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Creative Salon

Creative Salon

creativity, connecting and sharing skills

Our Creative Salon offers a relaxing and stimulating forum with emphasis on creativity, connecting and sharing.  It is run jointly with Apples and Snakes.

Who is the salon for? for all who work in, support, or are interested in, poetry and spoken word whether you are a writer, artist, practitioner, producer, organisation, small business owner, promoter, agency, or a newly created role.  In true salon style it is cosmopolitan, and all are welcome.

What does it feature? conversation, ideas, tips, skills swaps, sharing of short tasters of performance and works-in-progress, short presentations by movers and shakers in the arts sector

We will be developing some new salon projects in 2014, please sign up if you would like to be kept informed of future events.

Creative Salon: East Midlands

a forum for creativity, connecting and sharing

CREATIVE SALON is a forum for creativity, connecting and sharing.  It is aimed at writers, practitioners, producers, artists and all who work in, or have an interest in, literature and spoken word.  In true salon style the mood is cosmopolitan, and all are welcome.

The salons are produced by renaissance one in association with partner venues in the East Midlands. The project came about when acclaimed poet Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze became the recipient of a Grants for the Arts Award by Arts Council England to support intermediate-level writers in the East Midlands, and the director of renaissance one, Melanie Abrahams, suggested that a salon would be a good way to involve a wider range of people in sharing experience, skills and ways of working.

The project is a collaboration between renaissance one, Embrace Arts, Writing East Midlands and Nottingham Playhouse, with financial support by Arts Council England.Each session offers short guest presentations, conversation, skills sharing, and thrilling live readings and performances from talented writers in the East Midlands and beyond. Events so far have taken place at Nottingham Playhouse & Embrace Arts.  

Previous sessions have featured guest speakers JON BERKAVITCH, MATTHEW CHURCHER, JO BLAKE CAVE, PANYA BANJOKO, DEBORAH STEVENSON, TERRY ADAMS, RAKESH PARMAR and more – always aiming to offer a mix of vital and talented writers, practitioners, producers and and literature galvanisers, all of whom are either based in or are actively contributing to the East Midlands literature and arts scenes.

The next session will be in autumn 2014

What they say

‘Gained a better understanding of the artists in the region’

‘Excellent range of speakers and material, and very useful and informative’

‘It’s handy (as a newcomer) to hear the advice and stories from people who have been in the game a while’

‘Great diversity of people from all different disciplines’

'Really showed me there are other people in my same position, and how I might progress'

‘Very informative and inspiring…brilliant’

‘A good range and diversity of presenters and audiences’

‘It’s nicer to see the wider community of the poetry/writing scene’

Contact Us: for more information on the Creative Salon, or for reviews and photos, contact renaissance one at hq[at]renaissanceone.co.uk.


Creative Salon: London

Connect, share, and swap insights

CREATIVE SALON is a forum for creativity, connecting and sharing.  It is aimed at writers, practitioners, producers, artists and all who work in, or have an interest in, literature and spoken word.  In true salon style the mood is cosmopolitan, and all are welcome.

The Creative Salon is produced by renaissance one in association with Apples and Snakes, and is the idea of Melanie Abrahams, as a way of involving a wide range of practitioners, writers and companies working in literature, to share and swap experience, skills and ways of working.

Each session offers short guest presentations, conversation, skills sharing, and thrilling live readings and performances from talented writers. 

We will be developing more salons in 2014, please sign up to our mailing list or email us if you would like to be kept informed, or would be interested in contributing to a future salon.

Who does the Creative Salon feature?

Writers, Producers, Organisations, Agents, Small Business Owners and more

The Creative Salon aims to show through a vibrant and varied range of guest speakers, the ecology of the literature and spoken word sectors, and our contributors to date at our East Midlands and London salons have included:

Poet and founder of Tongue Fu CHRIS REDMOND

Poet and educationalist JON BERKAVITCH

Writer and founder of Mouthy Poets DEBORAH STEVENSON

Playwrights and poets, DEAN ATTA and DEANNA RODGER

Novelist and environmentalist DIANA MCCAULAY

Publisher, poet and rock star JESSICA CARE MOORE

Storyteller and researcher JO BLAKE CAVE

Poet and co-founder of Bang Said The Gun DAN COCKRILL

Writer and producer ANJAN SAHA

Marketing practitioner RAKESH PARMAR, also a Trustee for literature development agency Writing East Midlands

Poet, playwright and Artistic Director of Slambassadors UK JOELLE TAYLOR

Arts and Marketing Consultant and a co-founder of the Bootleg Jazz Festival TERRY ADAMS

Spoken word, hip-hop and theatre writer and performer SIMON MOLE

Fundraising and Arts Consultant ANGEL DAHOUK

Producer and practitioner TABITHA TIMOTHY who explores music and the power of art and creativity to transform lives

Writer and editor NIALL O'SULLIVAN

Poet and facilitator PHILIP WELLS

Artist RICHARD MARSH who spoke about how to successfully take a spoken word show to Edinburgh. 

