What's Happening

The Big Session - Interview with Toni and Betty

Ahead of The Big Session next Saturday 12 October at Wagner Hall, we caught up Founder of The Social Society and Co-Founder of Brighton On The Inside, Betty.


Firstly, please introduce yourselves?

Hi, I’m Toni, Founder of The Social Society, social club for social good, coach, charity consultant and event organiser. I’m Betty Co-Founder of Brighton On The Inside and Founder of Join the Social Club and Marketing Lead for Goodmoney.

How did you both meet? Didn’t we hear you’re collaborating on another project?

We first met at Tedx 2018 where the social society was showcasing their new community in the founders lab. Betty came and introduced herself and we hit it off immediately! Yes we are. Betty and I are the founders of Kind is The New Cool, a kindness revolution teaching people and businesses how to put kindness at the heart of everything they do.

Tell us all about The Big Session? What inspired you to create such an event?

The Big session is about making positive change and has always been on the cards for The Social Society. We want to showcase the amazing charities we support and connect people locally with a social event that packs a punch! As a community, even in Brighton we often feel unsure around how we can make a positive impact locally, the Big Session will help change that.

In what ways do you guys create, disrupt and connect?

The Big Session gives us the opportunity to create new connections and develop new ways making positive change , challenging us to disrupt the ‘norm’ when it comes to sharing skills and services within our community and giving back to charity. It will allow us to connect key people in our community to make change collectively Following a Festival feel, the event will be structured around these three key pillars and the talks and workshops will be worked into a full schedule to follow the themes, celebrating everything that makes Brighton & Hove the unique community it is, with the help of some inspiring people to get us thinking bigger and better.


What takeaways can we expect from the day?

You will come away from the Big Session feeling inspired with new ways to support your community and make an impact. Our wellbeing hub will give you the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and gain perspective and our speakers will leave you feeling super inspired and ready to disrupt the ‘normal’ in your life!

Anything on the line up your particularly looking forward to?

Yes, sound healing by Sol design collective and Paul Richards talk about keeping it punk in social care. Oh and did we mention we have syndicate kitchen doing our popup? There’s simply too much…

Seb Royle's Letter to Members II


Hello everyone,

My last members letter was almost exactly six months ago – what a ride it’s been since then!

We opened The Grounds at Hove Town Hall in March. This was the most challenging business project I’ve been a part of and watching it come to life has been a well-earned pleasure. I originally saw the space in April 2016 so it was nearly three years of work, during which our vision was tested on many occasions. Thankfully we stuck to our guns and now PLATF9RM has a beautiful space that I hope everyone feels proud of.

We are approaching full capacity there now. This is great news but I personally feel The Grounds hasn’t reached its full potential...yet! We have a license from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week, and we want unique, informative and community-minded events happening on a daily basis. We’ve already had some huge successes – not least Kickass Women, which brought together the city’s most inspirational business women. It was an emotional day for all involved and we want more.


The walls at PLATF9RM hum with creativity, so we’re putting out a call for members to approach us with ideas: whether you want to curate a supperclub, a workshop, a conference or a comedy night, we’d love to work with you on creating something special that will enrich our members and also Hove’s community. We have an amazing soundsystem there too – as a longtime dance music fan this makes me very happy – and we’d love to see musicians and DJs putting it through its paces.


A key part of the PLATF9RM ethos has been to do good in the community and we’ve been supporting the Clock Tower Sanctuary as our chosen charity. They do life-changing work with Brighton’s young homeless population and I’m proud to announce that on July 4th I’m doing a sponsored abseil off the Brighton i360. I actually did my first ever abseil from the Inaccessible Pinnacle on the Isle of Skye last weekend. And it went well! So I’m feeling quietly okay about the i360 (though perhaps don’t hold me to this on the morning of the jump…).


Hopefully some of the PLATF9RM team will be there to cheer me on and I cannot praise them enough. They have all been extraordinary these last six months and propel us onward with their creativity and ambition.

