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Annalena Mayor Ekeblad: Courage

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March 23, 7:30am • Göteborgs Konserthus • part of a series on Courage

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Jon Barnes – Serendipity and its slightly arrogant cousin luck

Linda Larsson met up with Jon Barnes, this month’s speaker at CreativeMornings Gothenburg on May 24.

The theme this month is Serendipity – what does this mean to you?
Serendipity is a poor little misunderstood creature I think. It is often confused with its slightly arrogant cousin: luck. Luck is, well, it’s just luck. For instance, we don’t choose what social situation we are born into, that is down to luck.

Serendipity is far wiser and more courageous. Serendipity is a design choice. The choice to create the necessary conditions for positive outcomes to come from unexpected connections, whether these connections are people or ideas or both. That’s what Serendipity is to me, a design choice with a beautiful combination of order and chaos.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?
Hmmm… This is the question that gives me impostor anxiety. If I had to say something I’d oddly say my ‘breadth’. I have reasonable but limited depth in lots of different things and I think I’m pretty good at seeing the connection between them, forming a vision and articulating it in a way that is digestable. I think people can get behind that and get excited to do great things. So I wouldn’t say I’m awesome at anything particular but I think that might actually paradoxically be my superpower.


What inspires you?
Polymaths. People who manage to gain so much perspective on situations or broad macro-situations by understanding so many different things. They seem to respond with beautiful wisdom or simplicity. They find patterns or principles which allow me to apply to so many situations in my life and work. Yuval Hurari is a good example, or Alan Watts.

What makes you happy and why?
The million pound question. There are a few patterns I see in my happiness. One is that the more space I create, the more room there is for me to spend time with my own ideas and package them in ways I can share with others in a way that is hopefully energising to us both. That gives me a wonderfully calm buzzy vibration. Another is being with very few very close friends. When supported by genuine love, I find my mind seems to just silence. Like an extractor fan suddenly switching off in a kitchen.

So in summary I would say: time alone with no agenda, and time with my nearest and dearest.


What is your dream project?
I really don’t know. I think that’ll always change. Last year I wrote my first book Democracy Squared and it feels a bit like the genie has been let out of the bottle. I am creating more time and space to explore these big ideas. The other is advising and helping genuinely receptive people who have a lot of control and agency over important environments and topics (e.g. government, education…etc.) Having said that, I also get very frustrated with those systems, so maybe that would just do my head in.

I don’t actually know, thanks for the question, I’ll ponder on it more ;)

The mountain or the ocean and why?
This is a wonderful question as I’ve recently really designed my life for both. I grew up quite near the sea, I thought that was me. But a couple of years ago I fell in love with a valley in the French Alps. We call it Dream Valley. The vastness of it has this amazing way of showing me how limitless things are whilst also giving me the comfort of being protected by millenias of mountain. So I’m refusing to pick either or and decide on both here and I’m making a deliberate effort to design my life around just this at the moment :)


What do you want to do when you grow up?
I’m not sure I want to grow up so it’s a tricky one. I was also born pretty old. Since I was really little I’ve always hung out with adults rather than kids my age. I’ve never really partied but prefer long chats. I like spending time on my own instead of socialising too much. So if this trend continues, I can really see myself travelling with my family and maybe owning a house with garden off the grid for when the apocalypse arrives.

And finally: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Stop caring about what people think!” It’s a constant thing for me to practice as it has controlled my life in dangerous ways. I’m starting to befriend that devil but it’s taken us a while.

Interview by Linda Larsson

Want to listen to Jon Barnes’ CreativeMornings talk on May 24? The tickets are released at 11am on May 19.
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Photos for your blogs!

This month, we were lucky to have not just one but three of our brilliant photographers on site: Sandi Habinc, Magnus Rönnkvist and Sina Farhat.

The photos are free to use for your blogs and social media feeds as long as you name the photographer. And hey, if you do blog, let us know so we can spread your words far and wide! We’d love it if you’d link to our official website as well:

Head over to our Flickr album!

A series of great portraits of Gothenburg creatives

Our global partner Shutterstock went above and beyond and set up a portrait studio at our last event in collaboration with Amplify Photo. The result is a series of really nice portraits of Gothenburg creatives.

Feel free to download and use your portrait in your social medias, but please please please make sure to tag it with #shutterstock #cmgbg #shutterstockportraitstudio @shutterstock.

» Open the photo album
» Shutterstock
» Amplify Photo




CreativeMornings Gothenburg is beyond excited to present Jenny Segergren as this month’s speaker. Jenny runs Modepodden, a thriving podcast series that portrays Scandinavian fashion icons. Its ambition is to inspire and give a new dimension to the fashion industry and showcase the drive and innovation power behind Scandinavian fashion.

Lisa Axelsson had a chat with Jenny to see what’s in store for the Gothenburg crowd.

