Rafaela Mota Lemos
Next Lisbon speaker
Can new parents still have creative dreams?
We are back! After summer break, with some beach time, sunsets, sunrises, walks through nature and some chill and breathing time, Creative Mornings Lisbon came back last Friday, September 25th . With our batteries refilled and with much energy and enthusiasm, we had a virtual event on the theme of Spectrum with the amazing and creative Petra Vaz.
With a passion for words, Petra started by taking us through the dictionary definitions of spectrum and creativity, to help set the stage for the creative tale she was going to share.
- Spectrum - a wide range of objects, things, ideas or opinions.
- Creativity - the ability to produce original and unusual ideas or to make something new or imaginative.
Feeling a lot of pressure from these definitions and believing that what we are has a huge role in what we do creatively, Petra started by presenting herself: a woman, a mother, a professional. These three roles make her unique and give her the stability and purpose in life.
How does creativity fit into the various roles we have in life?? Trying to answer this, Petra presented four types of creative people: 24/7 creatives, active creatives, part-time creatives and hobby creatives. Where do you fit?
“The beauty of spectrum is that there are a lot of gray zones between these types. You can definitely be in the middle”, says Petra, “And that is ok.”
When the theme is creativity, sometimes the problem lies in the inner and outer expectations about what someone will create. The truth is, there is no one 0% creative nor 100% creative. The challenge is to find room for creativity in our daily lives, wherever it fits. This is one of Petra’s biggest challenges, to find room to be creative on a daily basis, with motherhood often influencing her schedule and emotional state. Petra shared how she is creative in the ways she educates her child, such as inventing new songs to teach her the animal sounds for example. She tries to maximize her life to have creativity always present in her day. Listening to a podcast during supermarket time was one of her examples. It’s a time to listen to other ideas, interviews, and opinions as a way to stimulate her creativity. This habit led to her tips to unleash your creativity:
- Stop. Disconnect.
- Read, do, watch, listen to anything that gets your creative juices flowing.
- Put those ideas to work.
Yes, put those ideas down on paper. Even if the first idea doesn’t work, it can lead you to a winning idea. Don’t wait until you have the skills, until it is perfect. Just get it started. Don’t expect too much. Accept things. Talk positively. Be kind to yourself. Let your creativity fly!
As a mother and a creative woman, Petra’s spectrum is wide and filled with interests, opportunities, joy, love and creativity. She is charismatic, enthusiastic and we couldn’t be happier to return to our events with such a lovely and amazing speaker! Thank you Petra! Keep on going!!
Opening the doors of insecurity
Last Friday we gathered together once more for our CreativeMornings June virtual event with the theme Insecure. To talk about insecurities and how to overcome them, we had Juliana Torres, a creative producer full of energy and amazing stories. This was also a special event as it was held in Portuguese, a proper way to celebrate the month of Portugal.
Juliana, also known as Ju, was born in Recife, Brazil, and came to Portugal 20 years ago wanting to know and explore the world. She had the opportunity to work in Angola, Mozambique and South Africa, where she had different challenges, such as limited resources, where her creativity was absolutely needed to recreate and transform the way she worked. The major learning she got with these experiences was the importance of doing, even without being perfect. Everything takes shapes, as long as you do it.
Some years ago, Ju decided to be an entrepreneur by starting a public cloakroom. However, she had some hard times as accounting is not her strongest skill. She learned along the way, creatively reinventing her business and ultimately transforming it into a traveling cloakroom for events, festivals and concerts. She found her market niche and it is going really well! With this experience (and life in general), Ju gave us some tips important for those who want to start a business:
- Study the market
- Ask opinions of people who are close to you
- Know your competition
- Take care of accounting
- Have a real plan and a dream plan
- Look for partnerships and collaborations
These are Ju’s recipe for creating a transformative and successful business.
Recently, Juliana started a podcast called Absurdo Podcast, where guests share their experiences and projects in an inspiring way, with the knowledge of someone in their 40’s.
