Imaginarium

A six month online cross-genre writing programme to explore your writing potential

If you are working on, or plan to begin, a sustained project of a novel, memoir, creative nonfiction, sequence or collection of poems, short stories or something more hybrid, this Imaginarium offers an expansive, structured space to support your thinking, writing and experimentation or completion.

Eight writers. Six monthly workshops. One tutorial. | October 2020 – March 2020

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.       Toni Morrison

Workshops
Each workshop will offer writing and thinking time through activities and discussions on how we (or our characters) see the world, our sense of place, forms we might use, what and how transforms occur and what’s important to us, to our stories, poems, plays, or those things we have not yet found words for.

Two hours long, the workshops will be a mix of on- and offline activities. Creative play and exploration are the foundations of each session. The plan is to nourish your imagination, stimulate your creative practice, discover new writers to inspire you and what new writings you might produce.

Writers of any experience and genre interested in expanding their imaginative process are welcome. If you’d like a taster of how I work, you could try the Imaginarium Solo.

I’m interested in how writers of different genres can learn from each other and how our work, ideas and interests may cross-fertilise; what can happen in that space where different imaginations meet. Between meets there will be small reading and writing tasks to share with other members of the Imaginarium.

Dates
Workshops will run on the second Monday evening of every month, 1900 – 2100, online from 12th October 2020 – 8th March 2021.

Cost
For all monthly workshops, interim activities and an hour long one-to-one tutorial, there are three self-selecting bands: £250 full, £200 part-waged or £70 concessions. I am offering one free place to someone who would love to come but doesn’t have the means to pay.

Tutorials
You will be offered an hour long one-to-one tutorial with me (to be taken at any point during the Imaginarium) for focused feedback on your work. You can request an extra tutorial at any point for the discounted participant rate of £20

The hope is you’ll reach the end of the programme having created surprising new work, deepened your imaginative experiences, and be equipped with the momentum and skills to continue to grow as writers.

Expressions of Interest

To create a diverse range of writing genres and experiences I ask people to send through a bit of information. This isn’t about how good your writing or ideas are, just an attempt to create a sparkling spread of writers.

Please send an email to me: sehymas [at] gmail.com
by end of day on 21sth September, with:

  1. a brief description of the project you will be working on for the duration of the Imaginarium (max 50 words).
  2. your interest in the Imaginarium (max 50 words)
  3. an indication of which payment option will you be on.

I aim to allocate places  as soon as possible after that date, and will let everyone know by the end of that week at the latest.

*Deciding whether you are a concession is at your discretion. I want this programme to be accessible to anyone interested in developing their writing.

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

The Spirit of the Imaginarium

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 take what Richard Powers wrote in his recent novel, 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’. You can trial the Imaginarium ethos here.

They explore 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’s it For

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 .

You will need to be able to commit to all six sessions (whilst being aware life happens). We will fix dates for the tutorials when you’re ready.

How previous participants found the Imaginarium:

A loose collective of other creative people.

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.

About my workshop practice

I have been creating spaces in which to think, write and experiment across the community for over twenty years. I draw on my practice as a poet, performer and artistbook maker. 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 is due out Autumn this year. 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