Hey Jenny, please tell us a bit more about you!
– Hi yah! I’m an engineer, business developer and product specialist who’s vastly interested in how to make businesses grow through creative processes. I’ve also got a great passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and fashion – especially in that combination. I’ve always been very fond of clothes, something I inherited from my grandmother. When I was on maternity leave in 2013 I had a self-revelation – I should start a podcast where I interviewed famous entrepreneurs and creators from the fashion industry! I wanted to examine the industry from a different perspective and let the listeners get to know who these people behind the fashion really are. I’ve never studied journalism or anything like it, but I guess my genuine interest in the subject made it work because now it’s become more of a platform. Aside from the pod cast with both pre-recorded and live episides, it has also evolved into a blog, an Instagram account that serves as an inspiration channel for many.

Which of all meetings with famous fashion icons have made the greatest impression on you?
– I truly learn something new at every interview. A person who left an impression on me was Efva Attling who almost felt like a mentor in some way. What a true humanist! But then I’m also a sucker for innovation, so my interview with Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg from Swedish Stockings, really inspired me.

How come the guests get to make their own playlist?
– Frankly I needed to have a recurring segment in the pod. Music definitely fit as a creative channel as it is a form of expression. I also liked the idea that there was something physically left after the interviews. So now we’ve got the most famous Swedish fashion icon’s favourite music gathered in one place.

How have you chosen to interpret April’s topic ”beyond”?
– I’m going beyond fashion! I have an emotional fashion drive. I consume fashion as others would consume popular culture – I admire and appreciate the craftsmanship behind it. Usually when you say “fashion”, people tend to think about bloggers, fashionistas, beautiful magazines and that “it’s not really for me.“ But I feel like there’s much more to it and that a lot of people are missing out on something incredibly interesting. I want to get away from the excluding, elitistic fashion concept, and I want to share my perception. My talk will consist of the story behind my creative process, how Modepodden evolved and how it really looks like behind the scenes in the fashion industry. It will truly beyond fashion!

A few short questions: What inspires you?
– People.

What makes you happy and why?
– My children. They’re everything; in big as in small.

If you had one super power, what would that be?
– Hm, not to run super fast because I’m already a fast runner. Fly! Then I’d have time for even more fun things and sometimes it’d be nice to get away from “the earthly logistics”.

What is the best advice you ever have received?
– You’re good as you are.


Don’t miss Jenny’s talk at CreativeMornings Gothenburg on April 28. The tickets are as always free, but of a strictly limited quantity, and are released on Monday, April 24 at 11:00am sharp.

A great way to be reminded when it’s time to snatch your ticket is to subscribe to our newsletter.

With April’s CreativeMornings Gothenburg approaching fast, Christer Hedberg caught up with Annalena Mayor Ekeblad – this month’s Featured Artist that will exhibit her art during our breakfast.

Who are Annalena Mayor Ekeblad? (interviewer’s note: You can’t beat some Swenglish as an opener in an interview, right?)
She is a crazy person! Just kidding! I am a LOT. It is kind of funny you say are and not is. People often tell me how unique it is to be very creative and very organized and good at production managing – at the same time. So ARE is good in this case. Isn’t that a myth that you are either creative or organized?! Why be a dog-person or cat-person when you can just love animals?!

What does ”being creative” mean to you?
Always thinking of different projects and always doing stuff. Making things with your hands. For as long as I can remember I have produced things every day. Writing something. Drawing something. Building something. And having the luxury of having other people like it and strangers buying things.
Being creative for me is to do and to produce, not just talk about it. If you make a lot, half of it can be ugly. Make a lot and some of it will be good. Some of it will be FUCKING fab!

You first caught my attention with your brilliant wood type art a few year’s ago. What’s the story behind them?
I fell in love with books as a child. My mother always read to me and my brother. I started writing when I was about 5 years old and I loved the shape of letters. We always went to the library and to me books were treasures. Stories. I dreamt about becoming a teacher a librarian or even a writer.
I stumbled over the wood letters in an antique shop. People were buying them as decoration and they were really expensive. I became obsessed with the thought of finding a whole alphabet so Ingrid at ”Antique Unique” in Linnéstaden started helping me find old types. Then I just started putting acrylic paint on them, handprinting words and making patterns.

When I was a teenager my grandmother Elsa Mayor – a supercool American lady – took me to MOMA in San Francisco. I remember seeing huge paintings with printed letters on them.

When I started making the ”text paintings” I wrote cute things. Love, happiness and so on and people liked that. My main focus was to write/paint beautiful patterns made from letters and words. So the pattern was my focus. It was a bonus that some people could read what I actually wrote. Then I was invited to hang the text-paintings on the walls of Björns Bar, just for fun. A week past and I sold out! They rang me from the bar and said: You need to make more. People loved them. They drank wine, ate cheese and bought my paintings from the waitresses. It was madness and happiness som I just kept making them and selling them. The text-paintings gave me the courage to quit my day-job (as a production manager at Nudie Jeans) and focus 100% on my own art.
I never made “önsketavlor” where people could tell me what to write on them. I only made my own texts.

