Getting Thematic with CreativeMornings Vancouver

CreativeMornings Vancouver, Mark Brand | BCBusiness
Vancouver restaurateur Mark Brand speaks at the July 5 CreativeMornings event under the theme “Space.”

The positives and the pitfalls of introducing themes to monthly lecture series CreativeMornings Vancouver

Mark Brand is on stage at the Dodson House in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, speaking to a crowd of urban creative types, most of whom are finishing the last bites of Save On Meats breakfast sandwiches that were given away upon entry to the July 5 CreativeMornings Vancouver event. Brand is renowned in Vancouver for his culinary entrepreneurism, but he is not here to talk about food—that was last month’s theme.

As it turns out, Brand was slated to speak in June but had to cancel due to a last-minute opportunity to work with United Way. “I’m glad it worked out this way; it worked out better,” says Mark Busse, the organizer of CreativeMornings Vancouver. Despite the subject switcheroo—from “Food” to “Space”—Brand is addressing a packed house on this balmy Friday morning.

Since the Vancouver chapter’s September 2011 inception, it has undergone a few logistical changes—a new venue, a new ticket-acquiring method—but implementing monthly global themes is the first significant adjustment to the content. Each month one of the participating chapters from around the world chooses a theme that every other chapter must follow.

“I hated it, because it felt to me like New York was forcing us to do something that restricted our freedom to be independent of each other,” says Busse. Previous to the themes, speakers had free rein to discuss anything they wanted, as long as they tied it back to creativity. Every event followed the same timeline: breakfast, 20-minute talk, audience collaboration and discussion, followed by a question period. So while the format remains the same for the audience, the new thematic format is a significant adjustment for the organizers.

But after months with the new method, Busse has changed his outlook. “It actually has worked to our advantage, because it makes us more thoughtful about who we ask and, will they be able to deal with this?” he says. “This room is filled with people because they want to talk about that subject with that guy. So actually it’s worked out really well, but it does take more work.”

Next month CreativeMornings welcomes former city councillor and director of The City Program at SFU Gordon Price.

Watch Mark Brand’s July 5 CreativeMornings Vancouver talk.

2013/07 Mark Brand – Taking responsibility for the space you occupy from CreativeMornings/Vancouver on Vimeo.