What it’s like volunteering with Inky

a blog from Mairi, our newest volunteer, on working with Inky Fingers:

I’ve been working with Inky Finger for about four months.  I started of doing some social media work.  In such a short time though I’ve learned about organising events, decision making, even started taking some steps towards being involved in workshops, something I’ve felt quite nervous about before.  While I am able to give my own skills, I’m finding that the skills I am learning far outweigh anything that I give.

My involvement started long before this year.  I’d been to the odd open mic, I’d got to know some of the core people through other literature evenings in Edinburgh.  Then last year they put a call out for volunteers for their first Mini-fest.  I decided to volunteer.

As a Mini-fest volunteer you get thrown into the thick of it.  Dealing with the thick of it is what you are expected to do.  My first event, with training, I set up a mic and sound system.  I’d always avoided mic’s as much as I could, I found them a bit scary.  By the end of that event I found that it wasn’t half as scary as I’d imagined and gained confidence.  Given the massive range of different events there are so many things to do, everything from helping with tech, social media and the more mundane things such as making sure seats are arranged so everyone can see the stage, welcoming performers and audience as they come in.

After the mini-fest I’ve become more involved.  I can absolutely say that Inky offers a warm atmosphere, where they want all individuals to gain positive experiences.  Sometimes things are last minute.  There can always be the odd crisis with live performance, but it’s done as a group effort where everyone works together.  No one gets left on their own.

You also get to hear and see a massive range of diverse spoken word performance.  Some of the readings I attended last year had a lasting influence on my own writing.  Because of what I heard during the Mini-fest, and also at the Speigletent at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I decided that I would also write prose as well as poetry.  I’ve now been accepted on the Creative Writing Masters at Napier University.  Things that both happened because I spent August in a hothouse of creative activity.

We’re putting out another call for Mini-fest volunteers.  I really hope that you’ll be tempted to give some time.  Inky needs people, but we also want people to go away with excellent memories.  You can never tell how one thing will lead to another.