Posts Tagged ‘arts’

ONS Featured Magazines: Amelia’s Magazine

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

amelia's magazine
(Photo credit)

What is it?

Amelia’s Magazine was printed biannually for 5 years from 2004-2009 across 10 issues, but it is now an online publication described as “the place to come for exclusive articles on the best underground creative projects in the worlds of art, fashion, music, illustration, photography, craft and design.” Amelia is a passionate promoter of all things creative and has been working for ten years to bring brilliant, original content to both print media and the interwebs.

Why feature it?

We’re rapidly approaching the 10-year anniversary of the creation of Amelia’s Magazine. And to mark this auspicious occasion, founder Amelia Gregory wants to do something super special. Enter the Amelia’s Magazine Kickstarter: an exciting campaign to produce a truly beautiful, ambitious and one of a kind print book featuring artworks, writing and, well… magic. Here’s the campaign video to give you a taste:

Why should I back this?

OK, for one, it’s going to be an amazingly beautiful book and I know that I, for one, want to have one of these babies on my bookshelf. Two, for your money you get to help create a publication that will promote the work of artists and writers at every stage of their careers — and a linked three, you’ll get to discover many brand new exciting names you might not otherwise have come across. Four, Christmas is a-comin’ and if you’re anything like me you know about a million people who’d just love to have something like this to unwrap when Santa visits them. And a not-unimportant five, if this book comes into being, it will contain at least one of my poems! Is that in itself not reason enough? *pauses to buff nails*

What should I pledge?

I am a great believer that no individual should ever feel pressured into giving up their money, so you should give whatever you can afford to give. It might be that that is not money: if you’re trying to choose between backing this Kickstarter and making sure you pay rent this month, then stop trying! However, if you can’t afford to give you can still support Amelia and her amazing book by sharing the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or any of your other networks.
If you can afford to give, then hooray! You should definitely check out the rewards Amelia is offering for the various pledge options. I was blown away by how generous they are — your average Kickstarter-er is far too keen to offer only symbolic rewards, in my humble opinion! Amelia’s are far from that: for a mere £20, for example, you get a free copy of the book delivered to your door before Christmas!

How can I find out more?

First and foremost, watch the video and read the information on the Kickstarter page. But also, make sure you check out the project’s hashtag, #TWWDNU (that which we do not understand, the theme of the book). On that hashtag you can get a sneak peek at some of the amazing work being produced by visual artists to help make this publication extra-specially-gorgeous. You can also use the hashtag to spread the word about why people should pledge to back this great project.

So what are you waiting for! Go give!

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Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Students! Graduates! Show what you owe!

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Edinburgh University: McEwan Hall
My alma mater^. (Photo credit)

I was really interested in – and shocked by – this recent xoJane article in which young folks across the pond share the extent of their debts, and talk a little about how they accumulated them. I think that encouraging discussion about this issue is really important – too many students shoulder too much debt in this day and age, and too many struggle alone without any real idea of how to deal with the massive financial responsibilities they’re lumbered with. The article showed me that the UK clearly has less of a student debt problem than the US – but with cuts to service provision (especially in FE) coupled with massive fee hikes (thanks, Dave and George, Alex and Mike!), that may be set to change.

The xoJane article encourages other young people to get in on the conversation and share their own debt, be it the result of student loans or personal purchases… so here goes.

Edinburgh McEwan Hall
I graduated here^! (Photo credit)

My MA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh was barely government funded at all. As a Scottish student, I was fees-free and graduate-endowment-free – something I am eternally grateful to the devolved Scottish government for. I still needed to pay my living costs – including buying a shit ton of books as I astutely picked a little-taken-up English Literature & Scottish Literature joint honours – so naturally, I applied for a student loan. My parents’ joint income was assessed, and found to be within the “maximum” threshold, meaning that my loan would be in the “minimum” threshold (NB: though my ‘rents have a decent standard of living, they are by no means Lord and Lady Ponsonby-Smythe). That meant that in my first year, I got roughly £700 on loan. That’s for the whole year.
As a result, I worked my butt off to earn money to survive. In term-time I had a weeknight job as a housekeeper and nanny to a ten-year-old boy. This was hard work, and the lady of the house was pretty unpleasant to me. But I definitely bonded with the boy I was looking after, and the job kept me really, really fit – entertaining a sport-crazy ten year old and cleaning a posh Edinburgh townhouse from top to bottom? Better than dieting, trust me.

