Creative Events: May 18 Weekend – Bikefest, ARTFEST and World Fiddle Day

Have you brought our your bike yet? This weekend’s the one to do it! Mountain Equipment Co-op is sponsoring a day celebrating all things two wheeled at Trinity Bellwoods park. Starting at 11 am MEC will be hosting clinics and group rides, bike demos and a gear swap. Curious? Here’s the webpage with more details.

Also this weekend, Artfest Ontario returns to the Distillery District this weekend with its Spring Art & Crafts show, designed to showcase Canadian art, sculpture, crafts, jewellery, clothing and food. Admission is free to three day event and the weather is supposed to be sunny and beautiful! Click here for more information about the exhibitors.

It’s World Fiddle Day on Saturday May 22nd so if you’re into music Toronto is celebrating in Roncesvalles village! Canadian fiddler Anne Lederman is organizing the event which will run from 1-5 pm at the corner of Wright Ave and Roncesvalles. If you’re interested in playing along with your own fiddle check out the resources here


Creativity in Action: Malcolm London

Last week TED, WNET, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting hosted an on air forum on how we can better inspire both students and teachers.

Among the many esteemed educators was an incredible poet, Malcolm London. His poem, High School Training Ground  takes a beautiful, critical look at what high schools give students – the dynamics of poverty, society, empowerment and education in Chicago.

London recently won the Louder Than A Bomb poetry contest. He is also a passionate advocate and activist for youth education. He’s this week’s Creativity in Action subject for his brave and beautiful use of words.



Malcolm London

My fixation with TED talks

So, if you’ve been following along at all you will have noticed that I have a bit of an addiction to TED.

As anyone who is friends with me on a social network will attest to – I love TED. I love watching, discussing, sharing and being inspired by the 20 minute talks.

I love their premise, I love their soul and I love that they can be seen in dozens of languages around the world. I love the freedom of knowledge they represent and the limitlessness of our potentials as humans who choose to dare greatly.

Funny that should use that term, Dare Greatly. It’s actually from my very favourite TED talk, one that I make a point of rewatching every few months. It’s a talk that has changed my life, led to my business and informs all of  my interactions. Whether I succeed or not I try to keep it in mind as I interact with friends, colleagues, family and kids. Especially kids.

Maybe you’ve seen this already but I encourage you to have another watch, there is so much value to be derived whether you watch it with yourself, a friend, work or kids in mind…

Here’s to TED – Enjoy!

Creativity in Action: Arvind Gupta

Creativity in action comes on Friday this week because it is particularly fun. Arvind Gupta is an amazingly resourceful an who takes throwaway objects and creates toys to bring joy to children in India.

Check out his story and his plethora of enchanting ideas for everyday objects….

Happy Friday!!

Creative Events May 11 Weekend: Toronto Comic Arts Festival, No Costumes!

When I think of events that celebrate comic books and the art that they represent I automatically think of adults dressed as Spiderman, Captain America or some obscure Anime character so when I discovered Toronto’s Comic Arts Festival I assumed it would be more of the same.

I was wrong! The free festival promotes the breadth and diversity of the comic genre and intends to bring the wider public in to that world. Thousands attend every year and festival venues include museums, libraries and theatres in the Annex. TCF is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary – check out its website for more details.

Comic Festival Poster

Also this weekend is “Discover Hidden Toronto” a scavenger hunt for adults held by Urban Capers that takes participants around downtown Toronto hitting venues like the ROM and University of Toronto. The hunt is historically focussed and question and answer based. It will be on Saturday May 11 only and takes two hours. Tickets are $30 per person and typical teams are two to six people.

For more details check the Urban Capers website.


Absolutes, Definitions and Limitations

It’s so easy to speak in absolutes – people are optimists or downers, they are hard workers or smart or lazy or outgoing.

It’s natural for us to want to define one another, and ourselves, but it’s also dangerous. The more I delve into the psychology of creativity and innovation the more I encounter the inherent complexity of humans. Our stories are powerful and varied with many sides and voices. Well-formed stories can represent our values, our social norms and our cultural viewpoints all in the space of a few lines of text.

Think for a moment – what adjectives do you use to describe yourself? Are there many? Are they contradictory? Where are they sourced from?

There was an interesting moment one day last week when I found myself  admonishing myself for not spending enough time with someone important to me. Automatically I was calling myself a bad friend. The thing is though, if I were to be speaking to anyone else I would have the logical mind to remind him or her that starting a business, active learning and maintaining personal and professional relationships takes a lot of time. I would remind that friend that one missed opportunity does not define a person.

In the same way that I am not defined by that experience, people are not one creative or non-creative based on their past actions.

There are so many chances to look at the world differently, to suggest a new or innovative path or process – whether in work, at school or elsewhere in life – that it is unlikely that any of us is non-creative. In fact, it’s more likely that we are trapped in narratives that define creative people only as artists, writers, dancers and those working in “creative” fields like advertising.

Imagine what you could be doing if, from youth, you’d been told that science, accounting, law or banking were also creative fields. What new products, procedures or  revenue streams might you be developing if your mind was more open to the potential for creativity in all professions?

The narratives and stories that we share and those we impose and ourselves and others can be limiting and even dangerous as the video below reveals. In the video below, Chimamanda Adichie uses her experience as an author, a Nigerian and an African student in America to take a look at the power of stories and of definition.

Some more questions for today – What are you imposing on yourself? How could a new perspective free up your ideas your relationships and your mind?


What Do Babies Think? Play as R&D for the Human Species.

“What’s it like to be a baby? It’s like being in love in Paris for the first time after you’ve had three double espressos.”

In this wonderful talk psychologist Alison Gopnik reveals the findings of her work with babies and their learning patterns. Through her experiments she discovered that babies are the Research and Development arm of the human species, what she realized is that babies are actually involved in sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.

Her conclusion? Maybe, at least some of the time, we should be getting adults to start thinking more like children… Enjoy!