“Designing for possibilities rather than expectations.”
Christopher Daniel (@polysemic42 and @longnowldn on Twitter and @polysemic on Instagram), is an architect, educator, designer and inveterate enthusiast. When I was pulling together the various initial threads of what this podcast could be he was one of the first people I contacted to sense check what I was doing and how. His breadth of listening and reading across the creative industries, combined with consistently taking that material and actually doing something with it in the real world, made him an excellent sounding board for ideas and the plans for their practical application. A great example of that, and just one among many, was doing a conversation where I shared frustrations around trying to convert ideas ofr a visual icon for the podcast into something I could use, without investing hundreds of pounds in unknown providers. Chris listened intently, asked a few seemingly basic questions and responded with visual mock-ups that were exactly what I’d been trying to articulate. True to his talent for converting ideas into useful things he then refine one for me just because he enjoyed the challenge of figuring it out and making something interesting. And that’s been the icon I’ve used since day one.
In this broad ranging conversation we get into:
- The value of enthusiasm and curiosity
- Theatre design and design for performance
- Burning Man, opportunity and the power of possibility
- Extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation and finding meaningful work
- A building as an iterative process
- Conventional architectural training and designers relationship with their work
- Hierarchy in design studios
- How buildings learn
- Long-term thinking and the work of the Long Now Foundation
- Teaching as part of developing creative practice
- Architects Registration Board (ARB)
- Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
- Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)
- Burning Man
- The Ten Principles of Burning Man
- The Yard Theatre
- Practice Architecture
- The Craftsman by Richard Sennett
- Stewart Brand
- The Long Now Foundation
- How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand
- Brian Eno
- Danny Hillis
- Kevin Kelly
- The Rosetta Disc
- The White Horse of Uffington
“If you don’t make mistakes you won’t make anything.”
Jessica Bowles ( @JesBowles ) is the Principal Lecturer and Course Leader of the MA/MFA Creative Producing at Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Jessica trained as a Designer for Film and TV, and spent the early part of her career working across Europe in theatre design with organisations including Dukes Playhouse Lancaster, Young Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her subsequent career in education has spanned writing the BA (Cons) Theatre Practice Course at Central School of Speech and Drama and introducing undergraduate Circus and Puppetry degrees to UK Higher Education. Jessica also founded the Masters course in Creative Producing which she now leads. Through her work in education Jessica has supported the learning of an extraordinary range of people now working across the theatre and wider performing arts industries.
During the course of our conversation we cover:
- Learning through asking questions and finding your community
- Massive jam tarts
- Producing as project management, people management and storytelling
- The journey of self belief
- Standing on the shoulders of giants
- Factors that influence excellence in theatre training
- Theatre as a prototyping process
- Starting with your means to avoid barriers
- Elements of being a successful producer
- The importance of connecting to your own values
- Designing learning experiences that students own
- Models for evaluating projects and extracting learning.
“It’s a statement of fact, every child is born creative.”
John Howkins is a leading writer and strategist on the Creative Economy. His first book The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas has become the seminal account of how creative people think and develop new ideas. His follow-up book Creative Ecologies: Where Thinking is a Proper Job applies new ideas on ecology to how people work together and co-creativity. It asks, Where do we think best?
Over the last fifteen years John has worked with a wide range of people and organisations in over thirty countries to increase understanding of creativity and innovation in a business environment. He continues to write, lecture and debate on the creative economy and what it means for us.
Before publishing The Creative Economy, John worked for a number of successful companies in publishing, TV, film, digital media and streaming. From 1982-1996 he was associated with HBO and Time Warner with responsibilities for TV and broadcast strategy in Europe. This experience convinced him that successful creative people share the same mindset and work in the same way.
John is a Member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on the Creative Economy. He has been Chairman of the London Film School, Deputy Chairman of the British Screen Advisory Council (BSAC) and Council Member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). He was Executive Director of the International Institute of Communications (IIC).
He is Executive in Residence at the Drucker School of Management, Claremont, Los Angeles; Visiting Professor, City University, London; and Vice Dean and Visiting Professor, Shanghai School of Creativity, Shanghai Theatre Academy, China.
He is a former Chairman of CREATEC, Tornado Productions and BOP Consulting, and a board member of Equator Films, HandMade plc, HotBed Media, Screen East and other companies.
John founded and directed the RSA Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property.
He also worked as a journalist for many years on Frendz, Time Out, The Sunday Times, Harpers & Queen and The Economist. He was editor of InterMedia, Vision (the BAFTA journal) and The National Electronics Review.He has a BA in International Relations (Keele University) and a AA (Dip) and MA in Urban Design (Architectural Association).
In our wide ranging conversation we talk about;
- How to self define you job when you don’t have a title
- John’s research and writing practice
- Working at the Whole Earth Catalogue
- Writing a TV and books column for Time Out
- Setting up Channel 4 and the Birth of Britain’s independent TV production industry
- Where the term creative industries came from
- The sandwich analogy as relates to policy making
- Everybody is creative as a statement of fact
- The power of making the ask
- The value of being concise
- The importance of creativity for a healthy society
- The difference between learning and education
- The importance of learning as part of a creative practice
LINKS from this episode
- The Creative Economy by John Howkins
- Creative Ecologies by John Howkins
- The Whole Earth Catalogue
- Stewart Brand
- Rolling Stone UK
- Time Out
- Nam June Paik
- Channel 4
- The International Institute of Communications (IIC)
- The Ford Foundation
- The Creative Industries
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
- The Adelphi Charter
- The Intellectual Property Office
- The Royal Society of Arts
- Larry Lessig
- James Boyle
- Vandana Shiva
- Cory Doctorow
- Li Wuwei
- Adam Grant
- Bob Lefsetz
- Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy, The New Yorker
- What Termites Can Teach Us, The New Yorker
- How The Enlightenment Ends, The Atlantic
“As long as I was seeking and learning and find something new I was happy, I didn’t want to be making widgets.”