The nanny job ran out in the Spring, and I started working for a market research call centre that some of my flatmates did ad-hoc shifts for. The work was infrequent and the pay was horrendous, but it was that rare thing: an easy-going call centre. You could wear whatever you liked, take breaks whenever you wanted, and there were only targets to meet on certain projects. Over the summer I also signed on to a temp agency and was immediately allocated permanent, near-full-time work as a legal secretary (how times have changed!). I hated every minute, but it was food money.

For the final three years of my degree my parents were supporting two kids at Uni – my sister headed to study in England the year after I started. My loan was oh-so-generously upped by about £200 in response to this. During this time I still worked way over the 15 hours per week recommended by the University. I held down a job as a telephonist for the local authority’s Social Care department, took on the odd project at the call centre, and did at least ten hours a week of freelance one-to-one tutoring in English, Creative Writing and Drama. I also lived in dirt-cheap accommodation that was probably, according to government guidelines about square footage per person, ‘overcrowded.’ (I didn’t care. After a disastrous attempt to live in a conventional student flat, I loved both the dirt-cheap places I ended up in.)

George Square Theatre
The lovely library^. (Photo credit)

Things picked up after my undergrad, but I was lucky – I just about squeaked into postgraduate employment as the heavy door of recession was closing on the UK economy. I started teaching Higher English at Edinburgh’s Telford College, covering a staff member who was off on long-term sick leave. The job paid more per hour than I’d ever dreamed of in my house-cleaning, ten-year-old-wrangling, cold-calling days, but it was constantly in jeopardy – the staff member I was covering might come back any day and take her classes back. Happily, I got more hours, and then an actual real contract, and then permanency. At the same time as this job appeared, I moved into a Masters in Creative Writing, still at the University of Edinburgh. I was awarded a scholarship for my Masters that covered all my fees. Lucky, lucky, lucky. I am still so grateful to the Universe for handing me this stuff.

I graduated from my Masters in the midst of a pretty hectic and quite dark time for my mental health, which was probably what accounted for the borderline-crazy decision to go straight into a full-time PhD (still at the University of Edinburgh) without a break. Thanks to my funk, I didn’t do much in the way of funding applications (the few I did fill out were summarily rejected anyway. It’s creative writing, after all). What I did do was have a great conversation with my parents, during which they gave me the choice: we’ll pay for your some-day wedding, or we’ll pay for your PhD. You pick. It was a total no brainer.

I’m now nearing the end of my PhD and – real-time read out!—have the following debts:

Student loan: roughly £3,000. Thanks to my lovely job, I’ve already started paying it back.
Personal debt: My PhD has cost £3,000 per year. In spite of our agreement, I do still feel like I owe my parents this £9,000 – if not more, in fact, as they always stepped in to help me out whenever I was stuck during my undergrad years. I also have credit card debt of roughly £1,200. This has just gradually crept up and up over the years, but I am managing it.
Total debt: £13,200

McEwan Hall + Kebab Mahal
Thank you, beautiful Edinburgh^. (Photo credit)

This is absolutely nothing – certainly compared to some of the people at xoJane and to some of my peers. My sister went to an English university and as a result, has more debt than this solely from her undergrad degree. I have peers who graduated at the same time as me, or just after, who still haven’t found full time or permanent employment. Over in the xoJane comments there are a lot of people giving thanks for their situation, and I definitely need to get in on that act. First, and most importantly, I am so utterly grateful to my parents for that amazing ‘wedding or PhD?’ conversation (I mean, really, is there even a choice there?!), for always being there to help me out with life’s scary gas bill moments, and for always trusting my vision, even when I came up with ideas like “I’m going to study for eight consecutive years without stopping!” I also have to thank Scotland for being a fantastic place to study during the mid-naughties. Particularly I have to thank Edinburgh, for being a tiny, walkable city with mega-cheap housing options (if you’re willing to live in a hippie commune with a mad, deaf cat!) and plenty of student-friendly cafes, thrift stores and free outdoor activities! I have to thank the friends and flatmates who’ve come and gone over the years… and my employer. Thanks, no-longer-Telford. I can has proper grown up job!

