Imaginarium

Two mornings, online, to explore your writing potential

Half and Half runs over two consecutive Saturday mornings, online / offline, as writing laboratory to kick-start a new project, picking up the threads of an old one, or tinkering with an unfledged idea. In short, it comes with the promise of a new year, a space to play, think, write, and discuss around something – a word, an image, a story – that just won’t let you go, with the hope of ripening the idea/writing/project plan

Writers of any experience and genre interested in expanding their imaginative process are welcome. The aim is to draw together a dynamic mix of writers working across genres and subject areas.

Eight writers. Two half day workshops. One tutorial
Saturday 30th January & 6th February

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 morning offers a small group of eight people, working in pairs, small and larger groups, as well as solo, to flesh out words, ideas, forms to develop confidence and/or a more tangible vision for your new project. Both half days will be a mix of group workshops, on zoom, and guided solo activities offline. Creative play and exploration are the foundations of this full day of unfolding and unknowing. The plan is to nourish your imagination and stimulate your creative practice.

Each participant is given some provocations to follow (or not) in the intervening week to flesh out their thinking, a buddy for creative companionship, and a follow-up one-to-one tutorial with me at a time of your choosing in February, to keep the motivation buoyant and words flowing beyond the week’s stimulation

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 Saturday mornings, 1000-1230, on 30th January and 6th February 2021

Cost
There are three self-selecting bands, with a limited number of places for each band:
£5;  £20 – £50 ;  £80 – £110 
Please choose the amount that best fits your capacity.

Tutorials
You will be offered an hour long one-to-one tutorial with me for focused feedback on your work. 

The hope is you’ll deepen your imaginative experiences, and be equipped with new energy 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 brief answers to the following to me at sehymas [at] gmail.com by 4th January

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


*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:

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.

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