Peter Jones is one of our resident artists at Tribe Porty. The abiding theme in his work is buildings, he is drawn to the stories they tell and the people they represent. Peter has already published a series of books that focus around Kirkcudbright, Portobello and Falkland. Whilst trying to establish a place to centre the next book around, the thought came to mind, why not a Craigmillar book of paintings?
Craigmillar is not an obvious choice when Edinburgh is renowned for it’s beautiful tourist hotspots like Stockbridge and The Old Town. However, these places have long had their stories told and celebrated, this next book was about not making the obvious choice. Craigmillar is one of many hubs surrounding Edinburgh that can be looked down upon and this project aims to celebrate a place that is often overlooked.
Peter also works with Inspiring Scotland, a national charity and funder of charities which seeks to support those affected by poverty and those that are at a disadvantage. One of its funding programmes is Link Up, which has a core belief that,
“…the ingredients for lasting change already lie in our communities in the shape of the passion, strengths, skills, knowledge and interests of local people, and when people are connected and energised, radical change can and does happen.”- Inspiring Scotland
The spark of an idea to focus a new book on Craigmillar coincided with covid and the first lockdown and changed the pathway for the project. It gave another local community in Gallatown supported by Link Up not just the desire but the need for a painting group. Funded by Link Up and facilitated by Peter, free watercolour starter packs were sent out to people in Gallatown. The Gallatown Watercolour Group had continued support from Peter with weekly painting tips and a facebook group for sharing and discussing. This led to the beginning of Craigmillar Art Group. Over time, and another lockdown, this developed into zoom sessions with discussions on artists and remote drawing sessions in both communities.
As the restrictions of the pandemic eased, the Craigmillar Art Group started to meet together for a series of outdoor workshops entitled ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ which were supported by Link Up and Connecting Craigmillar. These took place in Magdalene Community Garden, Portobello Community Garden on the prom and Craigmillar Castle Park.
Due to the circumstances of the pandemic, not only was a community of artists connected but the beauty of the everyday and what we have on our doorstep was celebrated. A common occurrence that happened during lockdowns was that people noticed small and local interests that were once overlooked. Instead of being ignored, we found a way to celebrate and appreciate them. This is where Peter’s two worlds coincided and the two projects became organically intertwined.
From these events, Peter’s next book became a collective project and will host not only his own work, but work from the Craigmillar Art Group. The book will feature drawings and paintings of local buildings nominated by residents and has received funding from Creative Scotland.
If you would like to pick up your sketchbook and get involved with this growing community, you can join the on location workshops happening in May/June. The book launch will take place at Craigmillar & Niddrie Arts Festival in August and you can find Peter’s work at Art Walk Porty this September.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you at our next Tribe Talks hosted by Ori Halup on June 30th. This Tribe Talks is an evening all about coffee. We will be talking about coffee sourcing, processing, roasting and brewing methods and of course tasting a large range of coffees. Ori will aim to help you understand better what it is that influences the flavour of coffee you drink all the way from farm to cup while talking a bit about how the sourcing works. From fair-trade to direct trade and everything in between.
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It seems poignant to follow on from Dani’s last post, The Next step, with my own reflection on my first month at Tribe Porty. This piece of writing became a great opportunity for me to reflect, consider and grow. Starting a new job always comes with a rough terrain of anxieties and worries, especially when you are venturing into new territory. I’ve spent my work life since leaving university dedicated to the hospitality industry. For me, my next big move in hospitality would be to own my own cafe and I was starting to feel the constraints that working in such an industry can have. The Community Manager post felt like it was made for me, this is the only time I’ve felt this way about an opportunity outside of hospitality. It was my next step.
I came into Tribe quietly confident, ready for the challenge. The one thing that I didn’t expect was to find it difficult to engage with people and I felt my confidence stray. I became timid not out of fear, but because it can be difficult to integrate into a community that is already established. Established in the sense of community, but also connecting with people that are distinguished professionally. Here I am, starting anew, amongst all these amazing talents, thinkers and creators and I struggled to see where I fit as a piece of the puzzle. I knew deep down I was more than capable, but I needed to unearth my dormant talents. When I found myself feeling lost or out of depth, I caught myself finding comfort in wiping down tables and cleaning up the kitchen after a little lunch rush. Eventually, I found that this only fuelled the vicious fire that is imposter syndrome. Was I meant to stay in hospitality? I missed the comfort blanket of experience.
