Imaginarium

the fold is a cross-genre, cross-discipline pair of writing workshops exploring how space and form can reshape your writing.

Eight writers. Two full day workshops. One tutorial.
Saturdays 23rd May & 6th June, 1030-1600
Friends Meeting House, Lancaster.

Using different book forms we will explore how enfolding and unfolding your writing into concertinas, graduated pages and other unusual forms can expand your work in ways you might not have previously considered. These two days aim to free you from writing for the flat page and discover new approaches to your writing and editing. These days will inject a sense of playful possibility into your writing. It might be you have an old piece of writing that just isn’t working, something you want to rework or reinvigorate that you know has potential but you just can’t find it… than this pathway might be the ticket.

“The imagination is the power of the mind over the possibilities of things.” Wallace Stevens

Making different forms of artistbooks has informed how I write and edit my work

Who’s it For

Any one who has written something, short story, novel, creative prose, poetry or something more hybrid, is welcome to participate. You do not need to have experience of making books. Nor do you need to be super experienced as a writer, just curious as to how you might develop your writing and thinking around writing .

You will need to be able to commit to both days and to bring some work you are willing or wanting to see reshaped as an artistbook. Depending on time, ambition and progress you may make one edition or multiples.

What happens

We will begin with a basic book form to explore how words and folds interact with each other and what happens to a piece of writing when it is set beyond the flat page. From early experiments we’ll edit writing, cut and fold paper and explore designs, illustrations and colour that will add new layers of meaning and connections to your original writing.

By keeping the group size small each participant will work closely with each other and me on their designs. Everyone is offered a one-to-one tutorial with me to be taken at some point to suit your process between the first session and end of June. This is intended to allow you a supportive and informal space to explore your chosen form in more depth.

Cost

For both full day workshops and a one-to-one tutorial, there are three self-selecting bands:
£160 full,
£100 part-waged or
£30 concessions 

To cover costs I can only take a maximum of two people in the lowest bracket. These will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. I’ll ask you to confirm your participation by payment in full in advance of both workshops.

*While I will provide some materials, for your final book (made in the second workshop) you will be invited to buy card or paper that suits your design. For small projects such as these, I recommend Studio Arts in Lancaster, Fred Aldous in Manchester, Rennies and Jacksons in Liverpool. We will discuss paper possibilities on the first day.

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 

How to apply
Email me at sehymas [at] gmail [dot] com , letting me know which band you’ve selected


The idea for these workshops grew from a ‘winged pamphlet’ writing workshop

Testimonials for A Writer’s Imaginarium

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.

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

I didn’t really know what to expect from it but I’ve come away with some new and different ideas and a desire to finish my novel so I can chalk it up as a success … a melting pot of thoughts, discussions, ideas, views and useful written exercises for all genres of writing.

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.

Pulls you out of your writing and into yourself, then pushes you out of yourself and into your writing.

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

 

Writing a Migration

refugee smuggling stencil sm

Writing a Migration

Wednesday 16th March, 7-9pm
The Gallery, Storey Institute, Lancaster LA1 1TH.

Using sculptures and prints featured in Catriona Stamp‘s Where Are We Going? exhibition as departure points, this writing workshop will explore what migration means to us and how we’re connected to current and historical migrations. We will explore themes of home, alienation and change.

This is a session for play, investigation, art and imagery, open to all, however experienced you are as a writer and whatever form you usually write in.

Full £10
Concessions £5

To book use the contact form below

Where Are We Going?
Paper sculpture | prints | artistsbooks | film by Catriona Stamp
Featuring new work on human migration alongside a retrospective
The Gallery, Storey Institute, Lancaster LA1 1TH
Fri 4 March – Tues 22 March. Noon – 6pm Monday – Fridays.

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Remix the Poet

Remix the Poet: What song offers poetry
A Poetry and Music workshop with Hymas & Lewis

Saturday 14 November, 10-4pm
The Olive Room, Gregson Centre, Lancaster, LA1 3PY

Turn a poem into a song and back into a poem. Edit with your ears and see how the process impacts your imagining of its potential. In this playful, exploratory workshop we will be using the song form to transform the way you think about writing.

Using a variety of activities, writing and thinking time, discussions, silence and time outdoors, poet Sarah Hymas & musician Steve Lewis will share their practice as collaborators and turn the volume up on your own processes.

We have found that setting poetry to music encourages the light in. Once the words are sung, resonances spark, new phrases are found, and different ways of speaking them emerge. The poem matures. This workshop will offer you alternative ways of editing and give you a fresh confidence in your writing and how you share it.

Attending the workshop includes the option to air the results of the day at the following week’s Spotlight Club in Lancaster.

All writers, of any genre and experience level, are welcome.

More info about Hymas&Lewis

Cost
Early Birds £60 available until 30th September
Full Price or post 30th September £80.

