Winter 2011/12

So we just went right from summer to winter? No, time doesn’t work differently in my world. It was such a busy autumn that I was ahem, remiss in updating this blog about what I’m up to at work. Because I was up to too much. Ah well, here I am now, with loads to catch you up on.

My main client, Creative Tourist, had a very busy few months programming, producing content and preparing for the 2011 Manchester Weekender festival, which was a roaring success. October’s always crazy in Manchester, what with five or six festivals sharing the city; The Weekender gets them all together for a few delightfully frantic days of cultural gluttony. This year, I especially loved Lip Service’s Hysterical Historical Walking Tour, the Manchester Camerata and poet Michael Symmons Roberts teaming up for A Portrait of Music and Words, and the Beating Wing Orchestra’s fantastic gig at Castlefield Gallery. For a great roundup of the festival, check out our Weekender page on Storify, a new multimedia curation tool I am loving right now.

I’ve also enjoyed doing some more writing for the Creative Tourist site, like this feature on the excellent Picturing Politics poster exhibition at People’s History Museum. In other news, I’m very happy that Susie Stubbs has  returned from maternity leave and is now sharing editor duties with me. It’s a wonderful project to be involved in, and there’s lots of great stuff planned for 2012.

Openstories, the literature organisation I run, also had a busy fall. Rainy City Stories, our long-running locative creative writing project, went on hiatus (sniff) so we could concentrate on The Real Story, a creative nonfiction project that will serve as our main focus for the next year or two. Over the summer we ran a very popular life writing course and a personal essay competition as part of the project. The five winners’ essays were published on The Real Story website, which launched with a reading at The Deaf Institute during the Manchester Literature Festival. I am proud to be publishing such a fine collection of essays, and am happily plotting our activity for 2012, which looks to feature more creative nonfiction workshops and another publishing project, very possibly focusing on long form narrative writing. I’ve also been reading lots of wonderful nonfiction; most recently Jackie Kay’s winning memoir Red Dust RoadIn Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, and this amazing essay in The New York Times by Cynthia Zarin, one of my favourite professors at Columbia Journalism School. I can’t wait to read the book it’s extracted from.

Oh yeah. Openstories was profiled in a Blankpages feature about creative writing organisations in Manchester. Check it out here: it’s called A Community Speaks.

For the sixth year in a row I coordinated the Manchester Blog Awards in October, which attracted more than 200 entries and showcased a really engaging and wide-ranging group of blogs this year. The event, held in conjunction with The Real Story launch, went well and featured a very professional group of Manchester writers reading their work to an attentive, full-capacity crowd. I’m constantly amazed at how much writing talent there is in this city. Head here for links to the shortlisted and award-winning blogs, which cover everthing from short movie reviews to psychogeography to scary junk food.

I have developed a nice relationship with Cornerhouse, and will continue to work with their Digital Reporters training scheme delivering regular sessions on blogging. I also ran a sold-out workshop for the general public called The Art of Blogging, and have plans to do a similar one there in the new year. Follow me on Twitter (@katefeld) if you want to hear about this one in time to get tickets!

I’m not actively seeking new clients for major (ie long-term and time-consuming) projects as I’m currently working just two days a week, but if you have a short term project you’d like to get me involved in, get in touch. I’ll be back on here in the spring with another update. Well, unless I don’t manage to get on here until summer. That could happen, I suppose.

All best wishes for a joyous 2012.

– Kate

Summer 2011

Hello and happy summer. The big news is that Openstories, the nonprofit arts group I run with Chris Horkan and Cathy Bolton, has launched a new project. The Real Story is a celebration of creative nonfiction, and will publish new writing in the genre on a website to be launched at Manchester Literature Festival 2011. We’re kicking things off with a life writing workshop I’m teaching at City Library July 30, and a writing competition that closes at the end of August. I’m really happy to be doing this project, I’ve been interested in creative nonfiction for a very long time, and have been lucky enough to do some work with Lancaster Litfest that has expanded my love for this under-appreciated field of writing.

The Manchester International Festival is just starting, and I’m gearing up to do a ton of blogging and livetweeting about this year’s jam-packed programme. I’m most excited about Bjork and Music Boxes going in, but if this year’s anything like previous fests, it’s often something unexpected that turns out to be your favourite.

Creative Tourist has been busy – our brand new family city guide, Six Whole Weeks? is online now, stuffed with great things to do over the summer in Manchester. It was a lot of fun to write and research this one (thanks to my daughters Molly and Bella, who should probably share research credit.) Work is already underway on CT’s Manchester Weekender, a full weekend of amazingly cool stuff that happens when five festivals concurrently going on in the city overlap and cross-pollinate.