In the back of my head I always dreamt about writing darker things on the paintings. But since people loved the happy-love stuff I was to afraid to break the winning concept. Until now. My “Om jag ligger helt stilla och håller andan” project has forced me to start showing people my “darker, sadder texts”. The next step is to doing paintings with the same kind of words on them. The exhibition at CreativeMornings will be the premier for this.

I’ve had the chance to see your exhibition at Rum för papper and found it to be really powerful. Can you share the story behind the project?
To keep sane, or even, to survive severe illness you have to play games with your mind. Or at least that is what I did.

Last year I had to go through two large operations and spend a lot of time at the hospital. For a long time I was in pain, the kind of pain you can’t run away from but the kind that hurts even when the doctors put a tap with morfine directly into your spine. Maybe it was the mix of pain and morfine, or just the way my brain works, but I started making up stories and scenarios to get by. Like: If this was an American movie, there would be a happy ending. You can not be in this much pain and not get a happy ending.

For me painting and creating have always been healing. When you get absorbed in creative work you don’t feel pain, hunger or time, you just paint. So I started painting small squares. I was too tired and sick to go to my studio so I just used watercolor. It is quick and easy and you can do it in bed, on the floor or even standing up. I started making little circles and forms with watercolor. Then I scanned them into my computer and started twisting them, turning them, duplicating them – making them into patterns.

Then it just hit me – this is my happy ending! I will make patterns and then make the patterns into cards, notebooks, fabric, silk scarfs and so on. And then I will sell these patterns and become famous. This is my happy ending!

So what’s next in this project?
This project will keep on growing. I am hoping the Nordiska Akvarellmuseet in Skärhamn will let me show my work in their beautiful location some day. And there’s more to come! Sp keep an eye on this project because my patterns are definitely going places.

Let’s round up with five quick questions. First one – what inspires you?
Everything and anything. Books. Libraries. Looking out of the window from an airplane. And I love to look at the pattern on the ground… And the mix (and luxury) of living smack in the middle of this town and having a small summerhous in the woods. It’s inspiring to start the day in the city and ending it in the woods…

What makes you happy?
I am so thankful for all I have. I am happy for having friends. Family. For being alive. Having a family and my DOG. I wake up happy.

Name something you love, and why.
I love coffee. It’s my drug. Not only is it good, it’s very much related to happy feelings. Sitting in the sun drinking coffee on an early morning.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
I have a superpower. My look! I am a small. Almost tiny woman. Not ugly not beautiful. I do not, at all, look like the way I feel on the inside. Perfect! I get away with anything!
People see me and associate me with… nothing. And then I just BOOOM surprise them with MEEEEEE!

And finally. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
That is the best part of having an english-speaking grandmother. For real! She actually gave me advice like: When life gives you lemons. Make lemonade! She also said: Well – it must be noon somewhere. When she had the first sip of ice cold vermouth at 10 in the morning…

Don't miss Annalena's exhibition at CreativeMornings Gothenburg on April 28!


One week to go till the next CreativeMornings. Who’s excited? We’re excited! The theme is TABOO and we have an awesome speaker-duo who will share their own perspective on this tantalizing concept.

“She did not. Just. Say. That.” Why are some topics off limit? Who decides what makes a taboo? And what happens when you realise you need to break it? Norm creatives and agency owners Kajsa Schedwin and Maria Hellbjörn want you to acknowledge the elephant in the room. They also want you to pet it, befriend it and introduce it to your mother.

The next CreativeMornings is on Friday, March 24. The tickets drop Monday, March 20. They’re free, and they go fast.

Remember to follow us on Instagram (Gothenburg_cm), Twitter (Gothenburg_cm), and Facebook (@CreativeMorningsGBG). Our hashtag is #cmgbg.


Ready for another CreativeMornings event? Not only will you get an awesome talk this time, illustrator, art director and designer Mimmi Smith will have an exhibit for you as well. So come early! 

Mimmi draws and colors her universes with a hint of escapism and melancholy. The characters and expressions in the illustrations visualize the feelings and situations of everyday human life. In twisted, beautiful, crocked, and humorous ways.

Linda Larsson caught up with Mimmi for a short interview: 

1. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Mimmi Smith, from Gothenburg – designer, scribbler, and aspiring art director. I create various things within fashion, art, magazines, and advertising. 

2. What does “being creative” mean to you?
Working with the ideas that pop up inside your head. Bring them to the table and visualise them with colours, words, shapes or sound. 