So. What do YOU owe…?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Call for submissions: ‘Starry Rhymes: 85 Years of Allen Ginsberg’

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

As you may already know, I am a huge Beat Generation enthusiast and I am particularly interested in the poet Allen Ginsberg. Friday 3rd June this year would have been Ginsberg’s 85th birthday, and I would really like to do something to mark the occasion.

Taking inspiration from Rob Mackenzie’s excellent ‘Norman MacCaig at the GRV‘ centenary event, I would like to gather a bunch of poets together who’d be willing to write a poem (of any style, form, and — within reason — length) inspired by Ginsberg. Each poet will be given a different poem by the great man himself, and asked to write a response to that poem (no prior knowledge of Ginsberg’s work required!). The climax of the project will be twofold.

Firstly, I’ll gather together all of the response poems, and publish them in a limited run (probably 100 or 150, depending on the number of poets) of handmade chapbooks (via my Read This Press micropress). Poets involved will each receive one free copy of this publication (entitled Starry Rhymes, after AG’s 1997 poem of the same name).

Secondly, I have booked out the Forest Hall (the space above Edinburgh literary landmark, the Forest Cafe) for the evening of 3rd June for the chapbook launch. I am hoping to screen archive footage of Ginsberg, play some recordings of the great man reading, invite academics and creatives to come and speak about Ginsberg’s life, work and influence, and to host performances by some of the poets whose work appears in the chapbook. There may also be live music/other delights. Poets who read at this event will be able to sell books/CDs/other merch — the event will be free but donations will be requested.

If you would like to be involved in the project, let me know asap by emailing claire@onenightstanzas.com and I will send you your mystery Ginsberg poem to respond to (sorry, I’m making it a rule that you can’t pick your own — otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d get 25 ‘Howl’ responses! But if the poem I choose for you is really not to your taste, let me know). Once responses are in, my editorial team (currently TBC) and I will select the poems that will make it into the chapbook, and let you know asap.

We’re looking for a diverse mix of writers for this project, so we’re happy to hear from spoken word and performance poets, visual and concrete poets and sound poets as well as those who write in more ‘traditional’ forms and styles. All are welcome to submit, so please do get in touch.

Deadline for final submission of responses: Sunday 8th May.

Let me know asap if you’d like to be involved, or if you have any queries! claire@onenightstanzas.com, as always!

(Image)

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this collection FRIENDLY POETRY SLAM: the fallout

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Cat Dean
Slam virgin Cat Dean wows the slam crowd at the Banshee Labyrinth.

I’ll admit – I was worried about how this event might go down. My aims for the slam were manifold. Firstly, I wanted to drag a few more “page” poets (i.e., poets who are normally more at home publishing in journals and books, and reading at traditional stand up readings) kicking and screaming into the performance scene – mainly to show them that hey, it’s really not that different or scary and look, there’s good poetry to be found here. Secondly, I wanted to get the message across to the performance crowd (although they do tend to be more receptive to stuff outside their own field of literary experience) that page poets can be fun, and that they can – sometimes, at least – perform. Mostly, I wanted to try and narrow the divide that – in spite of the best efforts of fabulous folk like Jenny Lindsay, who has been organising very open and approachable performance events for years – still stubbornly exists between page and stage in the Scottish poetry community.

As I say, this was by no means the first friendly slam that’s ever taken place. Indeed, I’m proud of the fact that Scotland seems to be at the forefront of new and innovative thinking when it comes to slamming and other performance poetry events. Over the past few years there have been one or two “sotto voce” or “quiet” slams about the place – the now-sadly-defunct VoxBox held a “quiet” slam specifically for page poets, and the Scottish Poetry Library also did a sotto slam in 2009, which yours truly here somehow managed to win. Working in this tradition, I wanted to further mess around with the traditional slam format, and by doing so, I hoped to chip away at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the phenomenon.

The main difference was in the scoring of the poems. I’m defiantly against the “traditional” slam scoring method, which involves the audience getting involved in rating each poet. In the US, where slams are always well-attended and often patronised by folk who are not either a) poets or b) friends of poets, I can see how this system could work… but in Scotland, where almost everyone in the crowd is a friend/enemy/editor/publisher/workshop buddy/love interest of at least one of the performers, it makes for skewed results. The poet with the most mates wins, to put it simply. The other traditional slam scoring option is the use of a judging panel. But this was a this collection event, and this collection is very much anti-hierarchy, anti-quality-control, anti-curation. To gather a panel of “esteemed judges” for the poets to impress was really not our style.