There are limited places available for this workshop, so we need full payment in advance

If you have any questions, just ask…
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Workshop Archives

Writing the Ritual

SUMIT SARKER

Understanding the Ritual exhibition (Storey Gallery, Lancaster: 26th May – 29th June 2014) explores the Shamanistic tradition of ritual and belief in art.

This writing workshop, in the gallery, offers the chance to create a narrative from selected works, experimenting with persona and voice. We will question what wildness is and our relationship to it. What spirits, ghosts and gods occupy us to influence our view of the world? How can these influence what we write?

A workshop of play, investigation, art and imagery, open to all, however experienced you are as a writer and whatever form you usually write in.

Remix the Poet: What song offers poetry
A Poetry and Music workshop with Hymas & Lewis

Turn a poem into a song and back into a poem. Edit with your ears and see how the process impacts your imagining of its potential. In this playful, exploratory workshop we will be using the song form to transform the way you think about writing.

Using a variety of activities, writing and thinking time, discussions, silence and time outdoors, poet Sarah Hymas & musician Steve Lewis will share their practice as collaborators and turn the volume up on your own processes.

We have found that setting poetry to music encourages the light in. Once the words are sung, resonances spark, new phrases are found, and different ways of speaking them emerge. The poem matures. This workshop will offer you alternative ways of editing and give you a fresh confidence in your writing and how you share it.

 

Writing commissions

Over the years I have written to many commissions, not just Tailormade Poems. These came from residencies, festivals and projects. Some are detailed below.

For the Walking on Wyre project I was asked to write a piece to reflect the river, its history and people. You can read about the project here

I wrote on Ursa Minor for Heavenly Bodies, an anthology of  the 88 constellations published by Beautiful Dragons Press.

A sequence of four poems about the changing light at the mouth of the Lune  was commissioned for Lancaster Lights  by Litfest in 2013.

2003-2005 I was the inaugural poet in residence for Calderdale Libraries in West Yorkshire. Responsible for establishing reading groups and promoting poetry reading throughout the library service, the residency culminated in a collaborative publication, with artists John Lyons and Hafsah Naib, called Reading is Believing.

Editor

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I was editor of Flax, Lancaster Literature Festival’s publishing imprint from 2006-2011.

Alongside designer Martin Chester and then Anat Kaivanto, we produced 29 publications that ranged from pdf pamphlets of poetry and prose, illustrated posters, ebooks, films and walking tours. We launched all the publications in one way or another, celebrating the coming together of great quality work.

A sample of our work is below. You can see more on the Flax page of ISSUU

Walking in Circles – poetry walksguide for walks

Seed Haiku
Another collaboration with Maya Chowdhry
http://vimeo.com/25316376

I continue to edit anthologies created in workshops and with fellow writers.

Most recently, Solstice, with Rebecca Bilkau.
An anthology of hours. Twenty four poems clocking the twenty four hours of the longest day in 2012. This ‘hinge’ of the year is tracked by transience, evident in the views of street lamps, hedgerows, cafes, the rising light, swallows, rain, and ultimately the growing dark, its rituals, noises, pathways disappearing ahead.

Poems from Helen Ivory, Andrew McMillan, Wayne Burrows, Jane Routh, Seni Seniviratne, Maya Chowdhry, David Tait and many more.

Front Cover-page-001

Mentor

statue at rievaulx

Between the mentor and the mentee is the work. As a mentor my interest lies in working with you to achieve your writing goals.

I will be a thorough and careful reader of your work; a supportive and empathetic communicator. Your work is yours – I won’t steer you in a direction you’re not happy with and although growth means change, I understand what it’s like to be a writer. I don’t want to turn you into something you’re not.

Sometimes we won’t be working on the writing, but on your writing self, on your growth and motivation, helping you to develop a sense of your own process. There are rough places, times when motivation fails, times when doubt creeps in. I can help you learn to negotiate these difficult periods in your writing life.

In the main, the mentoring meets will be monthly, face to face or virtually, to discuss your writing (the amount to be arranged between us) and other aspects of your work, such as time management, motivation, confidence, goal-setting etc.

You might want to write and/or develop a sequence, pamphlet or collection of poems. You may be on the cusp of turning writing from a hobby into a career.

At the end of the mentoring, you will have a clear idea of what you have achieved and a plan of where to go next.

What does it Cost? and Other Answers

I charge £150 per meeting, including the reading and research time.

Each meeting will be an hour and a half long. I’m based in the North West of England and if you can travel here, we can meet in person. If that’s not possible, for the same price I offer distance mentoring by email, phone or Skype.

I recommend monthly meetings, but this is negotiable.

I offer 10% discount to previous clients. If you feel you have a case for a lower rate, please get in touch.

I am also happy to advise you if you want to apply for ACE funding to support a mentoring project. Again, just get in touch.

Meeting and consultations cancelled with less than 48 hours notice are non-refundable. I’ll issue you with a contract before we begin.