Member of The Week

Member of the Week - Madeleine Wilson

Introducing Madeleine Wilson, Arts Manager and Producer for Theatre and Dance, as well as a bunjee jumping daredevil and seasoned festival-goer.


Hi Madeleine, could you tell us a bit about what you do?

I work as an Arts Manager & Producer for Dance/Theatre companies. It is head-spinningly varied - from project producing, event & tour management through to artist and audience development. I love getting unusual performances seen by broad audiences: I've supported a one-man show out in Tipperary, worked with cinemas in Germany & Switzerland to showcase Europe's first live-streamed film, hosted an artist photo shoot out at a shipping yard and am about to start working on dance/skater workshops for young people, held at underground Turkish baths in the South East.


You studied at Central St. Martins, what was the most valuable thing you learnt during your studies?

To embrace your madness. I studied Fine Art & Performance: one of my colleagues once cut a hole in the floor from the top of the building to the bottom and poured paint through it. I arrived at my class one day and my colleague Ron had strapped himself to the ceiling. Another day he was dressed as a giant toothpaste. I made installations with actors and dancers dressed in baking paper. We drew, painted and made every day - it was heaven...you realise everyone is a bit bonkers.


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What motivates you to make the work you produce?


On another note - there are so many great things about the digital age we’re in (freelancing being one of them!), but it's vital we don't isolate ourselves. Live performance is an antidote for spending time in front of screens; it’s about connection. There's nothing else that evokes the feeling and thrill of live performance.

It seems you’re a fan of floor 6, what is it that attracts you to this part of PLATF9RM?

HANG ON - there's another floor?! Kidding...the light up here is lovely and the people too.


What drew you to coworking at PLATF9RM?

When I worked for an organisation our team popped here to use your lovely meeting rooms - but I was always more intrigued by what was going on at PLATF9RM - there are so many interesting people and businesses. The moment I went self-employed I signed up. I really appreciate being around other freelance folks.


Would you recommend coworking to other freelancers in the theatre or dance industry?

I’ve only been freelance for about 6 months and it was terrifying at first. But, I absolutely love it because now I can work on a number of different projects with amazing organisations and they all coexist. You can get isolated very quickly as a freelancer, but being here you notice all the time that people are energised by their work, they actually want to come to work - the optimism is so exciting. There’s a real entrepreneurial spirit and community. It’s almost a lifestyle choice, I can't recommend it enough.


Brighton’s pretty special and there’s a different appeal for everyone, what is it that you love about the city?

Well I'm from here (I know, a rare breed) so my perspective is probably a little different...but there is definitely something magical in the water...the characters, the creativity, I used to work at the Theatre Royal on New Road and swear there was more drama offstage than on!


What’s the most dangerous sport/activity you’ve done?

I lived on a banana plantation in Uganda for a little while and took part in a bungee jump over the Nile - it was terrifying and spectacular. Ironically, the dangerous part was finding out the instructor preparing my equipment was an alcoholic...but I try not to think about that!


You’ve been a part of loads of festivals and other experiences during your years in the arts, anything you’d recommend going to?

Ooh, I love performance festivals. If you have the inclination then Manchester International Festival and In Between Time festival are some of the UK's finest. Tanztage in Berlin is definitely worth a look - I saw the Invisible Center of Contemporary Dance (Iran) who rehearse in secret, they are from Tehran where dancing is largely seen as an erotic act and is highly censored.



Thank you Madeleine!

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Member of the Week - Sophie Haslam

When she's not taking in the sunshine in Seville or turning up the disco music, you'll find Sophie Haslam at PLATF9RM Hove using her wills and ways for her travel suited role at Brighton Third Sector Training.


First things first, could you please describe your role within Brighton Third Sector Training?

I am Project Co-Ordinator at B3ST. We work as both a sending & receiving organisation; recruiting people in the UK to do 3-month internships in Seville as well as receiving students here in Brighton and finding them internships in a variety of different sectors. Every 3 months we send 18 students to Seville who fulfils a range of different positions, from research assistants in a scientific lab, translator roles working for non-profit organisations who defend consumer rights, working in sustainable food production community gardens and English Teaching roles - amongst many other things!

Bright Third Sector Training specialises in community development, could you explain a little of what this means and why it’s so important?

Several of our placements are centred around community development based projects, some are non-profit organisations who rely on support & passion from people in the community who are trying to make a worthwhile change. These are some of our most popular internships, the opportunity for people to go out and get first-hand experience whilst also learning Spanish in a beautiful part of Spain is a pretty enticing opportunity for most!

What do you find to be the most exciting part of your job?

Helping people who are applying for our internships move forward in the right steps towards their career. Generally, applicants have just finished a university degree or masters and our internship will be their first real working experience in their chosen field. They’re all excited and up for the challenge of living and working somewhere completely new and it’s so nice to see. Also, getting to go to Seville 3 times a year for a week or 2 each time isn’t too bad.

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You’re still quite new to PLATF9RM, how have you found it settling in so far?