Instead, we decided to let the poets score each other. Each poet received a personalised score-card, which bore the names of all the poets performing, except for their own – so they could not award points for their own performance. Scores were out of 30 (10 for content, 10 for delivery, and 10 for that individual’s particular “overall opinion”), and recorded at the end of every poet’s performance. At the end of each round, all the scorecards were collected up and the scores anonymously tallied. Poets with high scores progressed through the ranks; poets with lower scores fell by the wayside – but everything was on a democratic, peer-review basis, and thanks to the wide variety of poets performing, we were confident that there would be little-to-no bias.

The scoring system did throw up some issues. Most obviously, it was a logistical nightmare. It wasn’t until I received the first batch of scores at the end of the first round that I realised: I was going to have to add up sixteen sets of scores out of 30 for sixteen poets within fifteen minutes. In round one alone, poets were competing for up to 580 points… that’s a hell of a lot of adding up. Fortunately, I had the help of two glamorous calculator-wielding assistants (my poor, long-suffering flatmates), and we managed, but if I were organising another event of this type, a more simplistic scoring method would have to be devised!

Secondly, several of the poets told me afterwards that they’d found the quick-fire nature of the scoring rather tricky. With only about 30 seconds or so between poets, they had to make snap decisions about the numbers they entered for each. Some said they appreciated this – it prevented them from getting bogged down in thinking and re-thinking their decision, and it meant that their responses were instinctive. Others said they found the whole thing rather stressful, and would have liked a bit more time to reflect on what they’d heard in order to give a score that they felt was reasoned and fair. Next time, I just need to spraff a bit more between performers, I think!

Finally, a couple of people said afterwards that they felt the poets-only scoring left the audience a feeling a little bit surplus-to-requirements. I was really pleased with the enthusiasm the audience were willing to give for each performance in spite of it being quite a long night, but I did note that things cooled off a little in the middle. I’m now thinking that perhaps a compromise of some scoring being done via audience reaction and some done by just the poets may be an interesting avenue to explore.

Otherwise, I was really pleased with the outcome of the scoring experiment, and really interested to see how poets reacted to other performances. Some folk were clearly being very harsh across the board, with some poets scoring certain performances with a big fat zero and never venturing into figures much higher than 6. Others seemed more than happy to dish out perfect 10s across the board to poets they really liked, and – my favourite part of the adding-up process – many of the scorecards came back with doodles, marginalia or explanatory notes decorating their margins. Overall, scoring was extremely close. Numerous folk have noted in their feedback about the evening that poets like Andrew Philip and Dave Coates deserved to move up to the second round, and I agree on both counts. However, it was literally the odd mark here and there that separated 10th place from 11th and 11th from 12th, etc. It was almost too close to call in some cases, and at one point my glamorous assistants and I actually did a re-count to ensure that the right person was getting the correct score. Poets who came lower than they would have liked – or perhaps lower than some of those in attendance felt they deserved – will hopefully be ever-so-slightly placated by the fact that it really was very close indeed.

The main discussion taking place in the aftermath of the slam – and may I take this opportunity to say how happy I am that so much healthy discussion has been generated by the event – concerns the old chestnut of performance vs page. Who had more of an advantage on the night? Who in attendance counts as ‘page’, and who counts as ‘stage’? Did one camp score the other unfairly – was there a bias for or against either side? And so on and so forth. Personally, while I am watching these discussions with interest, and chipping in every so often (of course), I’m kind of sad to hear these questions being raised. As I said above, my aim for the evening was to temporarily erase – or at least blur – the dividing line that exists between page and performance poets; to see the two sides of the poetry world come together and yes, compete… but also to listen to and acknowledge each other. And it felt like this happened on the night itself. In many cases it was difficult to ascertain who belonged to which camp – over at Tonguefire, commenters are scrabbling to define poets like Alec Beattie (whose set was decidedly performance-esque, but read from a book and something of a departure from his usual work), Colin McGuire (a poet who performs with great gusto but who normally shies away from performance-heavy gigs and whose stuff works brilliantly on the page too) and Emily Dodd (a poetry slam virgin… but one who embraces audience participation). I think it’s only later that the feeling of never-the-twain-shall-meet has begun to slink back in, which perhaps is inevitable. For me, the night itself did exactly what I wanted it to: it picked up the traditional make-your-own-slam kit and gave it a bit of a shake, and it got page-folk and stage-folk up to the same mic, and forced them to rate (or, indeed, slate) one another… all of which involved everyone listening carefully to everyone else. The array of talent on show was refreshingly varied and – if you ask me – of excellent quality, and everyone seemed to have a damn good night. It might take a few more of these things before folk really start thinking differently about how poetry is performed and received in Scotland, but for now, I’m really quite pleased.