At our last event, we’re glad Juliana shared with us her way of life and how being humble, vulnerable and allowing herself to ask for help has been important throughout her journey. Ju says that “flexibility is the youth elixir” and that is what drives creativity. Every time something bad or wrong happens, Ju thinks about the future, how to transform things and how to get better. It was a truly inspiring and absolutely sincere sharing of Juliana’s experiences and learnings. We have a lot to learn from each other and Ju is a master of life lessons that we all can connect to in some way. It was especially delightful to have her energy to start the day in Portuguese, our mother tongue. Thanks Ju, you rock!
Connecting with Nature is our Nature
May’s theme was Nature and we couldn’t have had a better speaker about plants, flowers and all things green. Tomás Tojo was the most recent speaker for CreativeMornings Lisbon and showed up on screen surrounded by green leafy plants– very on theme. We are still doing virtual events, but our community energy was fulfilled with our virtual hugs and smiles!
Tomás Tojo was born in Lisbon but grew up in the south of Portugal where he started gardening while young as a way to occupy his free time. He found a way to entertain himself through gardening and this phase started to determine his relation with nature. He studied arts in Chapitô, did an acting degree in Porto and went to London to study art direction.
Life then found him in Brazil where he discovered a newfound love of tropical plants.
His first project, Green São Paulo, was to build a public garden. With no plants to start it, Tomás and his team went to a graveyard and gathered old plants that were nearly dead and rescued them for their project. The team has a lot of committed people, so the project was a success and the community was involved with it.
In Portugal, Tomás has worked as a teacher focused on gardening, teaching children about nature and its importance for human beings. He also started a garden festival in Lisbon called Jardins Abertos. At the Open Gardens Festival, you can discover Lisbon’s largest gardens, such as Monteiro Mor Park or the Belém Palace gardens, or small private gardens and courtyards, such as the Botanical Garden and Library, João and Teresa’s private Courtyard, among many others. For Tomás, creative gardening is a faster way to build a community and this has been his motto. We are all invited to participate in Jardins Abertos this year on the 18/19th and 25/26th of July, all around Lisbon.
Tomás wants to promote environmental awareness and to show how collective gardening is important. He says that “we have this perception that somehow nature will always be there for us” but it is important to know nature, to care for it and to take responsibility for the environment that belongs to all of us.
He also feels that during this pandemia and world crisis people are reconnecting with nature and this is really good. It must definitely continue.
This event was all green, smooth and inspiring, really influenced by the peace and calm that Tomás Tojo shared with us. We must connect with more green, become more aware of nature and focus on being more connected with it. Thanks Tomás for sharing all your creativity, knowledge and passion about nature!
If you’d like to be a volunteer at Jardins Abertos 2020, sign up here.
[Photo credits: the first photo belongs to CreativeMornings Lisbon, the second and third one to Jardins Abertos]
Leading a Brand with Purpose
Finding our purpose is something we all aspire to do. We want to understand what drives us, what makes us feel connected, what we can do to leave a mark in someone’s life or on the planet. Somehow, we all want and need the same thing - to find our purpose.
Last Friday, we had our second virtual event precisely about purpose and finding meaning in all we do, particularly in our work. Lara Seixo Rodrigues, our speaker, shared how finding her purpose has helped define her job and her projects. She’s the founder of Mistaker Maker, a platform for artistic intervention with a meaningful purpose that she shared with us throughout the talk.
Before Mistaker Maker, Lara worked as an architect for more than 10 years, but she felt held back by the bureaucracy. At the core, what she really loved is the social environment of a building, how it connects people and can have an impact on the community and the neighborhood. While she was still working in architecture, she started to have parallel artistic and creative projects allied with her field.It all started in Covilhã, Lara’s hometown, where, together with her brother and sister-in-law, they gathered their community in the first street art festival in Portugal. All around the city, street artists displayed their work on old buildings or empty facades. In Covilhã, they also did an inside-out project with the oldest workers of a factory, portraying these valued employees through large portraits on the exterior of the building. In 2017, they paid a tribute to the firemen after the massive fires that summer, all with street art. The connection between all of these projects was the impact of street art and the involvement of the community. These were, and still are, important values for Lara, as they give purpose to these projects.