I recently moderated a panel about approaching agents and publishers for Creative Industries Trafford. We had a full house and the event went very smoothly, thanks to our lovely panellists Oli Munson, Sophie Buchan and John Jarrold who came up from London to give Manchester writers some very sound advice.




Spring 2011

Hello world! I have finally emerged from my maternity leave hibernation, blinking in the light. Baby Bella is six months old now, and doing really well. I’m now back at work two days a week and delighted to be using my brain again.

The most exciting news is that I have taken over as editor of Creative Tourist, Manchester Museums Consortium’s website and city culture campaign hub. I’ve been working with CT since it began and am delighted to be taking the reins from the excellent Susie Stubbs, who is now on maternity leave herself. CT has an unbelievably busy spring planned – our winter/spring 2011 city guide is just about to launch and exciting new projects around BBC’s move to MediaCity:UK and the Manchester International Festival lurk just around the corner.

I’ve also been asked to teach a Life Writing course in conjunction with Lancaster’s fabulous Litfest. The two-day workshop is taking place April 4 and 11 at the Storey Institute. In preparation, I’m reading some of  Life Writing’s greats (Diana Athill is my favourite at the moment) and working through some personal essays and memoir-writing exercises.

I’m also working on some exciting new literature development projects with Manchester Literature Festival and Openstories, and finding the time to do a few interesting copywriting projects.  2011 looks set to be a busy one.

Summer 2010

Big changes ahead. I’ll be winding up all my current work projects through June and July as I prepare to devote myself to a single very important project: My second child is due in mid-August, and I expect to be on maternity leave from August 4 until early 2011.  I have arranged maternity cover on all of my ongoing projects, but I’ll be picking up emails intermittently, so go ahead and drop me a line if you feel like it.

Here’s what I’ve been up to in the meantime:

It’s been a fabulous month for Creative Tourist, the web magazine I do editorial work on. We bagged two coveted Big Chip Awards: the award for best online brand development, and a special commendation for best public sector project. It’s lovely to see all of our hard work recognised.

The literature and technology organisation I run, Openstories, has been awarded a £10,000 grant for the arts from Arts Council England to fund our activities through summer 2011. This means we can develop our current slate of projects, including the Manchester Blog Awards and Rainy City Stories further while investigating some intriguing new ideas we’ve cooked up for future projects.

I’ve organised another successful Rainy City Stories creative writing workshop series. This one was our most ambitious yet, with sessions covering every district in Greater Manchester.  I am delighted to have worked with our wonderful and talented workshop leaders (Nick Royle, Jenn Ashworth, Suzanne Batty and Shamshad Khan) and big thanks to AGMA for funding it all.

It’s been a busy time for Rainy City Stories. We’ve also teamed up with Creative Tourist for a summertime urban short story contest, Rain Never Stops Play. I’ll be helping organise and judge this and am really looking forward to reading the entries. We’re also planning a great event for the Manchester Literature Festival in October.

In other writing news, the Speculative Fiction Writing Group I started up at MadLab has been growing quickly, with 15 people now involved. It’s encouraging to learn that there are so many hardworking writers in Manchester, and it’s great to get stuck in to writing some short stories again.

It’s been great to see a trio of impressive new websites launch in Manchester: Visit Manchester, Creative Times and Go See This. I contributed writing to the first two and was heavily involved in developing the content for Go See This, an incredibly useful and user-friendly new what’s on guide for the city of Manchester.

I’ve also been working on a number of interesting copywriting projects. It hasn’t been all hard work, though. Some of my work has been downright enjoyable, like researching this article for Creative Tourist about wild swimming spots near Manchester. What a fabulous way to cool off!

Spring 2010

Crikey. It’s been a hectic few months round here. Recent work has included:

– FutureEverything’s City Debate, where I joined city leaders, thinkers and some very smart people in discussing what the future of Manchester should look like. I’ve recapped the discussion here.

– Running a series of blogging, webwriting and scriptwriting workshops for young people with MYVP and Littlestar Media.

– Organising a second series of free creative writing workshops across Greater Manchester for the Rainy City Stories project, made possible by the lovely people at AGMA. I’m also working on another RCS short story contest, and plotting lots of exciting RCS shenanigans for the Manchester Literature Festival in October…

– … as well as other projects involving literature, writing and technology for Openstories, the new arts organisation I’ve set up with Cathy Bolton and Chris Horkan. (May the funding fairy smile on us.)