Responses to the this collection slam:

“A great learning experience for us novices and some wonderful poems and performers.” – Alec Beattie

“It was a great success, with consistent quality and entertainment, from a controlled crowd of temporary human beings and poets…I think there may be more this collection SLAM nights to come. I hope so. Let there be mic!” – McGuire (more here

“I loved that Claire did something new with slams, and particularly that the ‘friendly’ tag encouraged folks to take part who usually wouldn’t touch slam with a barge pole. A couple o the scores raised my eyebrows - but that’s always the case with competitions isn’t it?” – Jenny Lindsay

“stand-out poems of the evening were Colin McGuire’s “Wrap the children in white”, Mairi Campbell-Jack’s “The Book of Antonyms” and Stephen Welsh‘s newspaper poem in the last round. Colin’s poem set me in mind of some of Neruda’s work, with its combination of surreal imagination, incantatory impetus and political edge. Mairi’s poem seemed to me to mark a significant and exciting step forward in her writing, and I was really impressed with how well she read. Stephen had cut up a Sunday Herald report of the weekend’s protests in London and blanked out certain portions, creating a beautiful, strange, quirky, lyrical, powerful poem — perhaps not so much found poetry as released.

Hearing those poems alone would have made it a worthwhile evening, but there were others. I particularly enjoyed “Scotland as an Xbox Game” by Andrew C Ferguson — just the sort of witty, imaginative examination of the hame nation that appeals to me. Dave Coates also read good work but unfortunately joined me in the junkyard after the first round; that’s just the risk you run at these things. And I liked the sci-fi poem that Russell Jones read in the second round.” – Andrew Philip (more here)

“I know what you were trying to do [at the slam] and there is movement in that direction we can see in the quiet slams that have been held. It’s fair enough and I really liked the poet judge thing.” – Tickle McNicoll

“The night was an enjoyable one, though, holding a friendly atmosphere and quick pace that kept things interesting. If you didn’t like a poet you only had to put up with them for 2.5 minutes, much like my love life.” – Russell Jones (more here

You can find photos of the event here.

Anyone else want to offer feedback? If so, link me to your thoughts or drop a line to claire@onenightstanzas.com. All comments welcomed!

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this collection: FRIENDLY POETRY SLAM

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

this collection is throwing its first ever poetry slam — but forget what you’ve seen and heard before. This is not your usual slam: there will be no brownie points for shouting, no judges, and the poet with the most mates won’t win automatically. This is a friendly slam — all styles, personalities and poetics are welcome. See below…

The this collection friendly slam will take the following form:

ROUND ONE: all poets perform under a 2.5 minute time limit. You can do ANYTHING YOU LIKE with those 2.5 minutes — shout, rap, whisper, read off paper, read from memory, read one poem, read fifteen haiku, whatever.

ROUND TWO: the five poets with the lowest scores (see below) will be eliminated, and the remaining poets will perform again — same time limit, same rules.

FINAL: the three poets with the overall highest combined scores from both rounds (and possibly a wildcard) will slug it out in the final (3 minutes this time) for the title of this collection slam champion — and for our lovely prizes (see below).

SCORING: no scary judging panel, no howling audience whooping extra loud for their friends. Each poet will be scored by the other poets performing. Every poet gets a scorecard, and marks their fellow performers out of 30 (marks out of 10 for content, delivery and each scorer’s personal response). Scoring will be ANONYMOUS as scorecards will be collected and tallied by an adjudicator after each round. All poets — including finalists and eliminated poets — will give scores on all three rounds. Please note, poets can’t score themselves!

