Next Edinburgh speaker
Last month, in December 2017, the global CreativeMornings community was united in discussion on the them of Context. We saw this theme being taken in so many interesting directions by our 180 chapters.
At CreativeMornings Dusseldorf, guest speaker Franz Schuier spoke of his experiences filming at the SISP Kovalam Skate & Surf Club, the Second Chance club, bringing fun and education to members of marginalised communities in Kovalam, India. He spoke of capturing the context, both with its rich culture, and its positive evolution, as opportunities are brought to the people.
CreativeMornings Palermo saw architect and urban planning researcher Davide Leone exploring how games played in social spaces reveal the heritage and culture from which each city context has sprung – thus providing creative inspiration for development, to enhance community connection.
Photo by CMPMO
Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker, joined CreativeMornings Lexington, discussing the power of words to build context, transforming meaning, and our perceptions of images, messages, symbols, and each other.
Here at CreativeMornings Edinburgh, we were joined by Rob Cawston, the Head of Digital Media for National Museums Scotland (NMS), where he uses digital tools and content to connect audiences to the museum and its collections.
Photograph by Ellie Morag
In his talk, Rob set us on a journey through museums, galleries, and public spaces, showing the layers of context surrounding each object on display. Given varied experiences and systems of meaning for each individual visitor, interpretations are highly subjective – something which Rob and his co-workers must take into consideration throughout their work.
An additional element of these considerations is the preferred manner of engagement for audiences, which - in our increasingly digitised world – has undergone significant transformation in recent years. New technologies have changed the way we encounter, participate in, and understand our contexts, and those who shape our treasured social spaces, such as museums and galleries, have been hard at work to keep up with the times.
Here are just some of the many ways museum and gallery innovators around the world are reconceptualising spaces for the digital age, providing a wealth of creative inspiration for context and interaction design…
Capturing our thirst for instagramable moments and settings, the Museum of Ice Cream has become somewhat of an icon. It demonstrates the changing ways in which we interact with our environments and, thus, the ever-increasing power of social-media friendly spaces to drive engagement.
To draw the awareness and interest of potential museum-goers, telling the stories of objects and exhibitions has always been key. In this digital age, extending storytelling into our online social spaces has been vital, and institutions such as the British Museum have been getting in on the action. Sharing photos and videos, with carefully chosen words to set the context, a global audience finds new intrigue in history.
“The Learning Lab is one of SCLDA’s next generation of tools designed to make access to and the use of Smithsonian digital assets for learning easier and more effective. Through the Learning Lab and other projects, SCLDA is committed to advancing the use of the Smithsonian’s digital assets in ways that shape the future of learning.
Guided by the Smithsonian’s mission of the increase and diffusion of knowledge, SCLDA was established to re-imagine and ultimately reinvent the way students, teachers, and lifelong learners interact with and use the Smithsonian’s resources in the 21st century. Recognizing most will never visit Smithsonian museums, SCLDA set out to identify how it might best enrich education by making Smithsonian experts and collections accessible to everyone regardless of where they live.”
Virtual Reality - Exhibits Without Borders:
An increasing number of galleries and museums are recognising the value of VR technology, providing widened access, and drawing new crowds:
- The Smithsonian art museum dove into VR at their Renwick Gallery, with Intel’s help – “It’s a glimpse at how virtual reality can let anyone explore distant museums.”
- The Franklin Institute: Virtual Reality at the Musem – “Discover the hidden beauty of the deep sea, fly to the farthest reaches of outer space, take a ride through the complex inner-workings of the human body, and more.”
- The Kremer Museum: Exclusively VR Exhibitions – “Using VR technology, visitors will be able to examine the artworks’ surface and colors up-close, as well as view the reverse of the paintings to explore each work’s unique stamps of provenance.”
- Google Arts & Culture App: 9 Virtual Reality Tours You’ll Love – “…take a virtual tour of the street art scene in Rome; step inside a creation by famous street artist, Insa; or even travel 2,500 years back in time and look around the ancient Greek temple of Zeus.”