However, as I chatted to you all more, and with the support of Dani, I’ve really started to find my feet. My confidence only grows stronger as I settle into the role and become more self-assured in my abilities. It’s been fantastic to awaken my inner writer and artist which has been in hibernation since graduation. I sense that my confidence will really flourish as I take on more projects and see them sprout from a tiny idea to a fully fledged event or gathering.
One of my favourite parts about working for Tribe Porty is how it has changed my work life balance and encouraged a far more nurturing culture. Every morning when I ride my bike in, instead of battling up Easter Road, swerving past vans and buses, I now have the immense pleasure of a gentle cruise along the promenade. In addition, the shift from ‘working late’ to make up a few extra pennies to taking part in meditation classes or gaining a new wealth of knowledge from a Tribe Talk feels like an enormous blessing. It’s so important for your work to work for you, something I feel a lot of people realised during the pandemic and are slowly starting to forget.
Spring feels like a fitting time of the year to have a change in life, not only is it a change of season, but a season in which nature is rebirthed, grows and thrives. I recall a benefit that I found from Lockdown and the world stopping was being able to notice the change in season. The shift from winter to spring felt longer, it felt as though one had time to enjoy it. So whilst I have been caught up in self doubt and anxiety, I am going to remind myself to embrace the change and see it instead as an opportunity to grow. I’m excited to continue this journey with you all and I can’t wait to see where this next step takes me.
If you are looking for a better working life and grow your business with like-minded women, the programme is for you. To get a better idea of Keystone, we have a free check-in checklist and ways to rest worksheet download. The checklist and worksheet are aimed to identify and strengthen your access to your own resources, strengths and vision. Taking rest and creating rituals with intention, will help bring meaning and joy to your daily life. Keystone is open for signups in September, to keep in the loop, sign up to their newsletter.
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There is information for you if you are attuned to listening to it. You might not know where you want to go and that is okay. Let go of where you think you should be and just figure out the next step.
Instead of trying to figure the big moves, just think what is the next thing you need to do?
Where your attention goes, your life goes. A slightly different take on James Redfield’s quote, ‘Where Attention goes Energy flows; Where Intention goes Energy flows’. Nonetheless, putting your attention in the right place (you) is an important part in being well in this world and with others. Looking in does have its challenges and cultivating healthy strategies for introspection and growth are key.
If your work or creative practice requires extensive amounts of working solo or navigating decisions on your own, it can be all too easy to get stuck in your own head. Madeleine Dore from Extraordinary Routines also reminds us that rest is also a choice,
“IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK INSTEAD OF A STEP. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to take no steps at all.”
One way to help you take the next step can be through writing. From to do lists, blogs and books; writing helps make sense of things.
Here are my top 10 reasons you should write.
A regular writing practice has helped me to distil and crystallise my thoughts on many topics. I have been able to find a voice that represents my values and putting it out there no longer scares me. After all, you can choose to read it or not and sharing becomes less of a big deal the more you do it. Writing helps me to look in while looking out. In many ways the work of looking inward supports how I show up in all areas of my life. How can I remain open, willing and attuned? I repeat this question often when navigating my own healing and looking after my businesses. There is something inside of me that always knows the truth when I take the time to listen in and work through the uncomfortable unknowing. When the world feels exactly right where it needs to be, I know I have tapped into my truth.
“If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition… you are not understanding yourself.”
– Bruce Lee
And for looking up, by definition it means to become better. I am always up for that, plus the view is always great when you do.
As always, I love to hear your thoughts, please get in touch. You can also sign up to our newsletter below.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
“Habits are a compound interest of self improvement.” James Clear
“You must love the thing you want to change.” Jung
” As history has shown us, the effects of a pandemic are as much social, cultural and economic as they are about medicine and health. Our aim has been to deliver an integrated view across these areas to start understanding the long-term impacts and how we address them. Our evidence review – in our companion report, The COVID decade – concluded that there are nine interconnected areas of long-term societal impact arising from the pandemic which could play out over the coming COVID decade, ranging from the rising importance of local communities, to exacerbated inequalities and a renewed awareness of education and skills in an uncertain economic climate.”- The British Academy
I think we are all feeling the strangeness of 2021. I accidentally wrote an email out to everyone at Tribe saying we should say good bye to 2020. Many of us are saying last year doesn’t count, but it does. And most likely in ways we don’t yet understand.
