Get Your Creative Juices Flowing Connecting With London’s Creative Communities
London’s abuzz with creatives and creativity. No wonder this city has been one of my go-to's for inspiration, from music to street style, ever since my first visit while studying abroad at university in France. During New York accessories design days, London would be part of our trend research trips to spot what’s happening in the European fashion capitals. Whether you're new in town, looking for a fresh dose of inspiration, or itching to be a part of this buzz and creative energy, where do you start? Coming from multifunction roles in fashion which extend beyond product to branding, content creation, styling, photoshoot and showroom build, I began exploring the creative communities innovating in these areas to dive into London’s design world upon moving here as a pond hopper. Join me and get your creative juices flowing!
My journey to connect with this city’s creative circles began with the intriguing sounding Glug ‘notwork’ at Re:create talk series launch with Spaces. Glug, co-founded 2007 in London by Nick Clement and Ian Hambleton, champions creative communities around the world and host events in 25 cities and counting with goals for 100 cities by 2018. The evening introduced the ‘social media illuminati’ Social Chain marketing agency founded and run by millennials, where CEO Steve Barlett explained they can make anything the No.1 trend on Twitter in less than half an hour, living and breathing social first. The digital disruption theme continued with Dan Kirby CEO of Techdept on marketing creative meets technology in the experience economy.
Next up, the 17 Exhibition featuring posters by designers worldwide representing the Sustainable Development Goals prompted me to bring a friend to Glug’s XMASSIVE year end event at the cavernous, cool House of Vans skate, art and music space, interested as a world citizen to tap creative means to likewise do my part. Screenprinting T’s over a quick catch up with an old schoolmate of my friend’s who happened to be the event partner, we’re reminded to make awesome things and be awesome!
Fast forward to Glug x CANNT June 2017 summer party which attracts like-minded international creatives like Lydia in town from Stockholm on a workation, as we bond over our New York connection and what inspires us from meeting at another CANNT event the previous evening to Women Who, a URL & IRL community for creative ladies.
In between the season highlights, I get inspired at Glug Meets, notworking night hosted by an agency, and Glug Presents, talks showcasing stories behind the spectrum of creative individuals, studios, and projects across London’s landscape. Especially inspiring is the realness and infectious energy of Pip Jamieson, founder of The Dots the innovative digital platform Forbes calls LinkedIn for creatives, on her mission to connect 1 million creative professionals to jobs by 2018 and her tales as an entrepreneur from Australia/ NewZealand to UK. Scarlett Montanaro is another motivating example harnessing creative for good with CRACK + CIDER: Shop for the Homeless. Mr. Doodle embodies his art in every waking moment and lives to share it across the city, where you’re likely to experience his iconic, whimsical style going about your day.
September’s Glug Meets will be at the new home of Studio Output and Found Studio with a chance to try Vanishing Act, a demo of room scale VR experience about the story of a scientist who has digitised his memories developed by Marcus Moresby, director and head of VR. I first heard Marcus share about his project and being inspired by Punchdrunk immersive theatre, which I’m a big fan of their Sleep No More production in New York, at Inside the Mind of Brilliant Designers series by General Assembly (featured next in Part 2). Looking forward to check out this experience from one of the VR innovators!
Similarly across the pond, Creative Mornings was started in 2008 by Tina Roth Eisenberg for New York’s creative community with a monthly breakfast talk on a chosen theme providing an open space to connect like-minded individuals, now sharing positive vibes in 173 cities. I was introduced to this uplifting morning ritual by my friend Kath, a super engaged connector who values community building in life and work as a fellow explorer who has lived across the globe. Your experiences in all chapters of your life story are shaped by and reflected in the communities you engage in. Theme 51 in February 2017 reflects on moments that define us. Communications designer Joana Casaca Lemos summed it up best that everything you do is about people, from having empathy in design to community with the emphasis on unity in the word.
Theme 52 of taboo followed in March with Sam Piggott bravely sharing his story of a launch for Dojo iOS which caused 10,000 app crashes and openly talking about dealing with imposter syndrome. Props to Sam for such honesty and leading by example to encourage others that it’s ok to open up about such experiences and help others overcome fears of feeling like a fraud in the process. Creative Mornings really showcases the beautiful human behind amazing accomplishments.
May introduced theme 54 of serendipity and engages the community to ponder how we embrace and cultivate such delightful, unforeseen accidents often leading to opportunities we seek. Carl Martin, who’s worn many hats in his digital career and founder of Wurqs, reflects on how it’s the relationships he’s built over the years that’s lead to all his job opportunities and successes. Couldn’t agree more with his belief of being identified by your values rather than job title, and reminder to create value and help others while building your relationships, which serendipitously opens doors when the time comes.
Equality as a work in progress through the power of community is theme 56 for July. Presented by Anthony Burrill, respected graphic artist, print-maker, and designer, who delights in doing things physically by hand in our increasingly digital driven world. His distinctive upbeat style expressed through seminal typographic prints such as the famous “Work Hard and Be Nice to People” have become a mantra for the design community and beyond. He encourages creatives to “Think Of Your Own Ideas” and “Ask More Questions” in your process, and creates powerful messages such as “Oil & Water Don’t Mix” printed from leaked BP oil.
Compassion, to practice accepting others and ourselves, was just announced as theme 58 for September and I look forward to the speaker invite next.