Since we’ve started scouting for creative minds in Bristol, an invite was sent to us to participate at a unique night out to meet and exchange with folks in the creative industry. Emma Chapman-Burnett, founder of Yonder Collective, welcomed us at Square Studio based at Bristol’s Paintworks workspace and creative quarter to talk about the origins and characteristics of the bespoke Bristolian meet-up she created.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Bournemouth, down South of the UK. I travelled through America for three years and came back, moving to Bristol which I completely love.
We narrowed our choice between London, Brighton and Bristol. London felt too big whereas Brighton and Bristol felt like the two best options in terms of creative cities, the final decision was made of a luck of the draw, and Bristol won.
Could you explain the meaning behind the name Yonder?
Yonder was the only domain name which was available! (laugh). It is the idea that you don’t know what happens yonder, in the future, for instance, when two people come together, meet at a table, have a great conversation, get inspired by what happens on the night of an event. Who knows what idea, what business could come from there.
How many people are behind the Yonder team?
It started out as just myself. Now I have a creative partner, Rebecca Storey. We very much collaborate on each event together. Our challenge consists of bringing together a group of people as featured artisans for the night. Chris, our main chef, is part of all the events and provides bespoke catering. We also have different illustrators, photographers and various individuals doing unique workshops, all those different people are bought in for a one off meet-up night.
Do you choose people or people come to you directly to participate at a Yonder dinner?
The very first event was invite only. Since then, there have been more people hearing about us through word of mouth, also via Instagram or from our website, signing up to our mailing list. Then invites are sent out to all the people who are interested. From people liking our spirit to those who have heard about the event, we then gather them together.
Could you describe the working process behind each event?
It usually starts with an idea followed by a lot of phone calls between Rebecca, Chris the chef, myself and a few other people to explore that core idea, building up all the elements. We normally find people that we’d love to work with, for instance an illustrator. Then we would find a theme. As an example, for this event the main theme is “evergreen” and the idea that remains. So the decoration is made of foliage and leaves, the menu is then given to the illustrator to create something within that theme. It’s like a snowball effect that happens.
Who’s the best encounter you’ve had so far?
I couldn’t fit just one! I would probably remember a couple who just moved to Bristol and they’d heard about it from Melbourne, Australia. They contacted us explaining they were moving to Bristol and booked their tickets whilst they were still in Australia!
Where do you love spending your time in the city?
Coffee shops and going for brunches, I ultimately recommend to go at Katy and Kim’s Kitchen, the best place for a brunch in Bristol, everyone should go!
Can you describe Bristol in one word?
Creative! That’s why I’ve moved here.
Emma, thank you for inviting us to your Yonder dinner!
Interview done by Morgane Bigault