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New-look Strange Bedfellows coming in 2015 & 16…

** Watch this space for details of new events and courses **

We’ve been “resting” Strange Bedfellows while we read and reflect on 3 years of feedback from previous course participants. This feedback has proved invaluable in shaping the new-look events we’ll be offering in the next couple of years. And we’ll be using some new venues too.

The biggest development is that we will be providing a series of 1-day (or half day) workshops for creative people of all levels of experience. The emphasis is still on experimentation and creative risk-taking but a lot of Strange Bedfellows alumni said they’d have liked longer to write, read and share – so we’ve taken that on board as we plan.

Strange Bedfellows is an innovative creativity method that uses random ephemera and juxtaposition as the impetus for new ways of thinking, creating and writing. The method develops spontaneous creative response and one of its founding principals is that an open, brave and disciplined writer, or artist/creative, can make something meaningful out of just about anything, barely nothing, or in response to any subject or prompt – no matter how random or unconnected.

6-week Strange Bedfellows writing courses have run in a number of iterations between 2011 and 2013. Every course SOLD OUT and had a reserve list and 100s of north east England creatives have now experienced The/Poetry/Fold’s way of working.

After digesting 3 year’s worth of feedback from students/participants, Lisa Matthews – Strange Bedfellows’ originator –  has decided to develop the workshop template and bring in some new ways of working. These will include:

  • More time for response and writing in situ;
  • More time to reflect on drafts and critique as a group;
  • New workshop templates inspired by performance art (though no one will be asked to “perform”), still life, meditation and The/Poetry/Fold’s new book and artefact acquisitions;
  • A distillation of Strange Bedfellows most popular workshop exercises and activities has lead to the development of some tried and tested exercises that are being refined and re-written for 2015/16.
  • Guest tutors (possibly), new venues (definitely) and some cross-discipline collaborative workshop formats.

And while Lisa has taken on-board everyone’s comments, feedback and suggestions about Strange Bedfellows it still – at its heart – relies on spontaneous creative response to random ephemera and the juxtaposition of unrelated cultural objects.


New Year, New events

In 2015-16 there will be a variety of full-day Strange Bedfellows events in the north east of England. So watch this space for news and be ready to book your place on one of the most unique creativity courses in the region. Places will be limited and anyone who has attended a previous course, or who subscribes to The/Fold, will get advance publicity.

If you’re interested in attending….

All previous versions of Strange Bedfellows have sold out and while you cannot book or pay for a place on ane event just yet, you can express and interest by dropping us a line and asking to be put on the Reserve List. If you add your name to this list you will be under no obligation to book nearer the time, however, you will get first refusal of a place. Just email: and write “SBEVENTS: reserve list request” in the subject line of your message. Or write to us at this address.

The Strange Bedfellows method

Whatever your skill level and experience, Strange Bedfellows is designed to make you write/create and reflect. In each workshop session or event there are a minimum of half a dozen writing exercises – some times a lot more – so come prepared to work hard and fire up your imagination.

While predominately of interest to creative writers, the course is also relevant & fully accessible to anyone keen to hone their creative response. As well as writers working in a variety of forms, Strange Bedfellows has been attended by photographers, songwriters/musicians, teachers and healthcare professionals.

Created and facilitated by poet Lisa Mathews, the driving principal behind Strange Bedfellows is a spontaneous and 100% random selection of artefacts, artworks and ephemera that inform workshop exercises. The course feeds on the energy and left-of-centre synergy that occurs when you put random bits of ephemera next to each other, and while it’s fast-moving, Strange Bedfellows is underpinned by well-established and robust Creative Writing theory and is facilitated by a published poet/writing professional with more than a decade of experience.

Keep up to date

Watch this space, or better still – keep abreast of upcoming courses and Poetry Fold events in our free monthly creativity e-bulletin The Fold:
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What Strange Bedfellows is – and isn’t

Writers working in prose and poetry are welcome. Dramatists, screen writers and those working in other artforms are also welcome, however, we must make it clear that Strange Bedfellows is about ideas, imagination and trying out new ways of writing. If you are looking for a masterclass, in-depth critique, or to work in a specific form we may not be for you. If unsure drop us a line/give us a call and we’ll talk you through our approach. We will never knowingly sell a place on a course if we think we are not a “good fit” for your writing aspirations.

Feedback from previous participants…

“Like shining a torch into a neglected dusty attic, Strange Bedfellows revealed so much new material for me.  Never has my writing journal been so full.”

“The course has produced a notebook full of material.”

“An eclectic range of resources inspiring you to write things you didn’t know you had inside your mind. You could attend a dozen sessions and still write completely different things.”

“Fun, different and certainly encourages you to think-outside-the-box.”

“Superbly delivered by someone with a passion for their art.”

“Awakened part of me I thought I’d lost.”

“Entertaining and incredibly stimulating.”

“Exceptional value for money. Two and a half hours of pure quality. No wasted time and a well-prepared and focused teacher.”


“A disciplined and facilitated approach to free writing and idea exploration.”

What people say

“I would recommend the course [delivered by The Poetry Fold] to a colleague – I would say it stimulates reflection, thinking and creativity.”

— Member of teaching staff ~ School of Health, Community & Education Studies, Northumbria University

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