In his work, Rob Cawston is busy bringing all this inspiration – and more – into the continuous development of our museums, here in Scotland. As he states, “museums are not for the objects alone…”, they provide an important civic space. Thus, he and his colleagues are working not just to bring exhibits to audiences online, but also to enhance existing physical spaces, ensuring improved accessibility, learning, and community engagement.
Photograph by Ellie Morag
To keep up with Rob, follow him on Twitter at @Cawston and keep an eye on his blog on the official
National Museums Scotland website.
CMedi People: Audrey Barnes
The night before our next exciting CreativeMornings Edinburgh event, brings us to our next CMedi People blog post where we introduce a member of our community to you all online.
Now, do you remember the amazing blog posts that have been coming out about our CreativeMornings events in the last few months from someone called Audrey? If not, we highly recommend that you take a read here. Well tonight we’re excited to be able to introduce you all virtually to the incredible woman behind the blog, Audrey Barnes.
Photograph of Audrey Barnes by Ellie Morag
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m originally from the US, and have lived in Scotland since 1993. People tend to know me by my tattoos and mixed-up, Scottish-American accent! I’m currently a student, studying Intercultural Business Communication, but my passions are broad and multifaceted. I guess you could call me a Jack/Jane of all trades!
What made you decide to come along to our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event last month?
After attending my first CreativeMornings Edinburgh event in August, I saw how it’s created a space for talented and passionate artists/creative thinkers from diverse industries and specialities to meet, collaborate, and inspire each other. It’s a pleasure to even just bear witness too, so I couldn’t not come along to each following event. It is probably also why I started writing about the events – I was excited to share the atmosphere with others.
How did you find out about CreativeMornings?
I was studying for a semester in the States, and feeling a little homesick for Scotland, so started looking up events and opportunities to get involved in once I returned to Edinburgh. I stumbled across the CreativeMornings Edinburgh instagram as a result, just as the #CMEquality event was being talked about on social media, back in July. The guest that month was Kara Brown from The Young Women’s Movement - the chatter online about the talk really drew me to want to come along – to share in the experience.
What’s your usual morning routine?
Coffee, breakfast, reading, and writing. The coffee and breakfast are a must, especially since my days tend to be busy. The reading and writing varies, between researching for writing projects, actually working on writing projects, or just going through books or saved articles off and online. Even if I have to wake up early to guarantee time for that routine, I will do it.
What did you like best about our September event?
Alyson Thomson, the speaker at the event, was just fantastic. The topic of Dignity in Dying is a difficult one for many, but she has an amazing way of communicating which facilitates both rational objectivity and whole-hearted compassion, simultaneously. Then to be surrounded by creative individuals, ready and willing to engage with each other and the guest speaker, it’s a very positive atmosphere to be a part of. There’s talent, community, collaboration, and the sense that folks are coming up with creative ideas all around you.
What is your creative calling?
I’m still figuring that one out in all honesty. 10 years ago, I was in aerospace engineering, whilst also working in arts and music scenes, then found out I had potential in business and communication… I’m still passionate about each of these things, and so much in between.
What or who inspires you?
My answer to this hasn’t changed much over the years, and I suppose it’s a cliché, but it’s true. My Mom is my inspiration. She worked hard as a single mother, in a new country, and now has a successful medical practice where she pours her heart into looking after others. As a result, it’s people who use their skills, talent, time, and energy to create things which are socially conscious that inspire me.
Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?
Firstly, I love to read, especially books written from diverse international perspectives and genres. It not only changes, but broadens your view of the world, and makes your brain fit for innovation. Some that I have read recently:
- Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murikami
- Reservation Blues – Sherman Alexie
- No Mākou ka Mana: Liberating the Nation – Kamanamaikalani Beamer
- Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who do the Most with the Least – Jessica Jackley
- The Book of Phoenix – Nnedi Okorafor
- Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek – Manu Saadia
- Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard – Chip Heath
- The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen
There are some creative folks who I like to follow, too:
Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ - He’s an incredibly creative thinker, writer, business person, and carer of people. I can’t even keep up with how many books he’s written, as well as his daily blog posts. He was even involved in CreativeMornings New York, and the CreativeMornings Podcast.