PRIZES:
1ST — £25, and a mystery prize pack (contents TBC!), plus the title of this collection slam champion!
2ND — £10, and a mystery prize pack
3RD — £5, and a mystery prize pack

PERFORMING ON THE NIGHT!
Stephen Welsh // Scottish Slam Champion 2011 Young Dawkins // Bram E Gieben // Fiona Lindsay // McGuire // Tickle McNicholl // Russell Jones // Mairi Campbell-Jack // Andrew C Fergusson // Andrew Philip // Alec Beattie // Dave Forbes // Sophia Walker // Chris Lindores // Cat Dean // Dave Coates

THIS COLLECTION ALL-WELCOME POETRY SLAM! Come and slam with us for a chance to win some cash!

Invite your friends to our Facebook event! Hope to see you there!

(Photo by Kyre Wood)

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this collection zine-making workshop: the results

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time will know that I am a huge fangirl of zines. From late 2007 to early 2010 I ran my own, Read This Magazine (currently in the process of being dismantled in order to make way for something new, by the way); I am a follower/subscriber of many other small independent literary zines (including The Letter Killeth — see work by Chris Lindores in their latest! — and Words Dance) and will always encourage others to follow my lead. About eighteen months ago I was gifted a huge stack of vintage music fanzines by local Edinburgh zinester and blogger, Nine. All of this somehow led to me leading a zine-making workshop at Tollcross Community Centre on behalf of this collection on Tuesday night.

I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along — not least my sister and Lovely Boyfriend who didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter. Thanks also to Sean Cartwright, Sue Steele, Julie Logan and Dave Forbes for your attendance and enthusiasm, and thanks of course to Stefanie Tan and everyone at TCC for the inspiration/organisation side of things.

Overall, the workshop was a massive success. I introduced six total zine virgins to a brand new artform, and we created seven beautiful Xeroxed and hand-bound creations to promote poetry, crafting, recycling and counter culture. It was such a success I might even run more! Give me a shout — poetry@thiscollection.org — if you’d be interested in such a thing. Some photos and a fab timelapse from the evening below…

Zinesters
Assembled zinesters: Steve, Dave, Sue, Julie, Sean, Stefa, Helen and myself.

Organ: Issue 42
Sean checks out some old 90s music fanzines for inspiration.

Zinesteristas
The cutting and sticking begins!

Steve's zine
Steve, aka Lovely Boyfriend, working on some (rather fabulous) blackout poems

My zine
My zine coming together — this collection needs you!

Dave's zine
Dave’s finished zine — complete with glitter!

Print media is dead: long live zines!

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this collection & Tollcross Community Centre: call for pitches!

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Edinburgh's Barclay Kirk from a wet bus

this collection are teaming up with the fantastic Tollcross Community Centre and their Adult Learning Programme, and throughout Spring 2011, we’ll have access to the centre’s space and resources for three days of every working week. We’re hoping that we can fill this time with exciting collaborative opportunities, providing a space for artists of all walks of life to come together to create and discuss under the umbrella of this collection.

And that’s where YOU come in. We are throwing open the doors to allow access to anyone who’d like to join us in organizing an activity for local artists and/or writers. We’re looking for people to:

– host workshops in anything from creative writing to sculpture
– lead meetings, panels or discussions in the space
– host and co-ordinate events (remember our poet/filmmaker speed-dating?)
– give readings, performances or recitals in the space
– use the space for anything and anything artistic, collaborative and creative!

What’re the conditions? We don’t ask for much in return. Only…

– that your event MUST be inspired by or related to the this collection project
(e.g. you could give a masterclass on writing poems of 100 words or less, host a filmmaking workshop to adapt some of our poems, get together and discuss the concept of community collaboration, etc)

Interested? We’re looking for suggestions, proposals and pitches, and nothing is too small, too big, too weird or too ordinary. If there’s something you think you’d like to organise and you like the sound of a totally free space, get in touch!

Stuff to bear in mind:

– your event can be one-off, or one of a series. Let us know what you’re planning, and we’ll do our best to accomodate you.
– some materials/resources we may be able to provide; others you may have to bring yourself. Again, let us know.
– the space is available from 10am to 8.45pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Want to use the whole day? No problem. Just want an hour or two? No problem. We can be flexible!
– the space is ours to use until at least the end of March, so if you’re busy for the next little while but still fancy doing something, fear not! We can fit you in!