We have somewhat transitioned out of the high alert state and into life with normalised constant threat and high potential of change. Life with both feelings of normalised loss and at the same time, new levels of appreciation of things that used to be taken for granted. The constant stress of playing out the worst case scenarios is exhausting. With burnout hovering over or perhaps already landed for you, this year has been full and dull.
According to Adam Grant,
“We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing. Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
Psychologists find that one of the best strategies for managing emotions is to name them. Last spring, during the acute anguish of the pandemic, the most viral post in the history of Harvard Business Reviewwas an article describing our collective discomfort as grief. Along with the loss of loved ones, we were mourning the loss of normalcy.”
Simultaneously, I have had countless conversations with people expressing how they have found new levels of awareness and a better pace for life since Covid. Usually that is quickly followed up with how bad they feel about saying that when they know many people have suffered so greatly. I have caught myself saying that too. I liken this to hitting rock bottom and the perspective that gives you- the only way is up.
I purpose going against the cultural norm of numbing and leaning into meaningful acts. Adam describes this as flow- that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self melts away. Grant goes on to site a study of flow;
“During the early days of the pandemic, the best predictor of well-being wasn’t optimism or mindfulness — it was flow. People who became more immersed in their projects managed to avoid languishing and maintained their prepandemic happiness.”
Finding flow is becoming increasingly more challenging. We have a million things pulling at our attention all of the time. It takes a huge amount of discipline to stay focused. But a distracted mind is the enemy of flow.
I have noticed that when I am feeling a bit low, I check my emails more often and I scroll through my social channels in a mindless way. Now when I catch myself in this state, I take a moment to try and think about what is really bothering me. Sometimes it is easy to figure out, sometimes, all I can do is change my habits. I notice that behaviour now and stop. I find something more focused to do- even if that thing is to sit and do 4 mindful breaths. I disrupts the bad habit, one tiny task at a time.
This can come in many forms and probably why I crave playing cards or board games from time to time. They create a contained task that my mind can concentrate on. No need to think about the ever growing to do list or what I forgot to do or what I need to think about putting on my to do list. Although finding an effortless state and flow are different, it is a good place to start.
Csikszentmihalyi describes eight characteristics of flow:
Flow state is losing yourself in the moment; when you find your abilities are well matched to an activity, the world around you quietens and you may find yourself achieving things you only dreamt to be possible.
To me that sounds worth the effort and at least one way of approaching 2022; an antidote to some of 2021’s languishing.
Have you heard of the 100daysproject? There are 2 simple rules;
#1 Repeat a simple creative task everyday for the duration,
#2 Record each day’s efforts.
This is my fourth year doing the hundred days project and each one has taught me so much. I first heard about the 100 days after reading The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna. From a young age, I have always loved doing art and have managed to keep it sacred—something I do for myself. It is for pure pleasure and processing thoughts and feelings.
One day my daughter had a new pal around and she was proudly showing her all of my artwork and her friend thought they were amazing and asked if I was an artist. My daughter looked at me and I didn’t know how to respond. I mulled this over and realised I would like to explore this further and would commit to the 100daysproject to see how I felt after 100 days of creativity about calling myself an artist.
So I began, one pen drawing a day. No pencils, as I wanted to learn that mistakes didn’t matter. It was great, each week brought more confidence and doing it with others really helped me be accountable. It wasn’t linear—there were moments when my confidence dipped and I would want to make excuses to stop. I had to wiggle my way through finding my own practice, not care what other’s thought but also be fuelled by the community and public sharing. Within the small group of 100daysproject through Tribe Porty, we encouraged each other and on the days I didn’t feel like making the effort, I showed up for them. It quickly became something I looked forward doing at the end of the night.
The practice became a meditative ritual and also led me to find the local community in 100 Days Project Scotland.
Now reaching the end of this year, it has been once again, transformational.
By the end of the 100 days, I called myself an artist. I maintained that art was for myself and no anyone else but the encouragement was also welcomed. it felt good and I was hooked.
This time I tightened my brief a bit. Again using pen but stuck to portraits and played more with lines. I really enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of drawing so many lines. By the end of the second 100 days, I was confident enough to do even paint a large mural. Here are some drawings and a picture of part of the mural. One drawing also ended up as a tattoo on my arm.
This year was different because I started experimenting with drawing on the ipad, something I never thought I would like but I do and in love with quite quickly.
I set myself a goal to get some printed and even went on to create Capturing Dani a website and shop with prints and postcards. I received commissions and now draw illustrations more than on paper.