Sarah Muirhead: http://cargocollective.com/sarahmuirhead/ - I’m so lucky to be able to call her a friend, which may make you think I’m biased, until you see her art. Not only is she a stunning artist, but she’s a wonderful human. Her words, as well as her paintings/drawings, will inspire.
Steven Paul Judd: http://www.stevenpauljuddart.com/ - He’s a Kiowa and Choctaw artist, writer, and all-round creative. Connect with any of the art he produces and you’ll struggle to stay in a fixed or un-inspired mindset.
The Literary Hub team’s newsletter: http://lithub.com/ - It’s a create resource for articles and recommendations, all of which will expand your thinking… and reading list.
Brain Pickings: https://www.brainpickings.org/ - Their articles focus on all things which stimulate creative thinking, from artists and musicians, to great philosophers and writers. I look forward to each and every instalment.
What do you do to take care of your creative soul?
There are so many ways that I try and take care of my creative soul, from listening to music and reading whenever possible, to cultivating a positive online environment e.g. Following inspirational people on social media, and writing a blog which shines a light on the good work of people I meet. However, the main thing that works for me has been to go out and have conversations with conscientious, creative people. It’s not always easy, but a keen focus on active listening and encouraging others can leave you feeling motivated at the end of each day.
A huge thank you goes to Audrey for taking the time to share more about herself with the rest of our wonderful CreativeMornings Edinburgh community. Don’t forget to say hi if you spot her at tomorrow’s event!
Three Years of CreativeMornings/Edinburgh already! To mark this we would like to celebrate what makes Edinburgh such a Creative City - YOU - our thriving community. We’re inviting you to nominate someone that inspires you to take the stage on 24th January!
January’s month’s theme is “Anxiety” and 2018 marks Scotland’s Year of Young People so we’re looking for speaker nominations that relate and have a message to share on this vast and relatable topic.
We always strive to celebrate diversity and so we’d like to showcase stories from both ends of the spectrum, 18 years old - ambitious and just starting out in a Creative pursuit as well as speakers who are further along on their journey and have a message we can learn from. Each speaker will have 8-10 minutes, with or without sides to share their journey.
This special evening event will be a fun and informal gathering and we’d love to see a good representation of our divers audience take the stage. If you want to get involved email us at email@example.com with a few words about what you would like to speak about.
We’ll choose a selection of these submissions and announce the lineup in December. The event will be at Assembly Roxy on Wednesday 24th January 2018 from 6:00pm till 9:30pm.
The stage is calling. Don’t be shy.
To mark our 3rd Birthday we would like to celebrate what makes Edinburgh such a Creative City - YOU - our thriving community. We’re inviting you to nominate someone who inspires you and has a creative story to share during this special evening event!
January’s theme is “Anxiety” and also marks the beginning of Scotland’s the Year of Young People we’re looking for speakers who can relate to either or both themes in some way, either through their work or life story. We love to celebrate our diverse audience and so are looking for speakers from both ends of the spectrum: 18 years old and ambitious, fiercely perusing your creative calling as well as speakers who are further along in their journey and have the scars and smiles to prove it.
Each speaker will have 8-10 minutes to take the stage and get their message across, slides or no-slides, speaking or performing.
This special evening event will be a fun and informal gathering. If you want to nominate someone (self-nominations are accepted too) email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a few words about who you’re nominating and why or what you would like to speak about.
We’ll choose a selection of these submissions to announce in December. The event will be at Assembly Roxy on Wednesday 24th January from 6:00pm till 9:30pm.
The stage is calling. Don’t be shy.
The closing date for applications is December Monday 11th and we’ll announce the speakers on the 15th December.
CMedi People: Joe Knops
We’re all very excited to introduce you all virtually to another wonderful member of our CreativeMornings Edinburgh community, Joe Knops.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a freelance digital consultant. That covers a multitude of areas and whilst I have a broad set of skills, the ones I try to pursue are around UX and design. UX in understanding the user and how they behave in a specific context, and design in how to solve problems – visually and functionally. I also project manage but that’s not quite so exciting.
What made you decide to come along to our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event in August?