Because of their dedication, I honestly don’t think about the day-to-day running of the business and instead focus on where PLATF9RM is going next. In fact: that’s something I’m often asked by members. ‘What’s the next project?’ I’m so lucky they take an interest in our journey but am pleased to say we’re currently enjoying a relative period of calm. Since opening at the end of 2016, we’ve been expanding relentlessly and – for a short time at least– we’re going to take stock. We want to give the business room to breathe and let The Grounds evolve. And it’s summer! What better place to be than Brighton...!

If you'd like to contribute to my charity abseil, please click through HERE, and give a little, it's for a great cause!


Thank you for reading,


Finding Your Creative Space

For many of us, getting home from a long day’s work and settling into a burning passion project is verging on unthinkable. Who has the energy or headspace for that? Well, as a matter of fact, we know a few. PLATF9RM is full of creative souls whose passion and drive helps them juggle successful careers and side projects. We asked some of them to let us into the secrets of how, when and why they switch off business mode and slip into their creative space.

Benji Lamb – Pavilion

“By day I work for a Chinese digital marketing and e-commerce agency called GMA China, but on the side I’m part of a shameless indie pop band called Pavilion. We’re really excited to have recently launched our debut single, Between Days.

PLATF9RM is my main physical space for both my career and my passion project. It’s a creative space full of creative people, so it’s easy to switch between business and creative brains during a free hour in the day. Sometimes I find it helps to simply move seats when I’m changing my focus. I also use different browsers: Safari for business, Chrome for creative. That helps me to stay on track with what I’m doing.

Juggling work and creative projects is always a challenge, but ultimately I think they both have to be a labour of love to succeed. If you’re interested enough in both, switching between isn’t too much of a chore.

I can’t say I ever really relax into being creative – in fact, being creative is the opposite of relaxing! I care too much about my music, and like any creative, I’m anxious about how it’ll be perceived. There’s also the pressure to use our time well when we’re paying for a day in the studio.

Ultimately, I think you just have to be sincere and someone, somewhere will respond. We all feel like we're screaming into the void, right?”


Becky Rui - Photographer

“I’m a personal branding photographer, but my personal projects are generally also photography based and inspired by my love of documenting things. I’m fascinated by how other people experience life! I want to share people’s stories to help them feel heard, be seen, and for everyone to feel less alone. I’m currently exploring our relationship with body hair as women.

When I’m not away on shoots I usually work on my business from PLATF9RM, because it’s where I feel most focussed, calm and business-minded. I usually edit my personal work at home or in cafes. For my personal projects I prefer not to have an outcome in my mind, allowing creativity to fully lead in the moment instead.

It can sometimes feel like there isn’t enough time to juggle everything, but I find it helps to schedule sessions in my diary for personal work and prioritise that – although if I’m not in the mood, that’s okay. It doesn’t feel right for me to be ‘making’ all the time.

I feel it’s important to allow our creative process to be what it wants to be, and be aware of how different environments, music and company can make a difference to how we feel. Space, people and sounds can all inspire us and support our flow.”


Toni Finnimore – the Social Society

“I work with charities as a consultant, I coach women in business, I support vulnerable children going through the court system, I'm an advocate for the elderly… but my passion project is the Social Society, the UK's first social club for social good. We’re moving super fast and supporting some amazing local charities.

My workspaces vary hugely, from care homes to court rooms, but my creative space is PLATF9RM. I find I can get so much work done at Hove Town Hall. It's light and airy, friendly, the coffee is delish and I get to chit chat with lots of amazing creatives. Above all, I love its consistency.

Juggling work and the Social Society means 6am coffee shop starts, followed by lots of project work and travel followed by lots of evenings and weekends. Having said this, I love every minute. I find inspiration on seafront strolls, from social society members and my whacky friends – but most often when dancing around my flat at night with headphones on!

I find that when I'm getting creative and stuck into something I love I simply feel better. I feel excited, ideas flow and I bounce up and down with excitement about the possibilities.”

