In the Forever Hollywood Cemetery in Los Angeles, renowned musician Moby talks to a rapt audience about issues ranging from supplying free music for independent filmmakers, through to urban possibilities for creative freedom. In Edmonton, Alberta, stage manager and blogger Michelle Kennedy ponders the sexual health of her city. In Cape Town, Maximillian Kaizen, Public Lead for Creative Commons in South Africa, highlights practical copyright and intellectual property tools for content creators to safely share their works. In Dublin, Eire, street artist Solus offers insights into interventionist creative practices in the common public sphere.
These eclectic lectures are the brainchild of an exciting organization known as “CreativeMornings” which, as a project, is pretty much summed up by its name: once a month, you take a city, you introduce a communal theme (one month it’s “sex,” then it’s “freedom” and another month it’s “childhood”) that will spark lectures on that theme in linked cities across the world, you invite an array of speakers to talk on that theme…
… oh, and most importantly, you get to have a nice breakfast whilst doing so. A combination of sustenance for the body and the mind, the Creative Mornings are intended as double nourishment for those creatives wanting an international array of breakfast foods and food for thought. The themes are chosen by committee, and are broad enough to allow great leeway of interpretation, depending on the hosting city.
It’s a mix of global versus glocal that unites disparate creatives across international boundaries and time zones, and opens up some interesting possibilities to examine the means of artistic production from a variety of perspectives. To continue with the food analogy that seems delightfully central to the tone and mood of Creative Mornings; as an attendee you can have your cake and eat it, too: local events offer perspectives based on local practices and observations; the international events are recorded and made available to those who may want to consider parallel (or divergent) perspectives from other countries from the comfort of their computer screen. It’s a great way of mixing the attractive aspect of homogeneity (normally a buzz word meant to invoke horror at the prospect of all points in time and space becoming the same Western capitalist template) with the delight of heterogenous eccentricity.
For instance, this June, the theme of “Minimal” is being interpreted by, amongst others, typographer and graphic designer, Yuri Gordon, founder of Letterhead Studio in Moscow, whilst in Prague, mountain climber Marek Holeček, who scales some of the highest mountains in the world, will talk about doing this with the least amount of equipment possible. The mix is constantly rotating, bring new and wildly eclectic speakers to ‘conquer’ topics from their respective geographical base camps.
The whole affair, in keeping with it’s outreach tenor, seems to be a relatively democratic affair (it’s been called “TED for the rest of us.”), as initiated by Founder Tina Roth Eisenberg (of SwissMiss) who started the project in NYC in September 2008. Creative Mornings are free to attendees, thanks to the support of local sponsors, generous venues, and long term partners.
If you want to be the first in your city to start a Creative Mornings chapter (and be advised: there is only one chapter allowed per city…) the web site has a simple fact sheet for what is needed (one organizer per chapter, a commitment to one meeting a month for twelve months – renewable – and so on).
So if your idea of a good time is seeing/hearing something new and unique from the creative pioneers of urban spaces, then it’s time to either attend an existing CreativeMornings in your city, or start up a new chapter. Either way, take along your business cards; think of the networking opportunities!
You can find out all about CreativeMornings at www.creativemornings.com.