Mistaker Maker also undertook a project around S. Bento station, in Porto, where illustrators were invited to share stories of some well-known people of the neighborhood through street art. The results were incredible, and the involvement of the whole neighborhood and the illustrators was so meaningful in bringing connection to everyone there, both old residents and new.
Another project full with purpose, which embraced the power of community,was for Federação Portuguesa de Futebol, a festival that occured all across the country and ended in Bairro da Jamaica, a social neighborhood in Setúbal. It was a tough community to work with, as Lara and the Mistaker Maker team had to work with the leaders first in order to finally reach the kids. To the organizers’ surprise, they found these children couldn’t easily articulate dreams and visions for their lives.t Instead, they were focused on surviving, rather than envisioning a purpose for the future. So, the main work there was to help the youth understand they could dream big. The result was a huge flag hanging in the center of the neighborhood saying “Conquista o Sonho” built with the help of all of the community.
In all of the projects Lara developed, she was expecting more young people to be around when the artists were working on the streets. However, it was interesting to find out that seniors were their most interested audience. They were always around and asking questions. So, Lara thought, why shouldn’t seniors connect, learn and be part of street art? This led to a new project called Lata 65, which started as a workshop about street art for seniors. They learned the history and theories behind street art, they picked out their own graffiti names and finished the experience by painting a wall with their own masterpieces! The receptivity of this initiative was huge, and this project is now in several countries, such as Spain, USA, and Brasil. This project definitely shows how art is for everyone and that age is just a number!
More recently, for these strange times in which we’re living, Mistaker Maker created something really cool called Sebenta da Quarentena. This colouring book was designed for elderly people in isolation during this pandemic, but it has grown and spread to everyone of all ages. Sebenta da Quarentena, made with the participation of 40 artists, has gone from just being a colouring book to inspiring much more creativity. People using the book are being so creative,using different materials and even embroidering the illustrations. It’s incredible how the purpose we give to something we build and develop can grow, change and adapt to people’s needs.
Lara is purpose-driven. She wants to make a point. She wants to give power to communities and has learned street art is a fast way to do it, faster than architecture. “I believe the arts have the power to transform society”, she said, and I must add, she proved it true with all of these amazing projects. Keep on going, Lara!
This event was full of art, energy and social impact and it was absolutely amazing and inspiring, particularly in times like these where many of us find it difficult to find a purpose. So don’t give up on finding your path or your purpose! We all have it, so pay attention to the signs along the way and everything will drive you there!
Text by Ana Sousa
Losing it (and being okay)
This month’s event was particularly special, given these strange and challenging times. This pandemic has changed our daily routines and is making us stay home and learn to live inside 24/7. Even though some routines have changed, CreativeMornings Lisbon wanted to keep our tradition alive and reunite our community, even if everyone could only join from the comfort of their own home. So, we went virtual!
Last Friday morning, we joined our first ever remote event to talk about Identity. What is your identity? What defines it? Could your job be defining your identity? To share thoughts about these and other questions, we invited Ana Luísa Silva, a scientific researcher turned IT Service Desk Agent. She had so much to share!
Ana has studied Biological Engineering, obtained a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology and pursued for a PhD in the Netherlands, which she finished in 2015. Her academic career was growing, which led her to a granted position as Postdoctoral Researcher in Lisbon in 2017. She was pursuing the standard life of an academic, reliant on grants for survival in this scientific world. That system is exactly what changed everything! In 2018, Ana wasn’t awarded another postdoctoral grant and her career was entirely diverted. With no funding, she could no longer pursue research.
As her hoped-for future was vanishing through her hands and the feeling of emptiness was surrounding her, she decided to find a psychologist. On the way to her first appointment, her heart rate started to escalate and she started to lose control of her movement. Before she knew it, she was being taken to the hospital while living out her first panic attack. This was definitely her lowest point. She was then diagnosed with anxiety and depression disorder, which she still manages to this day. Thankfully, she adopted one strategy early on to help, the strategy of adopting cats. Ana is a proud cat lady, with four little ones living with her!
