David Buckland at Creative Places + Spaces Conference

The Creative Places + Spaces conference was based on the theme of the Collaborative City, to develop "guiding principles on what cities and communities need to do to foster creativity through collaboration."

David Buckland, founder of Cape Farewell, didn't have a lot to say about cities and communities, but he certainly knows a thing or two about collaboration. He takes artists, writers, scientists, educators and the media, sticks them all into a boat and takes them into the Arctic to see climate change first hand.

Sometimes it doesn't look all that easy, since the artists and musicians are doing a fair bit of the sailing here. But there is a purpose in putting them all together with the scientists. Lisa at blogTO writes:

Buckland's starting question was: "How can we use climate change as a challenge that we can pick up and run with and be excited about?" He felt the scientists he was talking to weren't getting their urgent message to the public. Whereas artists, hey, artists communicate...when they're sufficiently inspired, they never shut up.

They can have a good time, too; TreeHugger founder Graham Hill joined one of the voyages, and demonstrates his skill at jumping off the boat into the frigid Arctic Ocean. To everyone's surprise he lived to tell the tale. Read more on the Cape Farewell project.

I had the honour of sharing a table with David Buckland at the opening session, and learned a bit about his creativity (and anarchy) first hand.

We were given a paper bag full of spaghetti and tape, and told to build a tower to support the marshmallow in one of those dreadful teambuilding exercises. We were immediately disqualified after I started using the cheddar cheese on the table to join the spaghetti. Soon they were making announcements "NO CHEESE!" and we were running out of time.

David immediately gets very creative, takes the bags and makes an instant tower, strong enough to hold the marshmallow. It was the tallest tower there, but of course we got disqualified again, with them now saying NO BAGS. So much for encouraging creativity.

Tags: Arctic | Education