This year I decided to combine the creative process with gratitude and would draw a part of my body and give thanks. After almost two years of chronic pain, multiple exploratory procedures and fatigue. Every day has been a surprise- nothing has been planned and I have changed the way I see myself.
Just over halfway through, something changed how I looked at myself. I found a new level of acceptance of the good and of the imperfections. I looked at myself the way I would look at a body in a live drawing class. Admiring the curves and not viewing with critical eyes.
We have quite a few new people at Tribe and our first social gathering (outside) this week. And it feels good. But it is different then it used to be so in some ways I feel like we are starting over but I guess that is change. So how do we embrace change that builds resilience? When change makes us better, it’s because we have learned how to turn a challenging situation to our own advantage, not merely because change happens.
BBC’s, The Collection, Why embracing change is the key to a good life, writes;
How we handle change is the essence of our existence and the key to happiness, particularly in our current times of uncertainty. Since humankind has existed, many great artists, writers and philosophers have grappled with the notion of change, and our impulse to resist it. “Something in us wishes to remain a child… to reject everything strange,” wrote the 20th-Century psychologist and author Carl Jung in The Stages of Life. For these thinkers, a refusal to embrace change as a necessary and normal part of life will lead to problems, pain and disappointment. If we accept that everything is constantly changing and fleeting, they say, things run altogether more smoothly.
We all know cognitively that change is nothing new and inevitable. Yet, by nature, change feels unfamiliar so we often try to resist or desperately try and make sense of it. Pain is often the agent of change, which is why we fear it. It is hard to see beyond the pain to the opportunity of anew – but that is the only good choice. The alternative is resisting change, a futile and ultimately more painful option. Not to mention missing all of the opportunities for growth. Change takes practice and the more you accept it, the better you get at it. So in theory, we should all be a bit more practiced right about now.
“All that you touch you Change. All that you Change changes you. The only lasting truth is Change.” – Octavia E Butler
Today we had our first social gathering since before the first lockdown. It was so nice. Everyone missed that community feel of our coworking space. In some ways we felt more united, all having experienced our own disconnection and struggles over the past 17 months. I would like to think that a show of solidarity and support in different communities has emerged; perhaps even a broader sense of equality and empathy. Now is the time to reflect and find the opportunities from change. Let’s not go back to being disconnected, isolated and self interested. I am hopeful that we can find a deeper understanding of our humanity, discover new priorities and be driven by our values in order to change and heal. Remember that change isn’t always out with our control.
Focus on your values instead of your fears. Reminding ourselves of what’s important to us — family, friends, great music, creative expression, and so on — can create a surprisingly powerful buffer against unexpected change.
Social lunch helps too.
If you want to see more or less of something, take action, make the changes you want to see. In our behaviour, we tend to be making an implicit distinction between getting other people to change – and changing ourselves. We often think more about how to change others or complain about others rather than making the changes ourselves. Sometimes because we don’t give ourselves permission and sometimes, well, because it’s easier to point than do the inner work. We might know we may have to develop in certain ways, but for now, our focus is on altering others. However, we miss an important insight: changing how you behave to others can be the fastest way to alter how others behave towards you.
Here is a brilliant video by School of Life which illustrates how and why you should be the change you want to see and how mirroring is the best way to change yourself and others.
Would love to hear your thoughts if you want to share, email me.
Tribe is slowly picking back up and gaining new members; more and more people are needing community and a creative space now more than ever. It has been such a long time for so many of us who have been cooped up in a small flat or sharing a kitchen table with a partner. Taking never ending zoom calls and not seeing another human in the flesh has taken its toll-not only on our wellbeing but on our creativity and productivity.
Over the years, many people have asked advice about how to turn their extra space into a coworking space. Beyond the basics, desks, seating, good wifi- the community part is an art. The people are what makes spaces special. And the people part is the hard work. We are all different, with different needs. One of our hot deskers was telling me the other day that he comes to Tribe because it taps into the creative work. He has structured his working week in such a way that he does his creative thinking work from Tribe because the space and the people in the space encourage that kind of work. This is such music to my ears as this is what we set out to create with Tribe.
There is no shortage of designer spaces to work from around the globe.
A few folk have made some assumptions that coworking spaces will be exploding in the near future. We have certainly seen a new group of members, not just freelancers but people unable to do their work from home for practical or emotional reasons. The pandemic has forced us to change our model and reduce the size of our event space due to no events taking place for so long. This is true for many other coworking spaces as well. According to Deskmag’s 2020 Coworking Trends Europe, “While the supply is often shaped by the demand, this is less the case during this pandemic. Example: Legal measures such as distancing rules often have shrunk the desk capacity, especially in open workspaces. The prohibition of physical events have negatively impacted community oriented activities despite their demand.”
