Our recent speaker Suzanne has been reflecting on her talk and experience… 

So here I am out the other side of my Cardiff CM talk and marveling at the persuasive powers that some people possess. I’m a great fan of Cardiff CM and of the team that give so much of their time and energy to driving it but I’ll admit that I wasn’t much enamoured with the concept of speaking. I turn up each month relaxed; safe in the knowledge that some other creative soul, with much more interesting things to say, will regail me with stories of their work/life battles/achievements and impress me with their brilliance. Combined with free coffee and some friendly networking it’s an agreeable way to start a day.

So having been cajoled into sharing a few moments of my own story; how would I describe the experience?  Well, true to form both the team and the audience were warm, supportive and responsive. Month after month  this coming together of familiar, friendly faces makes the world feel like a sunnier place and so it felt good to give a tiny bit in return.

I was acutely aware that people had a small window of time before their work beckoned and they had to get on with their day. It’s been a long life - I edited hard. In hindsight I left some major things out and put some minor things in. Maybe I gave people the wrong end of the stick. Maybe I need to do another talk just to clarify what I said and didn’t say the first time around. And maybe I shouldn’t say another word. Hindsight, apparently it’s a wonderful thing.
Ultimately, thanks to everyone involved, I can honestly say I’d recommend it. Whether you feel you’ve got something to say or not, if Melin or one of the team get in touch, say yes. I can assure you that the CM crowd are very, very good listeners.

Watch Suzanne’s inspiring talk here

We recently published the brilliant Gavin Strange’s CreativeMorning talk on Love. His passion for what he does was tangible and we all left reeling from his barrage of inspiration and gifs! Our partners for that month were the talented group that make up BrandSixtyEight, a group of design and branding specialists based in Cardiff Bay. Director James Horsham was inspired to do a write up:

We really enjoyed supporting CreativeMornings and particularly enjoyed the theme of love and Gavin chose ‘love what you do’ as his take on it.

There were about 100 in the room eagerly awaiting his start and when he did he didn’t disappoint.

The rap music began and Gavin very naturally danced his way into his talk. I think everybody was a bit surprised but at the same time excited about what was coming. The good news is the man can dance. I remember thinking at the time ‘a big entrance, hope the rest is as good’ and it was.

Gavin clearly has a lot of energy and a genuine love of life, his family and his work. His presentation never stood still. He talks at a million miles per hour and his slides go at a similar pace. I was amazed at how he managed to go so fast and keep everything in sync.

Gavin packed so much in and came at it with so much pace and energy it was hard to fully absorb. What I do remember and what I have taken from it is if you love what you do and you work hard you will be successful. I don’t mean in monetary terms; I mean emotionally successful. Gavin clearly loves his job at Aardman, he loves his personal work under his Jam Factory brand and he loves his wife and her hand made Jewellery business which he is also involved in. He’s also written his first book Do Fly, which is the latest addition to the DO lecture book series. It’s hard to imagine how he ever has a spare minute, but be admits that if you love what you do its never work.

I’m a pretty busy person running Brand Sixty Eight in two countries and the one thing in my life that that slowed me down and diverted some of my attention was Children. I remember Gavin talking about wanting to be a dad and not just any dad, he wants to be “the best dad in the world”. I remember thinking how much I love being a dad but at the same time how much ‘what you do’ changes.

I’m convinced Gavin will make a great dad and that next chapter in his life will undoubtedly be the most rewarding. We wish him well and if we have a topic of ‘Change’ after he’s experience child rearing and we will welcome him back!

Check out Gavin’s talk for yourself here:  https://creativemornings.com/talks/gavin-strange/1

Just over a week ago, on a Friday, I went along to CreativeMornings Cardiff. I’ve been before, but not for a long time. I’ve probably been to more in Edinburgh than I have in Cardiff. But my memory of each one is of meeting great people, really interesting talks, and coming away wih a load of new ideas. This one was no exception.