Basically the message is, if you’re interested, GET IN TOUCH! We’d love to hear from you. We’re hoping to gather as many proposals as possible before the space is opened up to us, so if you’d like to be involved, drop us an informal line by 15th January and let us know what you’d like to do.

film@thiscollection.org
film@thiscollection.org
film@thiscollection.org

Get thinking, get emailing, and have a fantastic New Year!

PS: we will also be holding community meet-ups in the space on Friday nights, as of the middle of January — more on this soon! So if you want to talk to us about your thoughts for the project rather than emailing, drop us a line and we’ll let you know more!

PPS: A few T&Cs before we go…

this collection and the Tollcross Community Centre ask:
– that you take responsibility for the majority of the organisation and promotion of your event. this collection is anti-curatorial, which means we won’t do any of the tricky stuff for you, like making sure that people show up! We will, however, happily plug your event as widely as possible, put you in touch with helpful people if we know of any, and provide resources if we have them to hand.
– that, if you need to cancel your event for any reason, you let us and the venue know as soon as you possibly can, so we can try and give someone else your spot
– that you’ll credit any references to this collection in work that comes out of your time in the centre
– that you’ll allow the this collection crew to attend, promote, talk about and document your event if we want to
– that all work produced at your event is produced under creative commons (i.e. the artist retains the right to their work, but the work can be shown/referred to by this collection with their permission and with due credits)

(Photo by allybeag)

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Guest post by this collection: adapt our winter poems!

Thursday, December 16th, 2010


this collection is a non-profit collaborative arts project based in Edinburgh. It aims to bring artists from different walks of life together to work on projects inspired by the city. At present, this collection is focussing on an amalgamation of very short poems inspired by Edinburgh, and is working to find filmmakers of all ages and levels of experience to adapt these poems into short films. Find out more here.
As you’ll no doubt have noticed over the past few weeks, winter has now fully gripped Edinburgh, treating us to the heaviest snowfalls the city has seen for fifty years. Rumour has it there’s more of the white stuff on the way, and although this may seem like a good excuse to get your woolies on and stay indoors, this collection has a better idea. We have a whole flurry of winter poems in our collection of 100 that need adapting into films. We suggest you don an extra pair of socks, grab your camera and get out there and make us a short film. No prior experience or fancy tech necessary!
Here are some of our lovely winter verses that need adaptating!
The Piteous Pine by Florian Raith
“So cold despite the solid coat; clenched tightly,
The right fist in the pocket and partly regretful
Not to gorge on the sordid warmth: brightly lit
The stifling, horrid feast promises forgetfulness…”
January by Hayley Shields
A murmur rippling through
the silver edged blades
of grass, as they bathe
in muddled starlight…”
Cables by Kate Charles
“Edinburgh cuts a high moon
Hunkered figures, hands expectant, ask
For reasoning, dulled or blank to your rising rage,
some long gone time come close…”
The Windy City by Kat Maher
“Meadows of ice, deceptive sunlight
So inviting from windows, a kaleidoscope of lies…”
Waking up with Edinburgh by Helle Hang
“Grumpy as always,
Dear as always.
Frost over the Meadows,
Smoke from neighbour’s chimney…”
A Recipe for Whisky by Ron Butlin
“Wring the Scottish rain clouds dry;
take sleet, the driving snow, the hail;
winter twilight…”
A Winter Walk Along Lauriston Place by Laura Barbier
“The street swims by beneath,
Siberia groans aloud in my ears
Shifting the last of the leaves
Into freefall…”
Need some inspiration? Check out Helen Askew’s adaptation of Struan Robertson’s snowy poem, “Where it lies” — first showcased by this collection at the McEwan Hall!
Want to make a film for us? Email film[@]thiscollection.org or check out our Submissions page for more info.

ONS appeal: HELP SAVE THE FOREST CAFE!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

(Photo by Tim Macfarlane)

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll know what The Forest Cafe is… you will at the very least have heard me mention it/wax lyrical about it/praise it to the skies. Forest is an Edinburgh institution and a place that carries a great deal of meaning for myself and many other Edinvarians. And unfortunately, it is now under threat. Please, please read the following and help us to save this very deserving Edinburgh landmark.

