The Creative Tapas Experiment

In May 2012 I held the ‘Creative Tapas Experiment’ at La Lobera just outside Arenas.  This was a two day event, where a group of about 50 people (some local, some from as far away as Oregon) met to co-create whatever they could in the space of a day. I described it as ‘an inquiry into leadership and creativity masquerading as a party, or vice versa’. It was a powerful experience.  At 10pm on the Saturday night, barely 24 hours after the group first met we experienced an amazing array of creations - a soundscape at the bottom of an empty swimming pool, three films (including a stop frame animation), a dance/movement piece accompanied by flute, human sculpture, a wish granting totem pole fashioned out of old tyres, a puppet show summarising the whole weekend and more.

We had a great time – the memories will be lifelong – but we also learned a huge amount.  Some of the things that struck me were:

  • the bravery it takes to accept an invitation
  • the power of doing something before you are ready
  • how many different styles there are to collaborate, not just working in a group
  • how much energy the human dynamics of a group require
  • how hard it is to give up control
  • how much food matters
  • the power of role, of character and of dressing up (I ended up in top hat and tails and that turned out to be incredibly powerful)
  • how leaders need to sense and serve the group

If you want to hear more about what I learned, you can listen to an interview I gave to Les McKeown (who I met at the Do Lectureshere.  Which explains why I ended up wearing top hat and tails.

A year and a half on, I intend to do some research to see what stuck for other people.  I won’t be repeating the experiment but this is one of the ideas I am happy to give to other people to play around with.  If you are curious, click here for more information.