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Nick’s Word – Guest Editorial


Nick Farnhill, founder of Poke, commandeers the weekly comment to talk about a creative day out

Nick’s Word – Guest Editorial


Nick’s Word 09/08/2012
So I'm a day late writing this for the LBB team and what was meant to be a piece setting up the ambition and plans for our first POKE Presents Creative Day at Hackney House is now more of a review. Looking back on the day so far, it has truly been amazing. Feedback and comments have been unanimously positive.
First of all though, for those not familiar with Hackney House, it is a unique partnership between the London Borough of Hackney and UK Trade & Investment that’s taking place during the Olympics. Its sole purpose is to celebrate the creative enterprises and cultural offerings in this small part of the east end and to demonstrate what makes it such an incredible place.
This doesn't just mean focussing on the ‘Tech City’ cluster of businesses, which is very hot at the moment. It’s also showcasing the many other creative activities going on in the area too. In a small way, we've tried to represent this over the course of our Creative Day. 
At the start of the day, a panel consisting of internet industrialists BERG, Sugru, MakieLab and Moo challenged the notion of traditional product design and demonstrated how this can be opened up to a community of eager enthusiasts. It really struck a chord. A similar vein was explored by Tom Roope from Rumpus Room in his presentation – his central theme was that if you create the right tools for your audience, you can trust them to be creative and funny.
We also saw Tim Malbon, from agency Made By Many, take to the stage. He recounted his ‘brandstalking’ project in which he engaged Soreen, the fruity malt loaf brand, in an increasingly surreal Twitter relationship. After urging the crowd to woo Soreen with tweets declaring love, he recruited a team to revive sales of Richmond skinless sausages using social media. This largely involved audience at Hackney House dodging the low-flying foodstuffs that Malbon sent whizzing through the air.
Rounding off the morning session, a stand out (and stand up) performance from illustrator Mr.Bingo had tears of laughter rolling down our faces, particularly as he detailed his personalised Hate Mail project.
The afternoon though, saw a complete change of pace, with the Prince’s Drawing School coming along to teach the audience to draw. It is the raw material of creativity, after all. Life models, charcoal and a rallying speech from artist Humphrey Ocean, Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy, reawakened memories of art classes and foundation courses. The school alumni covered concentration and observation techniques, which are relevant to so many different situations in our daily lives.
The aim of the day was to challenge, inspire and fuel imaginations, and that has definitely been achieved. I thank all the speakers and participants who took part. But the one thought I take away with me is how money doesn’t always motivate, but instead it’s the need and interest to do something creative and meaningful, however modest or ambitious, that drives people – something demonstrated perfectly by the volunteers of the Olympic opening ceremony.


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