What is creativity? Meet Soho Create
It took me a long time to write this post because you see, I’ve had the chance to go to a pretty great event at the beginning of the month and it’s really given me a lot to think about.
Held over two days in the heart of Soho in London and featuring a rich program of panel sessions and open houses as well as the opportunity to network with like-minded creative professionals at various exciting venues, I didn’t have to think twice before accepting the invitation by Soho Create to come attend their first ever edition.
A few of you saw my tweets across the two days and promptly interacted on social media to express the same surprise that struck me as I opened the festival programme for the first time: the team behind Soho Create must either be extremely well-connected, or a classic combination of ambitious and hard-working because the event they put together (for the first time let’s not forget it) was positively brimming with creative giants.
I wonder if all the other attendees found it similarly hard to pick and mix between sessions which all appealed to me at first glance and there were many creatives that I really wanted an opportunity to listen to.
What I found really interesting about Soho Create is that they did not take the conservative road of a workshop, presentation or interview on stage but rather, they built their sessions around panels of creative minds who would bounce ideas off each other around themes which all dealt with the central idea of creativity, sometimes helped by a moderator, sometimes not.
This really made for flexible and open dialogue between the panellists as well as with the audience and it was a breath of fresh air for someone like me who (luckily) gets to attend festivals and conferences regularly.
Active listening was really encouraged throughout and we were frequently asked to do a show of hands to answer some questions on topic or to jump in with our experiences at any point of the 90 minutes long sessions. This really contributed to make any attendee feel quite central to the discussion being held, not only as a listener but truly as a participant and fellow creative, which created quite an upbeat, privileged atmosphere through the event.
All in all, I had a fantastic time and if you’d like to go next year – I couldn’t recommend it more. You’ll be happy to know that there was a full access festival pass for the two days (£192) but also single sessions passes (£20) so there is room for catching only what really interests you if you are on a budget or can’t afford to take some time off work.
I picked my sessions carefully, and after considering what my fellow bloggers Sarah from The Prosecco Diaries, Ché from IndieBerries and Angela from The Awkward Blog wanted to see too, went ahead and booked the following:
Thursday // “Creative Collaboration – making it work” with Tatty Devine co-founder Harriet Vine and Fine artist & Printmaker Rob Ryan. “Nobody ever laughed at lighting” with Cinematographer Michael Seresin and Sir John Hegarty, Founder of BBH London. “Nobody said it was easy, why the journey is worth it” with Fuel Theatre co-founder Kate McGrath, Singer and MC Ms Dynamite and Photographer Suki Dhanda. “No risk, no future” with filmmakers Sophie Fiennes and Joanna Hogg.
Friday //”Why we do what we do – a creative journey” with FITCH design Chief Creative Tim Greenhalgh, Photographer Nadav Kander and Songwriter Sacha Skarbek. “Do you do it like me?” with Creative Director Simon Heath, We Are Knee High Artistic Director Emma Rice, Choreographer Will Tuckett and Novelist / Filmmaker Xiaolu Guo. “Different yet the same?” with Author & Illustrator Lauren Child and Architecture & Interior Designer Maria Speake. “Design for life & how to upgrade the everyday” with Ilse Crawford, Interior Architect & Founding Editor of Elle Deco and Designer Frith Kerr from Studio Frith
The festival promised the following: “No charts, tech, trends, spreadsheets, graphs, spin, or politics, no markets redefined and no paradigms shifted. Just creative folk talking about what they do and why they do it.” Well Soho Create, I can confirm that you delivered this exactly!
Ideally I would have made a video-blog but it seems I still have some way to go with video editing. The intention was there, and it’s something that I’m going to be working on when I get my new DSLR (Cannot. Wait.) In fact I really wish I would have taken a camera with me because so many of the locations for the sessions where gorgeous, like the House of St Barnabas pictured above (image source here).
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