I really enjoy working at PLATF9RM, I haven’t yet made the most of any of the PLATF9RM events as I have been away quite a bit with work but am looking forward to becoming more involved!


Being a PLATF9RM member that is predominantly in Hove, what is it about the space that draws you there?

The Hove spot is a 2-minute cycle from my house which is amazing. I also find it a little less busy than Brighton although I do love the views from Floor 5 & 6 at Tower Point! The new Hove space is also amazing, I’m really looking forward to the bar/café to open!


How does coworking at PLATF9RM help you with your work?

I would say co-working at PLATF9RM has helped me be more productive. I generally don’t like working from home and avoid doing it. PLATF9RM is a light creative friendly space which makes it a joy to work from.


If you’re having a bad day, what music do you whack on to pick yourself up?

On a bad and good day, I enjoy tuning into Radio 6 and listening to new and old music and what’s going on in the world. Otherwise, I guess some good disco music never fails to pick me up when I’m down!


Where is your favourite place in the world?

I recently just came back from Portugal which I really loved, I went to Lisbon and then my boyfriend & I drove to the coast, we stayed in a little town called Ericeira which was so beautiful. The people in Portugal are so friendly and everyone speaks amazing English – I’m looking forward to going back and discovering more of the country. I always struggle to answer favourite questions, I’m quite an indecisive person so I’m always changing my mind however I would say that India would be one of my favourite places in the world. Amongst all the chaos I always seem to find a sense of calm there.


Which ‘Friends’ character do you identify most with?

I would probably be some annoying cross combination of Phoebe & Monica!

Company of the Week - Social Brighton

Introducing this week's company of the week Social Brighton Ltd. Settled into their new office space (check out their pics and plants!) Kerry Watkins, Daria Szotek and Callum McGranaghan are the solid team that are the heart and soul of this company. Let's take it away!


Hello Team! Tell us a bit about your company Social Brighton Ltd, its history and how you help people get the best of Social Media.

The company started in 2010, after Kerry had had enough of her previous career of running night clubs. Long nights and a young daughter equals knackering. When social first became an opportunity for small businesses to reach new people, there were loads of agencies adding ‘social media’ as a bullet point on their list of services but very few were really focused on it. They just saw it as an add-on and I wanted to make sure businesses were really able to get the best out of it.


So you’ve worked with some great local and national companies, such as The Grand Hotel, Toni & Guy and Picturehouse Cinemas. Which one has been your absolute highlight?

Tough to say, we love all our clients! Toni&Guy in particular was a great project because we achieved fantastic results for them (35% growth in number of clients), and have now instilled the confidence in them and trained their staff so they can bring it in house. It’s really rewarding to see it come full circle like that!


Do you have a hot Social Media Tip that you’re willing to share with the PLATF9RM community for free? (A 'Social Brighton teaser’ if you like!)

The 2 cent strategy is a really powerful tool for organic instagram growth. It’s too long to go into here but we spoke about it on our last #WednesdayWisdom on our Instagram.


How are you liking PLATF9RM and how has it improved your work so far?

We’ve been here since it opened in 2017 and love it. It’s led to loads of new friends, collaborations and a lot of new business too!

Describe PLATF9RM in three words.

Collaborative, community, rebellious


What’s your favourite spot in Brighton and Hove?

Hove beach, love being by the sea and it’s more peaceful than Brighton beach.


If you were to take over PLATF9RM’s Social Media platforms for one day, what’s the first thing you would do?

Get videoing the people that use PLATF9RM and share what they do in the community. Using Social to amplify what happens offline is a great way to build engagement and support your members.

Or just more dogs.

In your opinion, what does the future of Social Media look like?

More communication, less ‘marketing’. The brand new event we’re running later this year, in collaboration with Toby and the Content Club team, is all about making digital a more positive space through responsible and innovative marketing. Social networks seem to be working towards participation and well-being (albeit too slowly) rather than vanity metrics.

Last, but not least, we read that you once filmed someone dressed as lobsters?! Errrm…Details please?

Inspired after our smartphone video course we run in collaboration with Kim Slade (a PLATF9RM collaboration!) Kerry went off to get some practice and filmed her husband and his colleague (in 54mph winds!) in a short spoof Guinness advert to help the Lion and Lobster pub promote the Six Nations. It was one of those ideas that comes about after a few too many glasses of wine.


Thank you Social Brighton Ltd!

Written by PLATF9RM'S Front of House, Louisa Kazig.

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.

Member of the Week - Steve Bustin

Steve Bustin of Get Your Voice Heard is one of our dedicated desk holders at Tower Point. He’s a business communication expert who spends most of his time working as a professional speaker and public speaking coach.


Hi Steve! What drew you to the world of business communications and keynote speaking?

I’ve always been interested in communications and the media - I started a family newspaper when I was 8! My first job was as a journalist for BBC News then I moved into PR, eventually running my own agency. People started asking me to speak at or compere their events and I realised it was something I’m good at, something I enjoy and something that could earn me a living. I’m still fascinated by how we communicate as individuals and as organisations. So many businesses get it SO wrong then wonder why they’re not seeing the results they’d hoped for.