I’ve been attending CreativeMornings since the start of the year. Despite having worked in the “creative industry” for many years I had never attended many events but since going freelance I was conscious of having to meet like-minded people.
How did you find out about CreativeMornings?
I think it was recommended to me – I had been vaguely aware of it before then but hadn’t really considered a morning event.
What’s your usual morning routine?
Other than dropping my two girls off at school I don’t really have a routine – it depends what I have on.
What did you like best about our event in August?
I was surprised by Sashana’s talk – she turned the topic of genius on its head and gave it a much needed reality check. She recognised that genius doesn’t come from working in isolation and it very rarely comes from a light bulb moment. Being a genius is in many ways about a way of thinking – a discipline.
What I also found interesting was her observation that there are times to be creative and times where you need to execute – both are as valuable but each require a different approach.
What is your creative calling?
I don’t really think myself as being creative as such – I believe more in process and taking time to really understand a problem. The more you understand a problem the easier the solutions appear – not very exotic!
What or who inspires you?
I think you can find inspiration in most things – objects around you, people, music, books. I love the work of Saul Bass, Miro and the electronic music of the late seventies, early eighties.
And, of course CreativeMornings!
Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources?
I’m a big fan of Google, YouTube and Netflix’s recent Abstract series.
What do you do to take care of your creative soul?
Don’t try to be creative – most things don’t need to be vastly different just executed well.
A big thank you goes to Joe for agreeing to take part in our #CMedi People project. We as volunteers are all really enjoy getting to know a bit more about the wonderful people who make up our #CMedi community, and we hope you all are too.
Now, if you’re heading along to our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event this Friday please do give Joe a big wave and say hi if you see him about.
If you’d like the opportunity to introduce yourself to the CreativeMornings Community digitally via our #CMedi People blog, catch up with Cilla or Ellie (our crew members) at our event on Friday and they’ll be able to hook you up. We look forward to seeing you all very soon. Only one sleep until the best morning of the month!
CMedi People: Chris Muir
For the next in our series of #CMedi People blog posts, we’re very excited to introduce you all digitally to CreativeMornings Edinburgh community member, Chris Muir!
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a copywriter. I love what I do.
I get paid to, effectively, learn on behalf of my clients. Unless I understand what the problem is, I can’t work out how to fix it.
I also lecture one-day-a-week at Edinburgh Napier University on the MSc in Creative Advertising.
And I’m passionate about keeping things just as simple as they need to be. But not at the expense of being interesting. For example, which of the following statements is more memorable?
“Women don’t get the recognition they deserve.”
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. Only she did it backwards and in high heels.”
I’ve also got quite a bit of experience, as I’ve been doing it for quite a long time (see below).
2. Why did you decide to come along to our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event last month?
I come along to almost every event that’s run by CreativeMornings. It’s a great way to be inspired and catch up with what people are up to. And it’s a great place for students to meet people who are already working in the industry.
3. How did you find out about CreativeMornings?
I honestly can’t remember. Maybe through Twitter? Alex has been an amazing driving force, along with the rest of the team. When people put that much love into something, it feels wrong to not come along and join in.
4. What is your usual morning routine?
I don’t really have one. It depends on what I’m doing that particular day. Or how late I worked the night before. My life tends to just fit in around whatever I have to do. I have more of a night routine. I’ll keep going until I finish whatever I need to finish. And I enjoy a walk after I’m done. Lucky then that I enjoy the solitude of the small hours.
5. What did you like best about our CreativeMornings Edinburgh event in July? Do you remember it?
I thought Kara’s talk was really inspiring. I’m currently working with two gender pay equality groups (Kerning the Gap in London and Ladies Wine Design in Edinburgh), so Kara’s insights and knowledge were really useful. It’s encouraging to see another young woman with the confidence and belief to stand up for what is right.
6. What is your creative calling?
Using big ideas to make people a) notice the message and b) do something as a result. The older I get the more I work with voluntary and charitable groups to help them spread their messages and raise funds.
7. What or who inspires you?
This could be quite a long list.
