Melbourne people love their coffee and a strole though the laneways and streets of inner Melbourne will allow you to see people congregating in a hundred different cafés. This vibrant café and coffee culture is an integral and exciting part of our city.
With this in mind, organising a coffee morning to discuss creativity, design and design thinking was going to be a cinch – as congregating over coffee to meet socially is what us Melbournians do. So, last Sunday 14th September, a colourful group of people congregated at The Huddle in North Melbourne to talk about creative cultures. No agenda was set, no topic of discussion rehearsed; we simply met. Over coffee. The only prompt being:
A coffee morning to explore design thinking and creative cultures.
Approximately 16 attendees identified their fields of interest as being teaching, educational design, science communication, maker-designer, adult education, linguistics – sociology, art, architecture, artist – civil engineer and teacher-librarian. This is exactly what we aimed to achieve – to gather together a group of creatives from a variety of professional backgrounds.
For a full report on this event see the Storify post: Creative Coffee – Melbourne #INF536. A meeting of creatives to discuss design thinking and the design of learning spaces.
This initiative was a collaborative effort between myself and Graham Clark; who has also commented on this event at his blog site Clouding Around. I work in secondary education whilst Graham works as a learning portal coordinator in adult education. By working together we hoped to be able to leverage our efforts and attract a wider variety of participants through our individual social and professional networks.
Ideas we discussed: –
- The concept of a creative coffee meeting as illustrated by the video Edinburgh Coffee Morning. This reinforced the informal structure of these creative gatherings.
- Design thinking prompted by Tim Brown’s call for Designers to Think Big. This is exciting stuff!
It was invigorating to listen to people from different backgrounds offer their perspectives on creativity and the design process. One consensus – we are all designers.
- What is design thinking? Most participants were not familiar with this the idea of design thinking.
- The growth of maker spaces and SpaceTanks Studio – a creative studio. Check it out – it’s an innovative space.
- Communities of practise – as exemplified by TeachMeets and creative coffee mornings.
- Movements that are heading away from traditional education.
- Concepts of Pedagogy and Knowledge. Questioning what is knowledge in our so called knowledge economy.
- Architecture and design. Patrick from Thomson Adsett is very keen for us to participate in an online meeting with their education manager .
- Hybridisation – the process of creating new things. This idea linked in well with concepts of design thinking where new knowledge is discovered via processes of design.
- http://pigeonholemagazine.com as a creative space. It’s refreshing to see creative educators at work in their communities.
We experienced an exciting morning of rich discussion and those that attended are very keen for the meets to continue. One Twitter post: –
— Judy O’Connell (@heyjudeonline) September 14, 2014
Additionally, a handful of people who could not attend expressed an interest in attending future meetings. In particular, a couple of academics involved in exploring the relationship between learning and space are very keen to contribute. This is exciting stuff!
Our focus remains to bring together people from a variety of backgrounds that are enthused about exploring the design, creativity and the design of learning environments to support modern pedagogies. We want to create a culture where educators learn principles of design from designers and designers can learn about education and pedagogy from professional educators. This is not just teachers offering PD to teachers or designers working with designers. It is about a sense of discovery. It is about the surprising need for strangeness: –
As elegantly discussed in this video “When we are at our best, we reach out to people who are not like us, because when we do that we learn from people who are not like us.” and when we meet with people that are not like us we might ask:
What can we do together that benefits us both?
So, watch out for future creative coffee mornings organised by myself and Graham Clark. We are feeling very excited about this initiative and invite you to participate in future meets, however you can. We are planning to use the hashtag #ccyarra What do you think?
Please gift me with your thoughts and comments and stay tuned for our next creative coffee morning. Register here to be kept informed of future events.
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