– A big copywriting project for Marketing Manchester’s Manchester International newspaper for MIPIM, as well as a profile of Sharp project founder Sue Woodward for their MCR magazine. Also did a bit of writing for the soon-to-launch Visit Manchester website.

– Loads of writing, commissioning, editing and sub-editing for the Manchester Museums Consortium’s fabulous webmagazine Creative Tourist, which is up for several awards, doncha know? I especially enjoyed writing this piece about a fascinating exhibition at Chinese Arts Centre

– Attending a cultural leadership development day, part of the Cultural Leadership Programme run by MLA, the Arts Council and Creative and Cultural Skills. Highly recommended.

– Developing the Aggregator Project with a group of my blogging brethren, an effort to showcase the best work of  Manchester-based bloggers (online and, eventually, off. )

– Taking part in Digital Playpen, an informal digital/cultural communications group with folks from Manchester’s creative and cultural sector.

– Working with folks at the MadLab (Manchester Digital Laboratory) to develop writing, pubishing and literary events at the Edge Street space.

– Organising blog meets in Manchester and planning the 2010 Manchester Blog Awards . And, as always, doing plenty of blogging myself on my urban arts and culture blog Manchizzle.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’m expecting a new baby in August. Plenty more to get on with before maternity leave beckons!

Winter 2010

So what have I been up to? Mainly I’ve been working on the content for a new arts listings website in Manchester. It’ll be launching in March, so I’ll update this post with the details then, but it’s been a really interesting project that has consumed much of my time for the last couple of months.

I continue to contribute regularly to, an exciting collaboration that sees me poking my nose into all sorts of interesting places around cultural Manchester.

The 2009 Manchester Literature Festival was a big success overall and I’m pleased to report that both of my projects came off without a hitch. The Rainy City Stories events sold out quickly and went well, and the fourth annual Manchester Blog Awards was bigger than ever before at the brand new Band on The Wall.  Now I’m working on lining up funding for next year’s events. I’m also setting up a series of Rainy City Stories creative writing workshops throughout Greater Manchester to take place this spring, and planning a very exciting writing contest for the website.

With Chris Horkan of Oh Digital and Cathy Bolton of MLF I’m setting up a non-profit organisation, Openstories, that will work on projects that involve literature and technology. Paperwork galore, but hopefully some great projects to come once the red tape is out of the way.

The blogging work continues. I’m involved with a group of bloggers who are trying to set up a local blog aggregator/publication in Manchester. And my own blog, Manchizzle, was recently named one of’s Top 50 Blogs About Good Stuff, a real honour as it means the blog is in the top tier of UK travel and culture blogs.

Summer/Autumn 09

Whew! The Manchester International Festival has finally rolled out of town, leaving a city full of blissed out culturehounds lolling helplessly in its wake. This year I gave my press pass a serious workout, reviewing several of the events on The Manchizzle. My review of It Felt Like a Kiss seemed to spark the most discussion, but the high point of the festival for me was Antony and the Johnsons incredible performance with Manchester Camerata.

This month I’m busy working on content for the newly-launched Creative Tourist website for the Manchester Museums Commission; I’m helping editor Susie Stubbs polish up the writing and am in charge of getting local bloggers to contribute guest posts for this fine web magazine. I’m really happy with how the site looks, and it seems to have been very well received.

The Guardian asked me to contribute to an article in which city bloggers suggested alternative lunch break activities for tourists in UK cities. I told people to go mooch around Castlefield and soak up the ambiance in Manchester’s most cinematic district. You can read it here.

I’m nearly ready to launch the new website for the Manchester Blog Awards, and am working on this year’s live event which will take place October 21 at Band on the Wall, and feature author Jenn Ashworth,  a host of Mancunian blogsmiths reading their work, and the return of the Blogapalooza mp3 djs. I’m excited about holding the awards at this iconic and newly reborn venue, and am also pleased about this year’s support from Arts Council England, which has enabled us to up the ante and put together a bigger and better event. Though they wouldn’t pony up for the uniformed monkeys presenting awards. There goes my beautiful vision.

And I’m getting some help from the fine folks at Radio Regen on podcasting. After some training from them I’ll be able to produce the first of our planned series of podcasts featuring writers from the Rainy City Stories project reading their contributions. This will launch in a live event at the Manchester Literature Festival in October. Which promises to be a busy month indeed…