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Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production
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Creative LIAisons: Bravery, Honesty, Intimacy

13/10/2016
Publication
London, UK
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Laura Swinton reflects on the first half of the London International Awards judging week in Las Vegas

We’re at the London International Awards’ Creative LIAisons event in Las Vegas this week and there’s been a lot of talk about bravery. Perhaps the bravest of the lot were the Radio jury, who decided to watch Sunday night’s US presidential debate at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas. Judging by the trauma in their eyes when I met them in the bar after, the experience was less LOLworthy and more deeply alarming than perhaps they had predicted. But, hey, one of the themes across several of the talks so far has been about getting out of the office in order to uncover nuggets of truth. And the Radio Jury certainly embraced that philosophy with their adventures far beyond the comfortable walls of the adland bubble.

In reality, the bravest of the bunch are probably the LIA organisers, who have abandoned the glamour of an award show. Instead they spend the money that would have gone on a fancy party flying young creatives from all over the world to Vegas for judging week. Every year I go to Creative LIAisons I’m blown away by the calibre of speakers and the access the hungry up-and-comers get.

So far they’ve seen Mark Tutssel, Malcolm Poynton, Ted Royer, Matt Eastwood, Dörte Spengler-Ahrens, Pum Lefebure, and Ralph Van Dijk – oh yeah – and Bob Isherwood too. And after the busy day schedule, there are the Las Vegas nights when the young creatives can hang out with speakers and judges. Tomorrow, Shark Tank’s Daymond John will fly in to lead a new creative entrepreneurship workshop.

Also brave are the attending young creatives, who haven’t been afraid to ask some really sticky, tricky questions. One woman asked Ted Royer whether the personal sacrifices involved in being a creative are worth it. The honesty of the question really struck me – it was as much an admission of worries and perhaps a little self-doubt as it was a career question. But this was a safe space and Ted answered her question with grace and positivity while acknowledging the truth in her question. He spoke about burnout and the importance of sabbaticals.

Perhaps there’s truth in the phrase ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ – and when it comes to the LIAs, it’s a phrase that applies not because of bad behaviour but because of the intimacy and honesty of the event.

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