our 180 chapters.

 At CreativeMornings Dusseldorf, guest speaker Franz Schuier spoke of his experiences filming at the SISP Kovalam Skate & Surf Club, the Second Chance club, bringing fun and education to members of marginalised communities in Kovalam, India. He spoke of capturing the context, both with its rich culture, and its positive evolution, as opportunities are brought to the people.

CreativeMornings Palermo saw architect and urban planning researcher Davide Leone exploring how games played in social spaces reveal the heritage and culture from which each city context has sprung – thus providing creative inspiration for development, to enhance community connection.


Photo by CMPMO 

 Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker, joined CreativeMornings Lexington, discussing the power of words to build context, transforming meaning, and our perceptions of images, messages, symbols, and each other.

Here at CreativeMornings Edinburgh, we were joined by Rob Cawston, the Head of Digital Media for National Museums Scotland (NMS), where he uses digital tools and content to connect audiences to the museum and its collections.


Photograph by Ellie Morag

In his talk, Rob set us on a journey through museums, galleries, and public spaces, showing the layers of context surrounding each object on display. Given varied experiences and systems of meaning for each individual visitor, interpretations are highly subjective – something which Rob and his co-workers must take into consideration throughout their work.

An additional element of these considerations is the preferred manner of engagement for audiences, which - in our increasingly digitised world – has undergone significant transformation in recent years. New technologies have changed the way we encounter, participate in, and understand our contexts, and those who shape our treasured social spaces, such as museums and galleries, have been hard at work to keep up with the times.

Here are just some of the many ways museum and gallery innovators around the world are reconceptualising spaces for the digital age, providing a wealth of creative inspiration for context and interaction design…

Museum of Ice Cream:


Capturing our thirst for instagramable moments and settings, the Museum of Ice Cream has become somewhat of an icon. It demonstrates the changing ways in which we interact with our environments and, thus, the ever-increasing power of social-media friendly spaces to drive engagement.    

British Museum tweets:


To draw the awareness and interest of potential museum-goers, telling the stories of objects and exhibitions has always been key. In this digital age, extending storytelling into our online social spaces has been vital, and institutions such as the British Museum have been getting in on the action. Sharing photos and videos, with carefully chosen words to set the context, a global audience finds new intrigue in history.

Smithsonian Centre for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA):


“The Learning Lab is one of SCLDA’s next generation of tools designed to make access to and the use of Smithsonian digital assets for learning easier and more effective. Through the Learning Lab and other projects, SCLDA is committed to advancing the use of the Smithsonian’s digital assets in ways that shape the future of learning.

Guided by the Smithsonian’s mission of the increase and diffusion of knowledge, SCLDA was established to re-imagine and ultimately reinvent the way students, teachers, and lifelong learners interact with and use the Smithsonian’s resources in the 21st century. Recognizing most will never visit Smithsonian museums, SCLDA set out to identify how it might best enrich education by making Smithsonian experts and collections accessible to everyone regardless of where they live.”

Virtual Reality - Exhibits Without Borders:

An increasing number of galleries and museums are recognising the value of VR technology, providing widened access, and drawing new crowds:

The Smithsonian art museum dove into VR at their Renwick Gallery, with Intel’s help – “It’s a glimpse at how virtual reality can let anyone explore distant museums.” 


The Franklin Institute: Virtual Reality at the Musem – “Discover the hidden beauty of the deep sea, fly to the farthest reaches of outer space, take a ride through the complex inner-workings of the human body, and more.”


The Kremer Museum: Exclusively VR Exhibitions – “Using VR technology, visitors will be able to examine the artworks’ surface and colors up-close, as well as view the reverse of the paintings to explore each work’s unique stamps of provenance.”


 - Google Arts & Culture App: 9 Virtual Reality Tours You’ll Love – “…take a virtual tour of the street art scene in Rome; step inside a creation by famous street artist, Insa; or even travel 2,500 years back in time and look around the ancient Greek temple of Zeus.”


In his work, Rob Cawston is busy bringing all this inspiration – and more – into the continuous development of our museums, here in Scotland. As he states, “museums are not for the objects alone…”, they provide an important civic space. Thus, he and his colleagues are working not just to bring exhibits to audiences online, but also to enhance existing physical spaces, ensuring improved accessibility, learning, and community engagement.


Photograph by Ellie Morag

To keep up with Rob, follow him on Twitter at @Cawston and keep an eye on his blog on the official National Museums Scotland website.