Small is Beautiful Conference - Wednesday 15th June 2016

May 18, 2016

Small is Beautiful is an annual inspirational conference and a celebration of the world of creative micro-businesses and enterprising, in Edinburgh. 

Small is Beautiful conference

From the business lessons of pirates to poetry that celebrates the power of small, the 2016 programme for Small is Beautiful is announced. Taking place at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh on 15 June, Small is Beautiful is an annual inspirational and international conference for creative solo- and micro-enterprises that brings together some of the world’s leading doers and thinkers on this 21st century approach to work.

For 2016, the speakers include Alexa Clay, author of ‘The Misfit Economy’, who will share lessons from ‘misfit’ innovators from the fringe such as pirates, gangsters, hackers and slum-dwellers. John Thackara, writer and founder of The Doors of Perception, which works with grassroots innovators and designers to imagine sustainable futures, will talk about how to thrive in the new economy. Brennan Dunn from Double Your Freelancing will explore pricing and the secret of doubling your work. Poet and novelist Jackie Kay, has been commissioned to write and perform a small poem on small and Carl Honoré, international ambassador for The Slow Movement, will close the conference.

The full programme is as follows:

10.00 Welcome from Co-produers Roanne Dods and Deborah Keogh
10.20 Alexa Clay, author of The Misfit Economy – Lessons from the Misfits
10.50 Brian Hennigan, novelist, producer and director
11.30 Bhrmie Balaran, Senior Researcher at the RSA – The real Sharing Economy
11.50 Simon Caine, comedian, podcaster and author – Social media
12.15 John Thackara, writer and founder of The Doors of Perception – Thriving in the New Economy


1.45 Patricia van den Akker, director of The Design Trust - Masterclass
2.20 Jackie Kay, author and poet – A Small Poem on Small
2.50 Rachel Laurence, New Economics Foundation – Working with the system
3.10 Deirdre Nelson, textile artist – 45 Cakes Project


4.00 Brennan Dunn, founder of – Pricing and doubling your work
4.30 Steve Lawson, musician – Making music meaningfully
4.50 Carl Honoré, writer and speaker – Closing piece on the theme of slow
5.15 Roanne Dods and Deborah Keogh close

Small is Beautiful was launched in 2014 by Co-Producers Roanne Dods and Deborah Keogh in response to the rise in microbusinesses and the number of people who work for themselves. It is aimed at creative microbusiness owners and entrepreneurs who want to learn from some of the world leaders in
microenterprise, meet like-minded creative business owners and work to improve their own business practices.

As well as curating the conference programme, Roanne Dods and Deborah Keogh are committed to nurturing new business talent. They will work with Skills Development Scotland to run the 2016 Small is Beautiful Breakthrough Fellowships, which will support and offer 20 places to student and recent graduates from Scottish colleges and universities and a dedicated programme within the conference. For the first time, Small is Beautiful will also work with the New Economics Foundation, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies and NewStart magazine to host a day on local economies in May aimed at artists and creatives based in Glasgow.

Tickets for Small is Beautiful cost £79 and are on sale at

Small is Beautiful is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.