Suzanne Carpenter is an illustrator. She spoke with great humility and honesty, things I love about CreativeMornings (and creative people in general).

Forcing yourself to network

Something Suzanne mentioned immediately struck a chord with me. I reached for my notebook and scribbled it down.

I was never very good at networking and selling myself. I would rather sit in the corner and do some colouring. If someone came over and expressed an interest, then I would happily talk to them.

I’m very much paraphrasing here, sorry Suzanne.

(I’m a prolific note-taker, but over time this only seems to have provided a negative impact on my handwriting.)

  1. Having already looked at Suzanne’s Instagram account, describing what she does as colouring in might possibly be the understatement of the century.
  2. I feel the same way about networking and self-promotion.

To be a networker, you must think like a networker

At a networking event earlier in the week, a speaker advised students… if you’re afraid to sell yourselves, take on the persona of someone who is good at networking. Just for the next hour or so.

I like that way of thinking. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to achieve more than you thought you were capable of.

But I prefer to show and not tell. Let the work do the talking.

When I started out I wanted to be a web designer. So I started designing my own sites until someone paid me to do theirs.

When we started Reserve (a holiday rental agency we built over the last 10 years), we only had a couple of properties. So we did all we could to market them brilliantly (excellent photography, the best marketing materials, guest reviews anyone would be proud of). We waited for people to see it and come to us. And they did. About 300 of them.

I’ve got a whole page of thoughts and ideas from Suzanne’s talk. As always I was very happy that I went along (and arrived over half an hour early — super keen!). But this stayed with me above all else.

Think about what you want to do, and start doing it.

by Gareth K. Thomas / Made Clear 

original post: https://medium.com/@madeclear/sitting-in-the-corner-colouring-a68eea23e549#.vo4874tnm

We asked the Cardiff folks for their favourite moments to celebrate February’s theme #CMmoments

Last month was the month of love and to celebrate our friends at Stills Branding wrote the #StillsLoves blog series. We were so happy to be a part of the series.

Here are the kind words from Stills Branding about our monthly events. These guys are inspirational in the Cardiff scene and it’s great to know that our events are bringing together some of Cardiff’s most creative individuals. Take it away Still…


This month we will be celebrating Change. Brilliant illustration from Victor Bregante too!


Language is about more than words. Language is the way we communicate with one another - that can be through speech, of course, but it can also include the unspoken ways in which we share meanings, feelings, thoughts, ideas, reactions and ourselves with other people.

Books, films and artwork all use language to tell their story; in the overt way, through words, but also through linguistic techniques - subverting our knowledge and expectations of language and its accepted conventions. The study of semiotics helps us to ‘decode’ the meanings of things that we can take from a scene or an image or a sentence, which is not explicitly stated. We are constantly absorbing things through language it its many guises.

There is a language of design too. Designers must often create a single visual that conveys a brand, an idea, an ethic and a distinctive style that can be absorbed in a single glance; recognised and remembered in the future by people who are constantly bombarded with images and ideas and messages.

Language isn’t just about speaking to each other; which language you use in the shop or shouting expletives at traffic: the very purpose of language is being able to reach each other and share things that often can’t be contained in words. It’s how we connect as communities, as artists as professionals and as people.

By Jenny Allan @SerenLasCopy

Work by Helen Di Duca

Like it or not, for most of us, our lives revolve around work (sigh). Many of us will think ‘Do I need to re-evaluate my life?’ or ‘God, I remember reading about people reaching this point in their life’, you know when we were young and didn’t need to work, but is it such a bad thing?

Let’s take a look at the bigger picture; the people we work with. Many of the meaningful relationships, for your everyday member of society, will have been formed in or around work. Bonds will have been built, ideas will have been shared and we will be a stronger, more productive individual than when we entered the role (hopefully). Arguably this is reflected by many when at the point of looking for a new challenge or opportunity. One of the main reasons we ‘stay put’ is because our “work family” are great. Let’s face it; we spend 2/3 of our lives with them, more time than with our friends and loved ones.