In terms of her work, Ana was first invited to be a part-time teacher in an institute far away from her home, where the salary wouldn’t even cover gas money. When she opted not to accept, it was a turning point. Instead, Ana sent her CV to Fujitsu and started working as an IT Service Desk agent in their contact center. She decided to be the best agent possible, taking advantage of all the skills and knowledge she gained in her biotechnology and academic life! Now, she’s nailing it!
Ana provides clients exceptional support on the regular and is now being trained as a Problem Manager, the next step in this new career. She is a master at repairing Outlook or recovering passwords, and we all know how challenging those can be sometimes!
These last years were not easy, as Ana undertook this major life change. The depression was especially difficult and friends were lost. “Identity changes with experiences and losses…,” she remarked. However, it was also through this process that she learned to say no, to set boundaries, to remain true to her inner self and to pursue stuff she likes and she is good at: learning more, solving problems, pushing herself!
“A job is what we do. It could not define us. What we are inside is what defines us”, she said. It is the most absolute truth! Our identity is not defined by what we do to get a salary, it is much more than that! It’s what is inside of us, in our inner self, in our hearts, I must add.
Ana Silva shared with our community her vulnerabilities, her ghosts, her life-changing experiences and her successes, always truly connected to her identity. It was an honest and truly heart-connected talk, where most of us identified with some point of her story. Particularly in these challenging times that we are all living, the world might not ever be the same, many things will probably change, but our inner self, our most intrinsic identity will survive. Don’t ever forget, “What we are inside is what defines us”. Don’t ever let go of that certainty!
Text by Ana Sousa
How are you investing your time?
Everybody wants to leave their mark in the world. Everybody wants to be productive, to have that ‘can do’ attitude, to possess a winning mindset. The real question here is - what steps are we taking in order to make that happen. This was pretty much the discussion CreativeMornings Lisbon raised to its audience in February.
When João Vitória took the stage at NOW BEATO in February for the latest event of CreativeMornings Lisbon, he had a full room ready to listen to what he had to say. This event was a record in terms of sold out tickets (1 day for 100 tickets) and number of people in the waitlist (sorry, guys!).
“If you invest in something you’ll get something in return.” - this was one of the things he mentioned to this curious audience.
With a long experience in working on innovation projects, as well as with brand communications and digital platforms, Vitória has also worked in TV and journalism, hosting Portugal’s first consumer technology TV show. Last year, after completing an MBA at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, he decided to fly solo and introduced us to SHKR, his latest project.
It was pretty inspiring to see someone who’s had more than 25 years of work experience not being afraid to try and do something new: studying, writing, filming, launching new projects, leaving a job. Every single action helps to build resilience and a resilient man is what we see in João Vitória. And gosh, did we laugh with him!
Once again, our event was held at Now Beato, whose cosy atmosphere made everyone feel at home.
Nomadx was again our sponsor: they offer the breakfast catering by Kitschen, allowing our beautiful audience pay special attention to each month’s talk because their bellies are filled with love and delicious food.
Having said this, here’s some food for thought:
- Identify exactly what scares you, what are you afraid of. After doing that, just go and do stuff.
- Creativity is an attitude, not a department or a measurable task.
- Everyone has the potential to be amazing at something. One of greatest impediment to creativity is our impatience.
Roots and Creativity
2020 has finally arrived with so much to give, so much dream, so much sparkle to spread! New year, new beginnings. It’s time to restart, reconnect, rediscover, rebuild, re-something… And at CreativeMornings Lisbon the same happens.And this new year brought a major change. We have a new host! Rafaela Mota Lemos is now Lisbon chapter’s new host and there couldn’t be a better start for this fresh, smiley and cheerful girl: organizing the first event of the year! And what an amazing event it was!