Interview with Bea Colley

At a previous salon we interviewed Bea Colley, a Participation Producer for literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre.

Bea has worked her way around the UK’s poetry and literature circuit, from Durham Book Festival in the North East, to working on a city-wide read and setting up Heartbeats, a spoken word night in Liverpool, to education projects at the Poetry Society in London, to her current work at Southbank Centre.

What 3 words would you say best describe you?

Impulsive, passionate, thoughtful

You've been a presenter at our Creative Salon, tell us about taking part
I’m really excited about being in such a creative environment. Connecting and communicating with other arts professionals, artists and individuals hoping to gain ideas about working in the sector is a brilliant way of forging links and creating new ideas.

What's your experience been of making inroads in the arts sector?

I think that once you have begun to make contacts, as long as you are prepared to work to grow these relationships and to be alert to opportunities – internships and vacancies - as well as forming your own collectives and networks, making your way into the arts and literature sectors needn’t be daunting.

What is your greatest professional achievement to date?
I think that becoming part of a literature sector that connects professionals all over the UK as well as internationally is a really important achievement for me.

Tell us about a large-scale project that has excited you

Poetry Parnassus was an international poetry festival at Southbank Centre where we invited a poet from each of the 204 competing Olympic countries to come together in celebration at the end of June 2012. We arranged for up and coming poets to buddy the visiting poets as well as young producers working to create some fantastic events.

What are you most passionate about achieving?

I feel most passionate about projects when they are participant led, whether that is a group of older people directing the interpretation of their stories by younger people, or a participant group creating a major installation at a festival.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you had written and why?

Every time I read a poem that stops me in my tracks, I wish I had written it. Poems like Jo Shapcott’s ‘The Deaths’, many of Vicki Feaver and Paul Farley’s poems too.

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a producer?

That getting to know lots of different people in your sector, going to see as much work as possible by artists, supporting fellow producers’ work is really important for your own career. Staying in touch means that you have a network of artists and creative producers to inspire and support you.


Photo of Nii Parkes

Photo of Nii Parkes

Interview with Nii Parkes

We caught up with poet and creator/owner of  flipped-eye publishing, Nii Parkes, to get his views on the importance of independent publishing, his motivations for opening an independent press and his experiences as both a poet and publisher.

What 3 words best describe you as a publisher?

Nurturing, pragmatic, bold.

How would you sum up the ethos and approach of Flipped Eye?

We believe literature should be affordable so we price low and operate on a not-for-profit basis. We believe all that is written was first spoken so we acknowledge the value of oral influences in our editorial approach. We are dedicated to publishing work that is clear and true rather than exhibitionist.

Why did you decide to start publishing independently?

In the simplest terms, I just couldn't see enough of the kind of work I enjoy reading out in the market and I had some time on my hands. When I considered it more carefully I became convinced that there was a class-related blindness within the UK editorial/publishing world that was preventing certain kinds of work from being recognised and published - unless they reinforced long-held working-class/gender/race clichés.

What are your particular interests within publishing?

I'm a lover of language and its evolutions and transformations. I love to see language stretch itself on a page. That's why we publish primarily poetry. I'm interested in hybridity and the work it creates.

What can independent publishers, such as Flipped Eye, offer emerging writers that other types of publishers aren't able to?

We are still free to look at their work primarily as art rather than product, so we are more patient. That's why small presses are so essential; without smaller presses publishing would be way too cautious.

As well as running Flipped Eye, you also write yourself. Do your experiences as a writer inform your role as a publisher and vice versa?

My work as a publisher has helped me in my own journey as a writer - understanding the process, the politics, how much time things can take. I guess my being a writer has influenced the kinds of contracts we have with our authors; I understand the struggles, the need for a model that allows them to earn something sooner rather than never.

What advice would you give to someone submitting their work to a publisher for the first time?

Make sure it's the best it can be - not just the work, but the entire package - you're better off having had at least something published with a magazine first, or a good series of live appearances under your belt. It's not a lottery; if you don't give your work a chance it won't stand a chance.

Is there any creative masterpiece you wish you’d published OR if you could publish anyone who would it be?

Drown by Junot Diaz. I love the stories, the language in the book, and the language politics inherent in its publication in the form it is published.

Are there any upcoming Flipped Eye projects that we should be looking out for?

Oh, the mouthmark book of poetry, which will come out in 2012 will be huge. It's a collection of the pamphlets released under the mouthmark series (a groundbreaking series in UK pamphlet publishing) in hardback. I get chills just thinking about it.

Visit the Flipped Eye website here