Looking at working relationships, Raymond Meredith BeIbin spent his career researching and developing management theory, looking at ways group dynamics can be used for optimum productivity. Belbin was able to categorise an employee and build teams so they could reach optimum operation. An interesting starting point if you’re looking at relationships and how to create a positive and productive organisational culture.

Combine this with what makes people tick and the skills they excel in and you’ll be on the winning team. The more we invest in the people we work with, the stronger the industry we work in becomes. For example, in the last 2 years the productivity of the arts and cultural sector has increased by 6%, generating £76.9bn across the UK creative economy, here in Wales that equates to 51,000 jobs.

Get to know those you work with, they may surprise you. Let’s make the creative community here at CreativeMornings and beyond, stronger, more passionate and productive than ever. That way we can make more of an impact on the creative economy and make changes across other sectors raising the value of core thing we do, be creative.



Shock, like sex, sells. In a world where clickbait headings and tabloid extremism are used to peddle beauty products, lifestyles and dubious political affiliations it is becoming harder and harder to shock people. We’re now wary of articles telling us we’ll ‘never believe what happened next’, or lists that assure us that number six will astonish us. We grow desensitised, apathetic, mistrustful.

In art shock is used to the opposite effect; to jolt us out of our comfort zones and make us consider our own situations from another perspective, or to demonstrate the full impact of someone else’s story. Shocking an audience captures their attention and focuses it on what you want to say, which is why it’s employed by advertisers and tabloid journalists as a cheap sales tool. For the artist there is no commercial gain, and this is the difference between shock and the crudity of sensationalism.

Shocks to the system can do us good; they shake up our thoughts, they breed creativity and open new perspectives and they challenge us so that we don’t just accept and submit and trudge along day after day. Sensationalism keeps us wrapped in our comfort blanket of procured idealism and distances us from a reality we don’t want to engage with, and therefore cannot change.

Through art we are able to visualise and actually experience a reality other than our own. Art that can shock is a powerful and emotive tool – used well it can change the world; used cheaply and it may or may not sell a new line of diet pills.

It’s tough to see where we go next. What will shock the next generation? What will be ‘too much’? What will make us stop?

Post by Jenny Allan @serenlascopy


Society seems to centre on revolution in some way or another; as if it is a pivotal concept that mediates a wildly diverse society being ruled by a few individuals working within a highly specific set of beliefs. A way of restoring balance.

It is impossible to please a group of millions at once. The varying needs, attitudes, politics, beliefs, religion, class etc. within a society cannot be governed in such an idealistic and simplistic way. It is possible to argue that democracy provides relief in the form of regular referenda, but in a society that grows ever more politically apathetic the representation of the needs of the masses begins to wane and people search for more radical ways in which to bring about the changes they need.

Historically revolutions have been bloody, righteous uprisings against tyranny and oppression and we make retrospective heroes of the prominent figures; Owain Glyndwr, Che Guevara, Robespierre. We love a figure who stands up for what they believe in – as long as we are not the ones who have to do the standing up. We are willing for them to carry out the often-necessary atrocities in the name of freedom. But one person’s freedom will always be another’s oppression.

Creative revolutions are generally less bloody, but are always as poignant. If art is a tangible representation of the world as the artist sees it (as Eisenstein suggests with the notion of the Kino eye) then without cultural, artistic, linguistic change there can be no societal development.

Art opens people’s eyes, because it allows us to see the world from somebody else’s perspective.

Politics, like art, is about relationships and how we see and do things. But art has the scope for inclusivity, participation, tolerance and opinion.

Art and culture and creativity revolutionise by allowing people to see from a multitude of perspectives at once and learning to accept them all, even as we dislike or disagree with many.

Post by Jenny Allan @SerenLasCopy