Meet the team

Our Team

With over 100 years of collective experience, our friendly team of teaching artists are here to provide excellent bespoke workshops.

John Stoddart

Co-Founder/Director

John is a screenwriter, start-up consultant and blue skies thinker who created the concept of Camena. On beginning to work with Anita Govan, he began to realise the fundamental neurological benefits that poetry brings have the potential to have an enormous and profound impact on wellbeing and development in the workplace.

John has a background in the literary arts. Presently chairperson of Edinburgh Literary Salon he has been facilitating and mentoring poets, writers and promoting events. He is a believer in a holistic approach to development and wellbeing; and the significant benefits that literary arts can bring to all aspects of life and business.

Blythe Robertson

Director

Blythe Robertson works extensively across the public and creative sectors. He led the Scottish Government’s internationally acclaimed work on health literacy. This included presentations with the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, and to conference audiences across the UK and Europe.

He has been a partner of Book Week Scotland and Robert Louis Stevenson Day through his silent reading social event, Hush Hour.

His work on the global promotion of the arts has included stints with The Istanbul Review and The Bridge Awards, as well as projects such as Echoes of the City, which geo-located new creative works associated with unique places across Edinburgh city centre.

Meet our Tutors

Anita Govan

Co-Founder/Director, Lead Tutor

Camena Co-founder and Director, Anita is a pioneering Performance poet and visionary Teaching Artist; Co-founder of Scottish Youth Poetry Slam and former Stirling Makar (2012-15). She first trained in theatre as a dancer, then as a community drama facilitator, before developing many successful projects and events. A published writer, she developed her creative practice utilizing poetry and performance while teaching with Edinburgh Acting School; and it was here that she discovered the transformative impact that poetry and performance could have.

Anita trained with Keith Johnstone in Canada, returning to Scotland to integrate this practice and philosophy into her teaching practice. She has worked with Amnesty International, Scottish Heritage, Stirling University, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Aberdeen Creative Learning Team and the Wellcome Trust.

“Delivered with heart, conviction and the insight that comes from years of valuable experience in the subject”

“He has a natural way of making folk feel comfortable in his company. This is ideal for encouraging and developing those who attend his workshops to explore their potential” Jennifer Harley

Chair of the Federation of Writers (Scotland)

Charlie Gracie

Tutor

Charlie Gracie is a poet and prose writer with a broad experience in learning and organisational development. He has published one novel (To Live With What You Are, 2019, Postbox Press) and two poetry collections (Good Morning, 2010 and Tales from the Dartry Mountains, 2020, both Diehard Press). He is the 2020 official Scriever for the Federation of Writers (Scotland), Chair of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, and an experienced workshop facilitator. Charlie is a social work Practice Educator, worked with the Universities of Stirling and Strathclyde and has developed and delivered training for organisations in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Charlie Gracie

Tutor

Charlie Gracie is a poet and prose writer with a broad experience in learning and organisational development. He has published one novel (To Live With What You Are, 2019, Postbox Press) and two poetry collections (Good Morning, 2010 and Tales from the Dartry Mountains, 2020, both Diehard Press). He is the 2020 official Scriever for the Federation of Writers (Scotland), Chair of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, and an experienced workshop facilitator. Charlie is a social work Practice Educator, worked with the Universities of Stirling and Strathclyde and has developed and delivered training for organisations in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

“He has a natural way of making folk feel comfortable in his company. This is ideal for encouraging and developing those who attend his workshops to explore their potential” Jennifer Harley

Chair of the Federation of Writers (Scotland)

Jacob Sam La-Rose

Tutor

Jacob Sam-La Rose’s writing has been translated into Portuguese, Latvian, French and Dutch, and his poetry collection Breaking Silence is studied at A’ level. Beyond his own writing, his work as an artistic director, editor and educator focuses on young people, teachers, emerging poets and others who benefit from an investment

in creative expression. For 20+ years, Sam-La Rose has devised and delivered poetry programmes both independently and in partnership with institutions and agencies, nationally and internationally. For 2020, Sam-La Rose is a poetry professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, poet-in-residence for English Heritage, and directs the Barbican Young Poets programme.

“When you step into one of Jacob’s workshops everyone in that room becomes equal and that feeling is sustained and maintained by Jacob’s universal love for poetry.”

Deborah Stevenson

“Creative writing powerhouse in Stirling and beyond, as well as all-round friendly whirlwind of positive energy”

Dr Chris Powici – Poet, University Tutor, Literary Editor

Laura Fyfe

Tutor

Laura Fyfe lives in central Scotland and is  the current Stirling Makar. An education professional with an M.Ed in Educational Enquiry, she has taught in schools for nearly twenty years, facilitated writing workshops for ten and leads  RespectMe anti-bullying workshops for professionals. She writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction and mentors writers.

A leading voice in writing communities across Scotland, she is a member of the Board of the Scottish Poetry Library and a Director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre. Her non-fiction books, Wellspring and Magpie Mind help people defeat procrastination and live more creative lives.

Laura Fyfe

Tutor

Laura Fyfe lives in central Scotland and is  the current Stirling Makar. An education professional with an M.Ed in Educational Enquiry, she has taught in schools for nearly twenty years, facilitated writing workshops for ten and leads  RespectMe anti-bullying workshops for professionals. She writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction and mentors writers.

A leading voice in writing communities across Scotland, she is a member of the Board of the Scottish Poetry Library and a Director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre. Her non-fiction books, Wellspring and Magpie Mind help people defeat procrastination and live more creative lives.

“Creative writing powerhouse in Stirling and beyond, as well as all-round friendly whirlwind of positive energy”

Dr Chris Powici – Poet, University Tutor, Literary Editor

Tawona Sithole

Tutor

Better known by his ancestral family name (Ganyamatope), his heritage inspires him to make connections with others through creativity-inspired learning. Tawona is widely published as a poet, playwright, and short story author.

A storyteller and musician, he is a co-founder of Seeds of Thought – a non-funded arts group. Currently a UNESCO artist-in-residence at the University of Glasgow, with research and teaching roles in the School of Education and Medical School.

His other educational roles are with Glasgow School of Art, the University of the West of Scotland, the University of Stirling, Newcastle University, and the Scottish Book Trust.

“Tawona made us all forget that we were on zoom. This is absolutely a testament to the trust he developed with all the participants and how enjoyable each session was.”

Allan Othiello – poetry mentee