You’ve had many varied paths in your career and seemed to have achieved success to anything you’ve put your mind to! What’s your secret?

I’m not sure I have a secret beyond making sure you enjoy what you do. I love what I do for a living, I love the variety and I love the challenges it brings me. I don’t get ‘Sunday night blues’ - and I always say that if you do, you’re in the wrong job! Life is too short to be doing something that doesn’t make you happy - but it’s up to you to change it.


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Do you have a particular career highlight you’d like to share?

Crikey - it’s hard to pin down one thing from a 25+ year career (yes, I’m that old!) I started as a Broadcast Journalist for BBC News. On the day after the 1997 election, I was sent to ‘doorstep’ Margaret Thatcher and interviewed her outside her home, then later that day was sent to Tony Blair’s house in Islington and ended up getting a few words from him on the day he became Prime Minister - that was quite an exciting day! Since starting my own business in 2002, highlights would have to be being named UK Speaker of the Year in 2015 and the publication of my first book, The Authority Guide To Presenting and Public Speaking, in 2016.

I suppose the other more recent and slightly odd ‘highlight’ was the discovery last year that I’ve, unwittingly, become the face of an online international dating scam, with my photos being used on fake profiles on dating sites to scam women out of money. One of the women contacted me and we ended up going public with the story.

I appeared all over TV and newspapers, largely to try to raise awareness of the issue and to warn women, not to date ‘me’ online! It’s all about to come around again as (a) I’m now filming a documentary for the BBC about it and (b) Peter James has just based his new Roy Grace detective novel loosely on my story! I also now give keynote speeches about it, telling the story of what happened (which is equally hilarious and horrifying) and giving advice on how to protect yourself online, how to spot a scam and how to turn the most unlikely of events into a business opportunity.


You’re one of our long-term dedicated desk members, what has kept you at PLATF9RM?

I’ve been a co-worker in a number of spaces over the last 12 years or so but I loved PLATF9RM the moment I walked in - the atmosphere, the people and the surroundings. It’s professional without being corporate and informal without feeling like a student union (which some co-working spaces definitely do!) I think the team strike a remarkably good balance in keeping the space (and the occupants) in fine form.

Are there any events you would recommend for new members to attend?

I don’t get to as many PLATF9RM events as I’d like to because of the slightly odd schedule I keep, but I’ve enjoyed Cereal Filler, as it’s a great way to learn more about your co-workers, and I’ve been to a couple of excellent workshops - and walkshops!

What is your favourite part of PLATF9RM?

I’m tempted to say the coffee machine, I’ve been struggling with chronic back pain for the last few months so I’ve spent a fair amount of time working flat on my back on the sofas outside the 6th floor training rooms, or keeping myself moving and taking screen breaks by walking down the back stairwell, through the car park then up the front stairwell. It’s good exercise!

As a theatre-lover and critic, do you have any recommendations of what we should go and see?

I’m definitely an arts lover - I’m a Trustee of Brighton Fringe and as a journalist used to write about arts for publications including The Times and was a theatre critic for LBC radio. With the Fringe and Festival coming to an end, it can feel like there’s nothing happening in the city, arts-wise, but nothing could be further from the truth. There’s no one show I’d specifically recommend right now but it always amazes me how many people miss out by not being across what’s coming up. Sign up for email or mailing lists for all the local venues such as The Old Market, Brighton Open Air Theatre and The Marlborough, and look out for the pop-up events such as the Picturehouse open-air cinema at Preston Manor.

I know that you’re a fan of drag, do you have any favourite queens? Local or otherwise?

It’s probably more precise to say I’m a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race! My husband and I have been watching it (originally slightly illegally) right since season 1 and it’s one of the most joyous, life-affirming shows on TV. It’s also refreshing to see a show that celebrates gay lives in such an unapologetic way. Favourite queens? Latrice Royale, obvs, and Bianca Del Rio (who’s playing The Brighton Centre again in September) and as Season 11 nears its end we’re definitely #TeamYvie Locally I think the drag scene is decidedly old-fashioned. I’m looking forward to DragRace UK starting on BBC3 later this year and am hoping it will help modernise the drag scene by making people realise how drag is an art form that really can push boundaries and change lives.

What keeps you motivated?

I’m tempted to say money, coffee and cake - not necessarily in that order! In reality, I love what I do and feel like I’ve really found my niche and my professional calling. When I’m on stage as a speaker or compere I love being able to entertain and also educate, giving people something useful they can take away and apply to their business.

When I’m not on stage myself, I’m usually coaching other people how to do it, which is incredibly rewarding, seeing someone go from a bag of nerves who dreads setting foot on a stage (or even just standing up in a meeting) to someone who can deliver to an audience with confidence and creativity. I’m like a proud parent when I see them enjoying their first round of applause and that’s very motivating to keep doing what I do!


For more information about Steve’s business, check out www.getyourvoiceheard.co.uk, www.youtube.com/stevebustin or https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevebustin/ or contact steve@stevebustin.com

Thank you Steve!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.