Platforms for creativity #1

Sunday, February 15, 2015

At the end of January, David Gauntlett and I went up to Dundee to give a talk on Platforms for Creativity and run a workshop on Tools for Thinking. Both went really well, and we were especially pleased to be part of the celebrations for Dundee being named as a UNESCO City of Design. 

You can read some information written in advance of the event here, and see a fantastic Storify of the whole day - put together by our host, Mike Press - here. Many thanks to all the participants for tweeting and blogging so comprehensively!

In our talk, we explained that we were thinking about platforms for creativity as being opportunities for people to creatively express themselves and transform their worlds. Importantly, we thought about the 'platforms' as supporting people to achieve things beyond what that they might otherwise think possible.

David spent some time hunting for a nice image to represent this idea - but found that most images of real-world platforms start broad at the bottom, and gradually become narrower. In contrast, we wanted to show that our conceptual platforms opened up new opportunities - so, visually, the shape should start narrow and grow upwards and outwards.

When I got home, I realised that I had the answer to this visual conundrum in my bag: two sets of building blocks. I'd taken one set along to the workshop as a potential tool for thinking, and picked up the other in the Dundee Contemporary Arts shop as a treat for our house. As I started to play with them, I realised that there's a natural tendency when playing with blocks to try to defy gravity - to grow upwards and outwards! (That's particularly possible with the ace new set of blocks - the hexagonal 'Brutalism' set from Areaware.)

So, here we go: a couple of visual representations of 'platforms for creativity', just a couple of weeks too late.