Buckle up. (In no particular order) here goes:
Dave Trott, Dave Dye, Vicki Maguire, Juliette Forrest, Alan MacCuish, Tom Richards, Spike Milligan, Dr Seuss, Adrian Jeffery, Vikki Ross, Tiger Savage, Frank Budgen, Sir John Hegarty, David Abbott, Alex Holder, Peter Cook, Paul Arden, Tony Brignull, Alexandra Taylor, Susie Henry, Andy McLeod, Paul Bruke, Margaret Calvert, Sanam Petri, Dave Droga, Hollie Newton, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Jim Al-Khalili, Malcolm Gladwell, Alex Humphry-Baker, Elmore Leonard, Jim Downie, Keshia Thomas.
I discover new people who inspire me almost every day.
And my students. That’s the most rewarding part of teaching - their ideas and their enthusiasm are infectious.
8. Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources that you’d recommend to others?
Dave Trott’s blog - a weekly dose of brutally smart thinking, wrapped up in a story you’ll easily remember (clever, that).
Dave Dye’s blog - an astonishing online resource for all creatives. Dave takes you from the brief to the finished ads, showing you the warts-and-all journey. He’s also just digitised all his notebooks - giving you insight into 20+ years of creative genius.
Podcasts - they’re free and you can fit them in almost anywhere. Revisionist History, Hidden Brian, 99% Invisible, This American Life, Unfictional.
D&AD annuals - I inhale these on an almost unhealthy scale.
As an extra - I’d also like to share five ads below that show a level of thinking that inspires me. See what you think!
9. How do you take care of your creative soul?
I go for walks. Late at night, headphones on, podcast loaded up. I’ll walk for around an hour before going to bed most evenings. I live by the sea, so it’s a lovely walk. I’ve seen the Aurora Borealis, 300 Spanish people having a rave on the beach at 3am and some amazing star vistas on my strolls. Walking is an amazing way to recharge yourself physically and mentally.
I also (thanks to being old) now know when to knock work on the head and go and do something less boring instead. Your subconscious mind is the real power you have. Fill your brain with all the information you have. Think about the problem until your head hurts. And then go and do something entirely different.
Trying to force a solution when your brain isn’t ready is the least efficient way to do anything. But having the confidence, when deadlines are looming, to know that walking away is the best thing you can do, is hard to learn. The sooner you learn it, the happier you’ll be.
Also, remember that we’re not coming up with a cure for cancer. Learn to have some perspective about what we do for a living. Collaborate on projects. Work with people whose work you admire. Do some good in the world.
A huge thank you to Chris for taking the time to share more about himself with us, and for being an inspirational community member himself! Don’t forget to say hi if you see him on Friday at our next CreativeMornings Edinburgh event. Remember to book online through our website before Friday, places go quick!
If you’d like the opportunity to introduce yourself to the CreativeMornings Community digitally via our #CMedi People blog, catch up with Cilla or Ellie (our crew members) at our event on Friday and they’ll be able to hook you up. We look forward to seeing you all very soon. Two sleeps and counting.
CreativeMornings Edinburgh: August Reminiscing
Guest blog post from CreativeMornings Edinburgh community member, Audrey Barnes.
Not so long ago, I was introduced to the wild and inspiring
world of CreativeMornings, via an
Instagram post on the topic of #Equality. I soon
discovered that equality was a theme, setting the broad focus for a vast, and
open, community that lay beyond this single post. A community which connects
175 cities around the world… and counting. After reading the initiative’s
manifesto, concluding in the lines “We bring together people who are driven by
passion and purpose, confident that they will inspire one another, and inspire
change in neighborhoods and cities around the world. Everyone is welcome.”, I
was excited to discover more. Finally, on Friday the 25th of August, I was
fortunate enough to be able to attend my very first Creative Mornings event,
here in our fair city of Edinburgh.