3. Can you describe the time when you first realised that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
Making my own fishnet-stockings by using the white plastic net that came with my dad’s wine bottles. If not then, I realised it when I got my first pen and paper. 

4. What work do you most enjoy doing?
Everything from design that feels unique and strong, to art and visual work that you get a good feeling from. As long as you get your flow and surround yourself with nice people. 

5. What inspires you? 
Movies, music, people, cities far away, nature, fantasy. 

6. What are you trying to communicate with your art? 

7. What makes you happy? 
Music that gets you going or sipping wine abroad.

8. What superpower would you have and why? 
Time travelling or healing.  

9. Name something you love, and why. 
Family and friends – I can be weird or confused and still get their advice or support. 

10. What is your dream project? 
Still waiting for it… 

11. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 
Trust people – You can't control everything.

The next CreativeMornings is on Friday, March 24. The tickets drop Monday, March 20. They’re free, and they go fast.

Remember to follow us on Instagram (Gothenburg_cm), Twitter (Gothenburg_cm), and Facebook (@CreativeMorningsGBG). Our hashtag is #cmgbg.


February Recap

As the next CreativeMornings event is swift approaching, here's a reminder of how awesome the last one was.


We got to be in the Grand Concert Hall in February, which meant getting in through the main doors at the Concert Hall. And you all found your way, no problems. Also, kudos for being such a cheerful bunch so early in the am!


We did the check-in, the wardrobe bit, and the nametags on the entry floor of the Concert Hall building, before heading upstairs. 

This time we wanted you to write down something about ”A moment that changed my life” on your nametags, and you guys are getting steadily better at filling in these DIY staples of CreativeMornings. Hopefully they made for great conversation starters!


Upstairs, we fed you coffee, Heleanna to be exact, from our partner Per Nordby ( It was steaming hot and fabulous. Per is fantastic at roasting perfect blends. 


You also got sandwiches from awesome tech and communication agency HiQ (, who was February's breakfast partner. We're so grateful we get such great partners each month!


Eva Essvik and Vincent Hashmi, from our main partners The Gothenburg Symphony ( did a bit of a preamble before leading you into the Grand Concert Hall. These guys are simply amazing. When Christer mentioned that having a gong to direct people's attention to the balcony would be kind of awesome, they just Made. It. Happen.


And speaking of The Gothenburg Symphony, not only did they let us use their Grand Concert Hall, pulling out all the stops, they also got us the most beautiful pre-talk mini concert with Hvilakvartetten. Starting off the day with Mozart, how much better can it get?

Watch the concert with Hvilakvartetten


Local CM host Christer Hedberg, did the usual pre-talk introduction. And in case we weren't clear on that, we'd just like to reiterate that our partners and sponsors are a-ma-zing. Without them, no way would we be able to afford making this event happen for you each month. 

And hey, if you want your company to chip in, please, feel free to let us know. Just email Linda Larsson at


February's main speaker, illustrator, typostrator, and Hyper Island Programme Leader Tash Willcocks (  was flown in from Manchester by our partner Stendahls ( to wake us up with a brilliant talk about finding friends, building communities, and doing awesome creative work.

She also introduced the people who were courageous enough to sign up for sitting #Upfront during the talk. #Upfront ( are all about inspiring people to brave the stage themselves, by letting them feel the spotlight for a bit, with 0 pressure to perform.


Tash wanted to get us all to smile to one another more often and she certainly got us not just smiling, but laughing out loud as well.


Not only did Tash want us to remember to focus on building friendships, instead of simply adding contact upon contact to our LinkedIn profile, she also wanted to inspire us to Do. The. Work. Tash does at least one illustration every single day and says it really gets her creative juices flowing.


And speaking of illustrations: Tash had a challenge for us, and for her, to tweet her two awesome Swedish words @tashwillcocks, so that she might choose some of them to turn into beautiful works of art. Check her channel on Twitter, or Instagram (also @tashwillcocks), for the result.


It was such an energetic talk, you really need to watch it live. Fortunately, you can do just that in our video section: 

Watch Tash Willcocks' ”Make Friends, Not Contacts”


Thank you, from the Gothenburg CreativeMornings gang. It really is a pleasure to make this event happen for you each month. We enjoy it at least as much as you do! Oh, and when you see us at the events, please feel free to strike up a conversation, or ask any questions you may have. We love talking to you!

February event photos courtesy of Sandi Habinc, Sina Farhat, Ola Hilmarsson, and Christer Hedberg.

All these photos, and more, can be found at our Flickr account

Don't miss our next event, on Friday, March 24. The tickets drop Monday, March 20. They're free, and they go fast.

Remember to follow us on Instagram (Gothenburg_cm), Twitter (Gothenburg_cm), and Facebook (@CreativeMorningsGBG). Our hashtag is #cmgbg.

Blogged by: Terese Mörtvik