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Sofaya Hussein – Headblush Glitta

“While I don’t have a side project as such, there are two very different sides to running Headblush Glitta. It’s fun at the forefront, and business at the back! I run a Glitter Bar for public and private events and make products for personal use, as well as doing all of the back-office work, from graphic design and social media to book keeping and general admin.

As you can imagine, my physical workspaces differ all the time! My admin workspace is PLATF9RM, a place where I can get my head down with my laptop and focus on the back office bits. My creative space is at home. I have a desk for playing with and applying my own makeup, where I make content for the makeup side of Headblush, and another desk for making, creating, packaging and photographing products for Headblush Glitta. The Glitter Bar is mobile, so I put my creative hat on with bold makeup and an outfit full of sequins and take the creativity with me to wherever the Glitter Bar is going that evening.

How do I get into a creative headspace? Well, after a day of admin-based work, I'm often itching to get some creativity in! A good cup of tea, a well chosen playlist and a scour for inspo on Instagram and Pinterest usually sets me up to create a bold makeup look or product shot. I find a lot of my inspiration from makeup artists, drag queens, influencers and fashonistas on Instagram and Pinterest, as well as all of the amazing, interesting people I see in Brighton and Hove on a daily basis. I love colour, so all I need is to see an interesting colour combo and my mind starts whirring!”


Lana Burgess – Digital Solace

“By day I'm a freelance writer & content strategist, and for the last four years my creative side project has been organising inclusive events for Brighton Digital Women and commissioning and editing articles for our blog. I've gained masses from growing this community and am so delighted with all the positive feedback we've had from women who have managed to advance their careers through our events. However, after an amazing journey, I recently came to the difficult decision to step away from my role with Brighton Digital Women to make room for a brand new creative project.

Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2012, I’ve been using creative journalling as a way to manage my mood. I have kept diaries since I was nine. But since my diagnosis, I've started to use journalling as a more creative and therapeutic outlet. I write most days either first thing in the morning, during the day when the mood strikes me when working from home, or in the evening if I've been at PLATF9RM.

My writing takes whatever form I need it to that day. Sometimes I write as if I were my best friend counselling myself. Sometimes as if writing a letter. Sometimes my writing is just a stream of consciousness. Sometimes it comes out as poetry. When I hit upon a topic or theme that I want to explore further, I write a post about it on my blog, Digital Solace.

A hot bath with lots of bubbles, candles, and ambient music normally helps me relax into a creative space after a long day’s work. Or if I have anxious energy to release, then a good dance around the living room to something visceral like Venetian Snares is good. My creative space involves candles. I like to journal at home with scented candles lit, main lights off, ambient music on. Your creative space is about recreating a feeling. I find once you've felt being utterly lost in flow, you know what space you need to be in to reconnect to the neural pathways that got you there.”


Launching a creative side project can feel daunting, but there are so many ways to make it work around your career. The Corcovado Project is an amazing organisation providing spaces for people to connect and create in nature, away from the pressures of everyday. This month they’re running a day long workshop which will see us learning and making both indoors and out, and exploring how to make the best of digital and analogue in nature. The fun will start at 10am, and we’ll wrap up with a hearty veggie bowl food dinner. Day tickets are limited to 40, but an additional 60 tickets are available for the evening. See you there!

An Insider's Guide To Brighton Fringe

Brighton Fringe is a unique time, as the city becomes a stage with pop-up venues in back-rooms, basement bars, and on seemingly every blade of grass. With over 4,500 performances happening across town and everything on show from absurdist comedy to imaginary porn charades (a thing...apparently), it’s a feast of performing arts.

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The festival’s director is Julian Caddy and we caught up with him to discuss the realities of organizing the UK’s biggest arts festival, the infamously doorstep-like programme, and his piping hot tips for 2019.

Hey Julian! The Fringe is a such a huge, sprawling event. How do you possibly go about organizing it?

