That is the true magnificence – if you can live in a culture that is so destructive as ours is, one that keeps you down and discouraged and broken-hearted and if you can still sing your song, dance your dance, cook your food and speak your mind, then you’ve won. — Alice Walker
Imaginariums offer a structured space to support your thinking, writing and experimentation. They rise out of my own creative practice and respond to other artforms and across genres in their aim to widen, stimulate and flex our imaginations. To riff off what Richard Powers wrote in The Overstory: ‘liking and not liking [are] the rod and staff of commodity culture’, Imaginarums are not about writer feedback and creative criticism. They are places of incubation, and quiet resistance to rushing towards an end product, while holding a sense of momentum towards something, be that a particular form or aspiration for the completion of a piece of work.
The original six month Imaginarium programme runs every October-March. Applications open in late summer. For exact info please sign up for my newsletter.
Imaginarum Half and Half is a short, intensive burst of inspiration, working across two sessions with interim provocations and play. Info on the next one is here
Imaginarum Solo is for those of you who rather work alone at your own pace. It is a pdf with guided provocations in audio recordings. More info here
Imaginarium Summer is a new nontutored month-long laboratory into the art of writing without writing*. Provocations and inspirations are sent to you through August and followed up with a one to one in the autumn. For more info when it is open for applications, sign up to my infrequent newsletter
The Spirit of the Imaginarium
Each Imaginarium, whatever its form, explores how writing isn’t necessarily fast acting: either in its creation or in how it is received. Imagining operates on different timescales to our daily work/life, home/office, inside/outside worlds. It resists our consumerist culture and refuses to be commodified. It does not follow expected narratives. Imaginariums relish the joy, struggle and complexity of creation. They share a love of communication, expression, bewilderment, confusion, chaos, disruption and whatever else you unearth. Each Imaginarium is provocative: changing one thing into another, or at least how we see one thing into another (which might be the same thing).
Who might come to a Writer’s Imaginarium?
Any one who is writing, or wants to write, something, short story, novel, creative prose, poetry or something more hybrid, is welcome to participate. You do not need to have much experience of writing , or you could have three novels under your belt. Imaginariums are for the curious; writers who are interested in how they might develop their writing and thinking around writing .
Imaginariums are tailor for those who already have an idea, half-fledged, in scribbles in notebooks, an image lodged in your memory. It needn’t be fully formed or fleshed out, just an itch you want to scratch.
I do ask that you commit to all the online group sessions (whilst being aware life happens).
I have an application process to ensure each Imaginarium contains writers of different genres, at similar stages in a project, if not their writing life. So you can learn from each other and how our work, ideas and interests may cross-fertilise. It is an open space in which to discover what can happen where different imaginations meet.
The applications are not looking for any particular style of writing or seeking to impose a qualitative stamp on your work.
What previous participants have to say
A Writer’s Imaginarium was an incredibly powerful structure that enabled me to explore a new creative question with depth, nuance and openness. That Sarah managed to continue and grow an incredibly meaningful creative course during a uniquely challenging time (early pandemic) speaks volumes about her skill and knowledge as a facilitator, and also her integrity and heart. I strongly recommend the Imaginarium course to anyone considering a writing project that looks impossible, that feels overwhelming, or that appears to be hidden from view. Sarah is is a wonderful guide. She will provoke you and support you as you unearth your creative work.
A safe space to be an unsafe writer – to push beyond your comfort zone, write stuff that doesn’t matter, chop it up, turn it round and then realise it’s like nothing you’ve written before, and that that does matter. What it entails – better trusting the innate potency of the intangible to assist with your writing – writing, re-thinking time, colour, shape, ownership, associations, triggers. It allows you to write as your synapses actually fire, more than as society wishes your mind to work. Uncolonised writing.
It made me think about writing in a more physical way.
Such a generous and kind tutor … love your bubblin joyousness and playfulness…so infectious.
It opens up what process is … taking you outside of your usual or imagined self. I wouldn’t say out of your comfort zone because it felt like a very safe and supportive space, but perhaps that, in terms of what you imagine your writing or practice to be.
I liked the inputs and reading you give us and the crazy exercises, not just writing and reading out. A group on imagination has to be imaginative after all
A melting pot of thoughts, discussions, ideas, views and useful writing exercises for all genres.
I found the one-to-one to be invaluable. Talking to someone about it and some of the problems I’m facing with it helped me to see it more clearly and gave me something of a different viewpoint on it, which was good.
This is very different from more conventional writing workshops and might particularly suit people who are not so much wanting very specific writing support but more interested in exploring their own and others’ creative process.
Pulls you out of your writing and into yourself, then pushes you out of yourself and into your writing.
*The Art of Writing without Writing acknowledges its debt to Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and the ethics of nonviolence and nonseparation.
About my workshop practice
I have been creating spaces in which to think, write and experiment across the community for over thirty years. I draw on my practice as a poet, performer, artistbook maker and collaborator. I devise the sessions from my own writing processes which have resulted in work for print – in books, journals, and artistbooks – multimedia exhibits, dance videos, lyrics, pyrotechnical installations, on stage and radio. I have written books: Host, my first poetry collection, was published by Waterloo Press (2010), and melt came out December 2020. Between the two collections I have also co-written site-specific immersive stories, told through geocaching, augmented reality, micro-print & performance. I also work as a coach, mentor and editor.
My collaborations and interactions with the visual, digital and sound artists, musicians, scientists, writers and makers all play a part in influencing the creative and fluid space of my workshops.
Have a rootle around the website to find out more about me.
How can writers of different genres learn from each other? How might the work, ideas and interests cross-fertilize? What happens in that space where different imaginations meet? Read more about my thinking of the imaginarium here
If you have any questions, then get in touch sehymas [at] gmail [dot] com