Thoughts on creat_ED

creat_ed LOGO.3000pngAlthough I’ve run countless events and conferences in my time creat_ED was much more daunting, as it wasn’t for a client or an employer. Instead it was something I’d been personally inspired to do following the demise of Learning Without Frontiers, (low down here), and that meant that there was much more riding on it, not least the prospect of failing quite publicly!

The good news is that it was a remarkable success (phew). There were lots of reasons for this and hat tips to the amazing speakers, all of the participants and my partners in crime Eylan Ezekiel and Drew Buddie. But I think it was also about:

  • Combining the right people
  • Attention to the gaps between stuff
  • Creating constructive chaos

Getting the combination right

Everyone seemed truly inspired and excited by the combination of people at creat_ED – creatives, technologists and educationalists. This isn’t a mix that happens very often and it was genuinely valued.

Former head teacher Lizzie Overton said afterwards that she found the mix of people really important: “As an educator it’s hugely valuable to be exposed to the non-education world. The mix at creat_ED meant there was a randomness to whom you might meet it could be a musician, technologist or artist just as much as it could be a fellow educator.”

Creating gaps

It’s easy to think when you plan an event that it’s all about the speakers, the workshops and the agenda but creat_ED reminded me that it’s the gaps between scheduled elements that are just as important as the official programme.

Creat_ED had a lot of gaps for people to chat and it was valued a great deal.  For example, @edintheclouds tweeted: “really nice space for discussion between and around the speakers at #creat_ED. It’s rare (and valuable) to have time to think.”

We’ve all been to events that have been tightly time-managed and at the end it can feel that we’ve scaled Everest. Events need to be shaped around humans and humans don’t always fit rigid timetables.

Constructive chaos

creat_ED managed to produce the right environment for great ideas to develop. At times we swerved into complete chaos but overall we kept the pot bubbling away.

The unconference structure was an education for me and, as someone that likes to plan and manage, rather a leap of faith. But it worked and created a vibe that I think @creativetallis summed up neatly in their tweet “Inspiring start #creat_ED conference. There’s a buzz in the room – risk, agility, fearlessness, connectivity, creativity & other goodness.”

The creat_ED future

There has been a lot of ‘what next?’ from people that attended creat_ED (or wished they had). I think the space we created is really important to preserve and the feedback we had suggests that if we organised creat_ED again we wouldn’t be on our own….