Creating Creative Places and Spaces

A seminar aims to collaborate on urban ideas, but feels a little like a lecture


Creative Places and Spaces seeks to “[blur] boundaries between audience and creator, inspiring us to build infrastructure differently, and forcing us to think about new ways of doing things,” says the organically timed conference. Some years it happens, others it doesn’t.

This year it’s happening. In fact, you’re reading this post right smack in the middle of two days of sitting and listening to keynotes and panels.

At times, the conference aiming to bring together governments, NGOs, businesses and artsy folks feels a little linear in its lecturer-classroom approach, but maybe that can be a topic here sometime.

Keynote Ken Robinson made himself into a stand-up comic, with the joke being our education system. To be inspired by Robinson, you need to hear him speak about it.

He was followed by creativity golden boy Richard Florida, who praised Mayor David Miller, saying he would go down as one of the most innovative mayors this city has ever seen. Later he repeated his regard for the city, saying Toronto’s mayor was the only one to invite him to share his thoughts directly.

But most of Florida’s ideas on creative class and spikiness are available out there, as are the ideas of getting workers to input creativity and how we’re on the cusp of a new creative revolution.

Instead, check out the organic growth of Melbourne’s laneways in a video spotlight on an indi doc produced by Eleni Arbus, fittingly titled Melbourne Laneways.

It examined the organic conversion of grimy back alleys over the last ten years into desirable tourist destinations with quirky bars, etc. The underlying question, as cities seek to emulate this natural evolution, is whether it is something you can replicate, or if such shifts can’t be applied by government bylaws.

The other notable video came from Kat Cisek, Filmmaker-in-Residence at the National Film Board/St. Michael’s Hospital. Her film I Was Here – street health stories directly from the frontline doctors, nurses and patients, all without the spectacle seeking tone of typical docs.

Just as exciting was the NFB’s announcement that the next project, titled High Rise, will be a collaborative journey with ten concrete suburban towers – using the Kipling Tower Renewal as one of the 10. It evokes images of the Tower Renewal Project.

Follow along with Creative Places and Space in real time until it ends on Friday (Oct 30). To see photos of the event, look here.

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