Brent Hansen (@bvhansen on Instagram) spent 19 years at MTV Europe where he rose from news producer to President of Creative and Editor-in-Chief of MTV Networks International. He was in the start up team of the European arm of the company and played an instrumental part in its meteoric growth.
Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, on the same day as Little Richard recorded ‘Tutti Frutti’ Brent’s childhood of listening to music and student days spent volunteering in anything to connected to music led to a job with Television New Zealand followed by a variety of roles at a pre-cursor to MTV; Radio with Pictures.
In his early 30s while planning a 6 month trip to London followed by returning to New Zealand via New York Brent reached out to various people working in the then relatively small area of music based TV in those cities. One of those people was MTVs Les Garland and although he had left the channel by that time, that letter led to Brent getting a job at the fledgling MTV Europe. This was the beginning of an almost two decade adventure working for and ultimately running arguably the most influential force in music on TV across Europe.
If you’re interested in the media industry and the extraordinary heights consistent seeking and curiosity can lead you to Brent’s story is for you.
In this wide ranging conversation we talk about:
- Interviewing David Bowie, Lee Perry, Iggy Pop & Sonic Youth
- Being told you’ll never make a career out of Rock & Roll
- Learning through doing
- The difference between US and UK companies
- The vision of the United Sates of Europe
- Regionalisation of MTV Europe
- The intimacy of MTV Unplugged
- Launching the MTV Europe Awards
- Listening through your eyes and the increasing visual literacy of younger generations
- Not taking luck for granted or ‘getting above your raising’
LINKS from this episode
“I don’t feel like you need to have a PHD in dance to understand my work……inclusive, accessible, art, entertaining. It’s all of those things…..I want you to have fun if you come and experience a show or a workshop we’re putting on…..if we’re not having fun what’s the point.”
She works to empower, entertain and educate through dance theatre production experiences, coaching, dance based empowerment workshops and teaching in further and higher education.
The daughter of a Barrister and Labour Councillor Vicki was raised in a Nigerian household where dance was part of her upbringing. Aged 14 Vicki became a carer for her mother and younger sisters and dance became her escape. Over the following years Vicki turned this escape into a career which has so far spanned becoming a sponsored dance athlete with Nike, setting up and growing Uchenna dance, choreographing for the opening and closing ceremonies of two olympic games and creating commissions for several prestigious dance organisations in the UK.
In this wide ranging conversation we cover;
- The importance of accessibility for audiences
- Dance as an expression of joy
- The power of a teacher allowing students to just be, accepting mistakes and highlighting improvement
- Learning through doing what’s necessary
- The value of having someone who believes in you
- Training Vs Talent
- Personal challenges informing professional practice
- A brief history of House Music
- Being baptised on the dance floor
- Dance as a tool for empowering, educating and entertaining
- Working on the mass movement at the London 2012 Olympic Games
- The importance of taking risks and defining the worst that can happen
LINKS from the episode
“If there was one bit of advice for anyone that wants to adopt a leadership position in the arts and culture sector I would say ‘Be yourself, with skill.”
David Micklem (@davidmicklem) is an independent producer, consultant and writer. During his early career he spent significant periods of time at Arts Council England as their Senior Theatre Strategy Officer followed by Battersea Arts Centre as Joint Artistic Director.
David now divides his time between;
David’s consulting portfolio includes Arts Council Wales (Resilience Programme), In Between Time (as an Associate), the British Council, FutureCity (Associate) and a range of theatres and companies.
Supporting people being creative
Both in his work directly with professional artists and as co-founder and chair of 64 Million Artists, an organisation based on the belief believe everyone is creative, and can make a positive change in the world through getting in touch with this.
David has written an original six-part drama for television and is currently writing a novel.
In this broad conversation we get into:
- What working in a leadership role at BAC was like and why it became a second home.
- Working with Punchdrunk on the ‘Masque of the Red Death’.
- The power of storytelling in fundraising.
- Why everyone should have a mid life crisis.
- Taking risks, exploring creativity and a moment of epiphany in a coffee shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico
- The importance of ‘doing good foyer’.
- Creativity in a toothpaste factory.
The quote I’m struggling to recall around an hour into the recording and ultimately butcher is this one from Maya Angelou;
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- IETM (International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts) or ‘Informal European Theatre Meeting’
- Next Wave Festival
- The Factory
- Fierce Festival
- Arts Council England
- The Producers: Alchemists of the impossible
- Royale Deluxe
- Battersea Arts Centre
- David Jubb’s Ted Talk
- Kazuko Hohki
- The Masque of the Red Death
- 64 Million Artists
- Norfolk & Norwich Festival
- The British Council