Friday, March 21, 2014

Creativity Workshops at the University of Northampton

Last week I delivered some creativity workshops in the School of The Arts of the University of Northampton. 

I really enjoyed sharing my surreal approach with illustration students who bravely immersed in the dark waters of the uncanny with the use of the classical "parlour games" and some other dreamlike activities. 

Many thanks to all the students who took part and special thanks to Courtney ( and Zoe ( for sharing their time with me, and to Alex and Louise for organising the workshops.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ron Fricke's Samsara

A couple of days ago I watched and enjoyed Ron Fricke's last film: "Samsara" (2011). 

In Sanskrit samsara is the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and reincarnation. In this new film, Fricke amuses by illustrating those concepts in a continuous flow of themes that produce strong and deep reactions. Like in previous works ("Chronos", 1985; "Baraka", 1992) he delights by the use of incredible cinematography and a provocative juxtaposition of images.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

John Cleese on Creativity

"Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating."

In this lecture from 1991, John Cleese shares his personal perspective of creativity.

He outlines 5 factors that one can arrange to make one's life more creative:

1- Space: "You can't become playful, and therefore creative, if you're under your usual pressures."

2- Time: "It's not enough to create space, you have to create your space for a specific period of time."

3- Time: "Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original."

4- Confidence: "Nothing will stop you from being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake."

5- Humour: "The main evolutionary significance of humour is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Design Learning Challenge 2014

Last Wednesday we gathered with some students of ERAM Escola Universitària to come up with ideas about the professions of the future and we connected with people in the University of Lincoln through Skype to share our thoughtsThis time the challenge was "Jobs in the Year 2050"

The problem was stated like this:
High school students today need guidance and support as they prepare for careers that have not yet been invented -- nor support balanced ecosystems of the future.

This problem needed a lot of context to arrive to interesting solutions so we talked about philosophy, science, technology, food, energy, transportation, sustainability and of course design.

The most interesting thing was to see the different approaches to the possible futures. Probably due to the times we live now, most students tended to think about the future as a very dark place, so the real challenge was to try to accept all of those ideas in the first place and then try to connect with brighter futures where a sense of utopia was still possible.

Here is the link to what happened in Lincoln:

Sunday, February 2, 2014


He that is bitter will assuredly be attached to those that are bitter: how should the vain 
breath (false words) be joined with the truth?

O brother, you are that same thought (of yours): as for the rest, you are only bone and fibre.

If your thought is a rose, you are a rose garden; and if it is a thorn, you are fuel for the bath 


Masnevi Book 2 (276-278)

This was written seven hundred years before NLP was developed and, according to my taste, it was explained in a more beautiful way.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Design Learning Challenge

Last August 24th – while I was coursing my MA in the University of Lincoln – I had the chance to participate in the Design Learning Challenge (
Its goal "is to collaborate with members and international partners to create effective and sustainable design learning links between primary, secondary, and higher education students and teachers on a global scale."

Under the title "The honey bee in the year 2050" the problem to solve was how to help the honey bee from disappearing:
"Due to multiple factors, the honeybee – an essential component of our existence as human beings, are dying every day at an alarming rate."

Apart from being a great opportunity to work with fellow professionals and to share ideas and different approaches to design it was also good fun.

Here are some links that show what the challenge was all about:

I particularly enjoyed JohnPaul Kusz's keynote presentation on the power of story.

"Behind every successful design there often is a compelling story. Our success in creating a more sustainable world depends on the story now being written. 

It is in the present that we create the future. We are writing our story and cognizance that what we create today is very important in approaching, and hopefully achieving, sustainability.

Design has the power through the stories we write – with the products and the services we create – to fulfill a legacy of a better world."