Roots was the global theme for this month, which was definitely a nice way to begin the year and to plan our journey for the next months. Everyone has roots and it’s incredible how they define us, even in tiny, little details. Vanessa Teodoro's roots are all around her work as an artist. And that’s what she has talked (and shown!) through the last event.
Vanessa was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and lived there until being 8 years old, when she came to Portugal. She still has an accent, which is something that she tries to preserve as it helps her to stay connected to her roots. And her African roots remained with her, hugely expressed in her art works. She feels inspired by Africa and tribe, so all her works definitely have these connections. Vanessa loves to do monotones, black and white graphics and to draw female heroes. She showed several works and drawings where these characteristics were very intense, very present and very unique at the same time.
As time went by and throughout the evolution of her work, it became cleaner and cleaner. Which also happened to her name. She used to sign her work as Super Van, possibly inspired by female heroes, but she recently changed her signing name to Vanessa Teodoro.
To avoid getting bored in her daily work, Vanessa started to go out of her comfort zone and her work went from papers and paintings to a different stage of materials. She decorated a Jaguar car with her patterns, a dress, a bag or even an out-of-the-box Christmas tree for Ritz hotel. Trying different mediums and adapting to each client makes her keep improving and evolving. It’s a vast and miscellaneous portfolio, where her African roots keep showing up!
Finally, Vanessa gave some tips to the audience, somethings that she has learned through her experiences:
Focus on your own work.
Be competitive with yourself.
Not everyone will like your work. And that’s actually good.
Network your ass off.
And I must add: be faithful to yourself and to your origins. That’s how you’ll get your unique masterpieces, if you’re an artist, an engineer, a writer, an architect, a teacher, or whatever else. Be you.
It was an a fun and exciting morning. Everyone was connected to Vanessa, wanting to know more about her inspiration and her creative process. And she was so cool that she offered one of her prints in a very cool giveaway! Someone from the audience was really lucky and will never forget this event!
The atmosphere was incredible, everyone seemed to be having a blast! The food was delicious, and the venue was perfect for this first event of the year! A lot of talks, networking and bonding! And that’s what CreativeMornings is all about!
Text by Ana Sousa
In ancient Greek and Roman stories, it was one of the nine goddesses’ daughters of Zeus that could give encouragement in art, literature, music and science areas.
It is defined as a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for an artist.
After all is inspiration, motivation, source of creativity. And CreativeMornings Lisbon September event had it all!
It took place at Beta-i once more, starting with an amazing and marvellous breakfast provided by Allways. So tasty, so yummy and wrapped in such a city view! Perfect conditions for a perfect and special event: CreativeMornings Lisbon 3rd anniversary!
The atmosphere was amazing and there couldn’t be a better speaker for this muse and anniversary event as Patrícia Alves Oliveira! She has been a volunteer for this chapter for more than 6 months and now we could see her on stage, presenting her amazing PhD project! She presented a robot, YOLO (Your Own Living Object), that she developed during her PhD research, thought to stimulate children’s creativity. YOLO was designed to engage and inspire children to create stories, being a participant in their storytelling. It has motion and touch sensors to understand how the kid is using it and was trained to react in certain ways during the story that the child is creating.
As a psychologist this work was truly challenging for Patrícia, she had to learn a lot about mechanics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), electronics and programming. It was amazing to see some videos of her during the robot’s manufacturing. Being outside her main area of studies she overcome many obstacles of this project, also co-working with many institutes and students from other areas. It is important to notice that all the manufacturing process of YOLO was made with children, they were part of the process in each step of it. YOLO construction instructions are open source, so that anyone interested can buy the materials and build their own creativity robot. It’s amazing and delightful to hear Patrícia talking about all the process, all the challenges, all the achievements!
She also talked about the psychology part of this project, mostly related to the human-robot interaction and how humans feel around these machines. Examples of developed robots all around the world were shown, from human to functional robots, and how people see them. Although there are a lot of ethical questions about this type of technology, Patrícia showed and proved the benefits of a creativity robot such as YOLO. Any child should have a YOLO. One could almost say that each and everyone needs a YOLO in their lives, to stimulate creativity and increase the motivation!