What is Forest?
Forest is a unique access-all-areas arts initiative which works to provide space, resources, funding and encouragement for artists and creatives of all walks of life in the Edinburgh area and beyond. It “aims to advance access to art and cultural activities amongst the general public of Edinburgh and the wider community“, basically. The Forest Cafe is the base of operations for this initiative: housed in a former church and inhabiting a maze of rooms over several floors, it offers a variety of vibrant, unusual and versatile arts spaces to anyone who wants to use them. At the heart of things is the veggie and vegan kitchen, which not only helps to fund Forest’s other activities, but also supplies hungry visitors with the best vegan burritos and chocolate brownie this side of anywhere. The cafe is also Forest’s performance hub — if you want to watch, play or organise a poetry reading, an acoustic gig, a play, a film night, a gramophone evening, a reading group, a recital or any other creative endeavour, this is your place. Events are free to stage, free to perform at and free to attend. They’re pretty much always brilliant, too.

But Forest isn’t just a cool cafe that also holds events. Alongside the cafe space is Total Kunst, Forest’s very own art gallery, which hosts traditional, experimental and installation artists from all over the globe. Anyone can exhibit and it’s always free. Also always free is Forest’s downstairs space, which provides facilities such as a dark room for budding photographers and a rehearsal space for bands and musicians. For a small fee — or sometimes for free, depending on your event — you can also hire out the cavernous Forest Hall, which will accomodate anything from a small group of amateur filmmakers to a full-scale ceilidh band and a hundred guests. Forest also has its own shop, selling a variety of crafts; its own successful publishing imprint, Forest Publications, which I really cannot praise highly enough; it even has its own hairdressing salon. And I haven’t even got started on their monthly free shop, library facilities or free fringe antics

Forest 'o' Flash
(Photo by digiphotoneil)

How you can help.
Now, Forest is in danger of being evicted from its current home because the building has been put up for sale. Forest are currently tenants, and have been for many years — and although it’s very ambitious, they want to try and secure their future by raising enough money to buy the building outright. The current target is a massive £500,000, so they really need YOU to give as much as you can. The main way in which you can do this is by clicking here and donating via their simple Paypal form. For other ways to donate, or to get involved in other fundraising activities, just get in touch with them — they’d love to hear from you.

Why you should help.
Given all of the above, I don’t think I really need to tell you why you should donate to Forest. If you’ve ever been there, you already know what a special, unique place it is and what excellent work they do every day within and beyond the arts community in Edinburgh. If you’re local and you’ve never been there, now is the time to start — Forest desperately needs your support, and your life will be better for it. Even if you’re not an Edinvarian — hey, even if you’re not a Scot — you should still consider giving up a few of your hard-earned pennies for this very good cause. Like Shakespeare and Co and The Beat Museum, this is an arts initiative whose work resonates far beyond its small home city. If you donate to the Forest you’re helping hundreds of artists and creatives, and you’re making a stand for independent arts organisations the world over. Please think about giving as much as you can spare, even if that’s only a couple of quid.

P1150846
(Photo by acb)

Let me tell you why I donated to ForestWhen I first came to Edinburgh, I didn’t know anyone. I was vaguely aware that a few people I went to high school with also lived in the city; that was about it. I was living in Uni halls with chilly rooms, unreliable internet access, and I was broke. Forest provided me with huge pots of tea for next to nothing, a quiet and comfy place to sit for as long as I liked, and totally free access to the internet. Later, when I got more acclimatised, I started getting interested in the Edinburgh literary community. Forest — and the fabulous Ryan Van Winkle, one of its most famous staff members — provided heaps of support for my writing, via their brilliant writing groups, workshops and events. One of the first Edinburgh readings I ever did was The Forest Golden Hour, and the crowd was huge, warm and wonderfully supportive. Later still, I decided I wanted to start my own literary magazine, and yet again Forest was there to help me. For two full years Forest gave us the space and resources we needed to print, hand-bind and distribute our own zine — all totally free. We ran Read This events in the Forest Cafe, we used their fabulous website, noticeboards and Facebook group to promote ourselves and call for submissions. As things progressed, Forest also supported Read This Press (in particular, Chris Lindores’ collection You Old Soak) by providing printing facilities and carrying our titles in the shop, cafe and online. Forest Publications have published and promoted my work and the work of my various projects on numerous occasions. I genuinely believe that without Forest I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. And I’m just one young artist of the thousands who make use of Forest’s services and resources every year.

I implore you to help keep this incredible project afloat. Please go here, and donate now. As much as you can — it will make a difference.

Thank you!