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. The creative sessions are reciprocal, sparking off what I am reading, writing and thinking and what participants are. No two sessions or programmes are the same, as they depend on how the projects of all involved chime with each other. This is what I love about them. A Writer’s Imaginarium is a community in which to share live ideas, processes and questions that feel current, of the moment.

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, a 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’d rather work alone at your own pace. It’s a pdf with guided provocations in online 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, with a blog forum for discussion, and a one to one at a time of your choosing. Even if you are based in the southern hemisphere, the intention is to spread some warm sunshine ease through your writing process. For more info when it is open for applications, sign up to my infrequent newsletter

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

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

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…
[contact-form-7 id=”287″ title=”Contact Me”]

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

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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 – and my approach is to enable the growth of your work as you envisage it.

Maybe we won’t always work on the writing, focusing instead on your writing self, on your process, practice and resilience. I hope to help you learn to negotiate tricky periods in your writing life, so you feel more confident in your work and creative processes.

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 if applicable other aspects of your work, such as time management, motivation, confidence, goal-setting etc.

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.

 

Writing workshops

writing workshopsI have led writing workshops in adult education, prisons, primary schools, with undergraduates, for the  Continuing Education Department at Lancaster University,  on an annual week-long residential at The French House Experience, for the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) and The Poetry School (online) and many other short term and individual projects.

My particular interests lie in life and poetry writing. I have also led workshops on performance skills, writing from the body, self-publishing and editing.

I believe all workshops provide fertile ground for ideas and discussion and don’t expect people to produce final drafts or even work they may want to share. The workshop is precisely that: a place to explore, chisel and glue ideas. They offer the chance to hear what other writers write, read or think, to play and dip you toe into new waters and with any luck to leave stimulated, thinking thoughts you’d not had before, and confident in writing more.

What other people have said

Thanks for the talk. You were brill. All the students really enjoyed it and benefited a lot. So did I! It was really good to think about things in terms of what works for you individually.

Excellent tutor, fascinating subject!

One of the best managed/facilitated courses I have ever attended. Enhanced my listening to and respect of other people’s voices enormously.

I thought Sarah did a great job of keeping us on track and not preventing diversions. She clearly knows her stuff and how to deliver it.

Thank you, it has changed my life.

Sarah really is a genius. The way she got such a mixed bag of people to unlock their inner creativity was amazing.

Sarah, from the start, put everyone at their ease and used an amazing array of techniques and games to allow us all to tap into our own creativity.

Sarah was organised, approachable and clearly knowledgable about all aspects of creative writing and, importantly for me, the processes of creativity. I was inspired by the way she encouraged us to write for ourselves, be decisive and find our own meaning, rather than following rules, or relying too much on the opinions of writing groups.

Sarah Hymas is ingeniously clever as a creative writing tutor, and I thoroughly enjoyed her series of intense tasks and more informal parlour games, each a mind manipulation intent on making one use your imagination and freedom of expression. For me, Sarah was the perfect choice of tutor at the French  House Party Experience mini break, and would undoubtedly be equally ideal for all other such workshops.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss ideas for a workshop.
Email: sehymas at gmail dot com