The best way to describe Brighton Fringe is as a ‘super festival of festivals’. This is why our programme is so big. The Warren and the Spiegeltent are the biggest and most well-known but there are 155 venues taking part overall, which is effectively 155 festivals. Each one is running their own infrastructure and marketing.

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How did you get involved?

I was involved with Edinburgh Fringe initially, producing and programming shows as Artistic Director, designing and running venues. Over that time I ran 23 performance spaces, produced and programmed about 700 shows and roughly a quarter of a million people came through my doors. Being based in London at the time though it was a lot of traveling, so when the Brighton job came up it was very appealing. That was 2011 and I’ve now lived in Brighton for nearly 3 years.

Why has such a relatively small city spawned such a large festival?

Brighton Fringe is England’s largest arts festival, the UK’s second largest [after Edinburgh Fringe] and one of the largest in the world. It works here because it’s a city built around a visitor economy, with a culture of alternative lifestyle and entertainment. There are over 50 festivals here and more than 11 million people visit the city every year. It’s also near London and the confluence of these reasons makes it an ideal place for an event like the Fringe to flourish.


You are part of an international Fringe network. How many international artists do you attract?

This year we have 134 shows from 33 countries and 43 international collaborations. Some of these shows are one-person and some are ten, so it’s a huge amount of performers.

It is! How does Brighton Fringe support artists?

We do a huge programme of education throughout the year, which is free. We provide £25,000 in bursary support for artists. We have 23-or-so different awards that we give out at the end of Brighton Fringe, which artists use to get out across the country and abroad. I have been on the jury for a number of other international Fringes over the years and I also go and meet artists there, discuss the funding channels available and plot a course for them to come over. There are also dozens and dozens of artists from Brighton that have travelled to other Fringes too– Adelaide, San Diego, Cape Town, Edinburgh – and we provide assistance with this. It’s a well-trodden path and all part of our commitment to the artists.

That’s so great, now – let’s talk about that programme. It’s famously vast [this year it’s 160 pages] What would you say to someone who feels a bit overwhelmed opening it?

Start with the beginning! Up to page 18 contains a selection of shows that are award-winning or feature as part of our International Seasons which is a great stamp of quality. I would book them earlier because they are more likely to sell out, but after that I would always suggest taking a punt.

How can people keep abreast of those smaller shows that are really doing something special?

Keeping an eye on the #BrightonFringe hashtag on Twitter is the best way. It’s very busy and I will be talking about things I enjoy there. You need to be quick once you see a recommendation though because a lot of the venues are small and get booked up quickly.

I’d also suggest downloading the Fringe app. It has geolocation – so you could enter that you want to watch some comedy in the next ten minutes. It will show you something 100 yards away, which you can pay for through the app. I’m biased, but it’s very clever (and useful!).


Most people know of the bigger venues like The Warren, Spiegeltent and The Old Market, but what smaller venues do you like?

The Spire is a great venue in Kemp Town. It’s a deconsecrated church near Sussex Square that’s got some really interesting things going on and next to a lovely cafe called Marmalade. The bigger venues are great and the focal points of the Fringe but I love the smaller venues in unusual places: a beach hut or someone’s front room.

So, come on. Give us your tips for this year...

There’s one called My Home At The Intersection, which was a winner at Amsterdam Fringe. It’s a young man from the Punjab telling a story of his childhood: the audience sits on the floor covered in wheat and you taste a bit of his grandfather’s 30-year-old pickle from India. It’s got videos, interviews with his parents, and is a very touching story about intergenerational differences and life in a hugely different world to ours.

Harry Clayton Wright is doing Fortnight: an installation piece that lasts all day long for two weeks. Every day is different to the previous and it’s a marathon piece from a very well known cabaret performer and online provocateur. People will think it’s crazy…and maybe it is...

Check out everything Fringe-related here

Read these other interviews on PLATF9RM Press

Olympian Leon Taylor: Combating Business Stress With Regular Physical Movement

Balance Is Better: How Small Companies Can Close Their Gender Pay Gap