After this talk one could say that all Patrícia’s work was creative and inspiring! She developed something to stimulate children’s creativity, she was creative during the process and she made something out of the box. Something that could absolutely live with our children and make them interested in storytelling without borders and limits.
All about robots. All about muse. Can a robot be a muse? Patrícia showed that definitely yes! So here in CreativeMornings we could change a little bit muse definition.
It is defined as a person or personified force or a robot-like toy who is the source of inspiration for an artist. Or a child. Or anyone who loves storytelling!
Text by Ana Sousa
Justice. Equality. Feminism. Human rights.
CreativeMornings Lisbon August event was about these huge and powerful concepts, about a subject that is still actual, unfortunately. The sexual harassment suffered mostly by women in Portugal. It’s present in our society, in our families, through our friends, and most importantly it is still present in our action and words. And this shouldn’t go on.
So, on the last Friday of August, the morning started with another amazing CreativeMornings event hosted by Beta-i with a nice venue, particularly the balcony with a view to the city of Lisbon, and a marvellous breakfast, co-provided by Allways.
We had a full-house and the atmosphere during the breakfast was amazing, everyone chatting with each other, eating something good and drinking the expected morning coffee, so characteristic of CreativeMornings.
To talk about Justice and Equality we had the #NãoéNormal movement, with Ana Esteves and Diogo Faro. They started by presenting this movement, how it started and what it aims to be. Diogo was the one doing this presentation with his sense of humour reflected in his speaking as he is a known Portuguese comedian. First, as a man, Diogo never truly thought about how it is to be a woman at school, at work, at public transportations… How women can suffer from being observed, some comments from their bosses or just some kind of pick up line in the street that is everything but that… At some point, some months ago, he decided to do some humoristic work about these types of sexual behaviours of minor importnace and how they are so frequent within our society. Through his social media, Diogo asked women to share some story they have lived concerning this subject. He wasn’t expecting more than 30 testimonials… But he got more than 200…! He continued to receive messages sharing stories of sexual harassments and that made him understand that something had to be done, something that overcame his initial idea, that something must change. This is not normal!
So, he met with some friends, Ana included, and they created #NãoéNormal, a movement to promote gender equality and to deconstruct acts of sexism that are too much rooted in our society. This has been quite a process for Ana, Diogo and the other co-founders as they understood and gained conscience that each one of them is also part of the problem. Não é Normal is not particularly targeted for rapists, it is targeted for the “normal people”, it aims to help enculturate new and small daily behaviours that could change society mindset. What this movement does, as a call for action, is sharing ideas through social media and going to schools to promote debates about this among the youngsters. Essentially it is about getting conscious about these issues, make everyone think about them and understand how each one of us is part of the problem. And then, they hope, get to change something: some acts, some sayings, some prejudices.
It starts with small things… Society gained ideas that are spreading this issue, such as “you’re a lady, you must know how to cook” or “bad driver? Must be a women” … These ideas that grow with us… And must definitely change!
After Diogo presentation, Ana tried to make some debate, promoting audience questions. For her, this is a matter to discuss, to make everyone think about it. That is the only way to make a change. There were a lot of questions and shares, which truly made everyone understand how real it is, how this is something that everyone should think and care about.
This month theme was serious and somehow tough. CreativeMornings event was a place for shares, for thinking, for understanding the urgent need of justice and gender equality. August event was a time for networking, as always, for bonding and for social impact discussions. Always full of creative minds and inspiring people, in an innovative and inspirational place as Beta-i, where startups are accelerated and launched to create impact. We couldn’t think of a better way to end August month as with this inspiring, touching and reflective event!
Justice is about true equality, when man and women are treated as equals, having the same rights. It’s about knowing that whatever you say can, and most certainly will, affect the other person and will enter their own individual space. We should all think about this and gain consciousness that through our lives we had situations when we felt as victims and other where somehow, we contributed to these minor sexual behaviours. We should all care. Something must change. This is not normal.
Text by Ana Sousa