Last month, the event took place in the University of Edinburgh’s Appleton Tower, at the heart of the city, still buzzing with the spirit of Edinburgh’s festival season. With this month’s theme of #Genius, a word which evokes mental images of the likes of Elon Musk, Jimi Hendrix, and Zadie Smith, there was an air of excited anticipation amongst the attendees, curious to discover what genius is at work within Edinburgh’s creative community. And, I’m pleased to say, the guest speaker of the day did not disappoint…
Sashana Souza Zanella, one half of Edinburgh Food Studio’s founding duo, welcomed us to her talk with an inspirational discussion on the evolution of Genius as a human concept, journeying through time from Greek and Roman philosophers, through the Renaissance, all the way to John Cleese’s theories on creative genius. A fast, yet eloquent introduction, which revealed Souza’s own creative influences to be drawn from a diverse network of sources, and implemented in her work with both dedication and humorous flair.
A young chef, anthropologist, and entrepreneur from Montreal, Souza and her partner, Ben Reade, met whilst studying at the internationally renowned University of Gastronomic Sciences, in Piedmont, Italy. Some time after graduating, bringing their over 25 years of combined culinary experience, they made the move to Edinburgh in pursuit of building their own successful restaurant. However, as Souza pointed out, a significant barrier of limited finances was met before they were ready to open their doors to business, and they were forced to make tough decisions regarding the future of the venture. In a true display of creative daring and dedication, they decided to go all in on launching an even larger concept, as a Food Studio and as a Kickstarter campaign, instead of “turning it into a little cafe as it was, or something…”
Since the campaign launch two years ago, on the 7th of September 2015, they have long surpassed their £10,000 goal, receiving over £17,000 from 228 backers – all in time to launch their studio only two months later, in November of 2015. Going beyond the more traditional restaurant or food institute models, Souza and Reade’s Food studio draws individuals from around the world, to partake in all manner of food related discovery. From research and sharing of production and preparation techniques, to artistic service and dining.
The most inspiring element of Souza’s talk, however, was the lack of self-congratulations (although the vision of her and her partner is very much worthy), and the all-out celebration of individuals who have collaborated in bringing the Edinburgh Food Studio concept to life, with their time, money, craft, and custom. She shared a motivating vision of the work she dedicates herself to, as a product of community, continuous improvement, and open innovation.
Throughout the rest of her talk, Souza shared pictures, anecdotes, and bios of the individuals who have travelled from around the world to collaborate with her and her team within the Food Studio. A fantastic portrait of a culinary haven, blending bohemian artistry and a studious dedication to scientific techniques, that bridges the gap between international gastronomy elites and everyday lovers of all things delicious. She demonstrates that creative genius often requires more than the ability to come up with great ideas, but the ability to convey your vision to a wider community of inspired folks, and motivate them to get on board with that vision by celebrating all that each individual contributes in their participation… as well as having the guts to put your big dreams out for all to see!
To finish off the wonderful morning, Larah Bross gave a brief but – entirely engaging – introduction to her business, Bross Bagels. Hailing from Quebec, Canada, she is the founder of Portobello’s newly opened Bakery and Bagel shop, bringing the tastes and techniques of Montreal’s Jewish deli’s to Scottish shores. Yet another daring and adventurous food industry entrepreneur, she not only provided all of us at Creative Mornings Edinburgh with a tasty bagel breakfast, but also gave a further example of how having the guts to run with a creative idea can become a genius venture. Now nearing a month since their doors opened to customers, they are already attracting much attention and praise.
In fact, my own mother decided to pop on by for her birthday lunch on the 1st of September, and ended up sharing company with local foodies, young and old, local police officers, and several tourists, all customers eager to try the pumpernickel, cinnamon raisin, and many other bagel varieties on offer. My Mom’s review of the baked goods? “Five stars… We’ll definitely be back! Delicious!”
You can find more about the Edinburgh Food studio on their website, here – and don’t forget to sign up to their newsletter, so you can keep up to date on what great chefs and events will be hosted next. They also run a beautiful instagram account @EdFoodStudio, which will be enough to make your taste buds ready to pop on by for one of their 7-course banquets.
Creative Mornings have now launched their theme for September, which will be, “Compassion”. I can’t wait to see who the guest speaker will be, and to get busy with sharing some #CMCompassion inspiration with the Creative Mornings community. If you would like to come along to the events, they are free to attend, and tickets are available on their website. If you’re not in Edinburgh, don’t worry, they take place in over the world… find your nearest chapter here!