This has definitely been true for Tribe but the recent ease of lock down is building confidence for our members to return.
We will continue to adapt and respond to our community and challenge the definition of what workspace is, from where work is done to how it’s done, and then keep our spaces creative to reflect that.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
– Charles Darwin
If you have any questions or want to book a free trial day, please get in touch.
I just completed some training for business advisors and entrepreneurial support professionals who want to learn how to help the businesses they support to understand, define, measure and improve their environmental, social and governance performance. The training programme was delivered by Scotland CAN B and was called the Impact Economy Advisors Training. Scotland CAN B is an initiative launched in partnership between the Scottish Government and B Lab (the non profit organisation behind B Corp certification) to explore what happens when you combine the entrepreneurial, innovative and business for good ambitions of one country.
During this course we covered a variety of content including: connecting to the local and global context of the future of business, frameworks for impact, including the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and Scotland’s NPF (National Performance Framework), and how to apply them in a business context, in-depth understanding of the broad range of impactful business models and legal structures, and using a selection of comprehensive and cutting-edge impact measurement tools. Although we are a small business, we are big on supporting our members and our focus on social capital aligns with Scotland’s mission to create a resilient wellbeing economy.
We are also proudly a social enterprise, which ensures our profits are reinvested back into our community with no shareholders. Tribe has a small board, small team and have a managed to be sustainable and not reliant on grants. We also have lots of ideas and always want tot do more and find ways to build community capacity. But we struggle to find ways to connect beyond our members, especially now that our community facing events we have run in the past are not happening due to covid.
For the past 6 months, we have been working with a service designer to come up with ways to connect and support our community post lockdown and during these strange times of distancing and restrictions. We have our long standing members who are back, members who have not come back and new members who only know us they way we are now. We interviewed a few members and they came up with some great ideas. Most of them are exploring ways to engage with other local shops and food outlets.
Some ideas include;
If any of these sound good to you or you have any ideas of your own, we would love to hear from you.
I started out saying YES, learned how to say NO and am finally pretty good at knowing when to say both.
It is my 7 year anniversary of starting Tribe Porty. May 2014, I embarked on my journey of trying to create a place for good people to do good things. I spent 11 months researching and applying for the building warrant and start up grants, renovating and engaging in community consultations. I said yes to everything and everyone. “Yes” builds bridges, “Yes” opens doors. Yes is a great way to start.
I then quit my job (that I really liked) and committed to making my vision a reality. I spent another 9 months renovating and working with the team of TEDxPortobello volunteers. TEDxPorty launched the same time as Tribe Porty and kickstarted our bigger vision of doing and seeing things differently (the theme of our fist TEDx). Over the past 7 years, we have welcomed thousands of people by providing space to work and create and we have hosted hundreds of classes, events, and workshops. We have worked with approximately 400 different freelancers, entrepreneurs, charities and social enterprises. We have renovated this tired, old building into a hive of activity, from global conferences, bike maintenance, wood workshops, music lessons and so much more. I have met so many wonderful people through Tribe, it has enriched my life beyond my imagination.
In 2018, we nearly lost our home and scrambled to save Tribe and our home here at Windsor Place. We managed to take over the long term lease of this privately owned building and once again started renovating and designing spaces to suit our ever growing community. At this time, we also launched Tribe Women, now rebranded as Keystone, an online business programme for enterprising women which combines business teaching with wellness rituals. We sold out two years in a row and have enjoyed building this powerful network.
More recent times have been challenging but the pandemic has really exemplified how strong our community really is. Members have supported Tribe and have also checked in on one another – a commitment that has genuinely demonstrated unconditional kindness by supporting the constant growth and improvement of ourselves, each other, and our wider environment. This level of showing up for one another is what it is all about and also drives the team and I to work hard for Tribe.
Although the improvements, renovations and upgrades never cease, I have also learned how to say no. I say no to things that do not fit within the values of Tribe. I no longer exhaust myself convincing people how great we are. I don’t need to. If we aren’t right for you, that is okay- we remain great either way. This might sound a bit arrogant but promise it’s not.
A big heart felt thanks and a YES!, with both arms in the air, to the past, present and future supporters, champions, members and community.
We are still here and stronger than ever.