If you think the messages and themes I’m about to share with you from the Creativity World Forum 2017 are tedious… I accept your challenge to discover this conference was actually truly welcoming and captures the real spirit of creativity!
I attended CWF17, the 13th annual celebration of creativity, on behalf of Creative Edinburgh and was part of the Scottish delegation hosted by Scottish Government. The delegation included our partners from Creative Dundee, Cultural Enterprise Office, MadeBrave, The Melting Pot, Edinburgh College of Art and many more. The two-day ‘nonference’ in Aarhus, Denmark - the 2017 European Capital of Culture - focused its events around the Musikhuset Aarhus: the city’s glorious music hall and the largest concert hall in Scandinavia.
The organisers of CWF17 really took it to heart when they set out to “[explore] how to inject creativity into the core of [their] conference,” and to ensure that we, as delegates (and our related communities) embrace that “creativity is literally for everyone...!”
The event itself hosted 1200 delegates from 21 countries and featured nine keynote talks and 38 breakout sessions. These all addressed and responded to the provocation of three themes:
1. How to cultivate and nurture the creative spirit in people
2. How to make room for skills and competencies as creative enterprise
3. How to transform city heritage into city of opportunity
The speakers and each of the breakout sessions addressed these themes through their talks, and even derision, of industry, sector and culture. It was all relevant, inspiring, motivational and emotive!
Steve Vranakis, Executive Creative Director at Google, was overcome during his talk; we in the audience were in awe at Steve’s emotional storytelling ability. He shared how his team, along with other tech giants, were moved to build the Crisis Info Hub: an open source project to aid in support of the European refugee crisis. It is true innovation for human equality and justice.
We laughed. We cried. We partied. And if you want to call it networking, heck, we networked the heck out of CWF17. What wonderful and inspiring people were drawn to this event!
The conference hosts summed up all the learning from our keynote speakers. The main messages included:
Build a better world!
Maximise human potential through creativity with beauty, machine learning & AI, brain, media, absurdity, empathy, democracy, liveability, creative confidence and music.
But that wasn’t all. Each of the breakout sessions addressed these provocations in their own way; we were addressing these themes through unique engagement with the conference. From these sessions, we as delegates discovered:
The future is created when different worlds collide!
Collaborate, innovate inward, power with people, fail fast, be flexible, bridge the gap between creatives & corporates, create space for creativity, share knowledge and nurture passion for exploration.
Despite the greyness of the Aarhus skies - reminiscent of the lands from which we departed - the backdrop of the ARoS rainbow and the vibrancy of the collective delegate spirit kept my heart warmed as if by the glow of summer sunshine!