Last Friday 500 people packed into the glorious surroundings of The Royal Geographical Society for our biggest ever event, Here. We decided not to overcomplicate things – invite great speakers, put them on stage and let their talents and insights do the rest, and the result was something pretty special – entertaining, informative and inspiring (even if we do say so ourselves!).
Design guru Eike König kicked off the day, sharing the values which underpin both his and Hort’s continued success (i.e 1. Have fun 2. Get paid…) and a few prints for good measure. He was followed by animator Grant Orchard who charted his (very recognisable) struggles to balance work, home life and personal projects before Sonya Dyakova took us through her tale from Soviet-era Siberia to beautiful art direction for the likes of Phaidon, frieze and the Bouroullec Brothers. Rounding off the morning session was photographer Giles Duley whose own story – of overcoming serious injuries sustained in Afghanistan – was subsumed by his extraordinary passion for photography and its power to act as an advocate for those without a voice.
The second session of the day began with GTF’s Andy Stevens, who used his studio’s work with kvadrat as a case study to explore how they develop and finesse ideas from initial inspirations to finished pieces. He was followed by Quentin Jones who talked about breaking free from art school constraints to develop a singular style that has won her huge acclaim across fashion and publishing, and Quentin’s rapid, reactive approach contrasted neatly with filmmaker Carol Morley who spoke with empathy and enthusiasm about her painstaking work in breathing new life into stories she feels shouldn’t be forgotten.
Rounding off this session, brothers Job and Roel Wouters presented an innovative talk in which all the lines were spoken by the audience but it was still full of revelations into how they approach their respective practices.
After lunch we were treated to a maverick performance from jellymonger Sam Bompas on the theme of creative-risk taking. It’s fair to say there were a few surprises (including for us!) but few present could forget the nudity. Or the cocktail. After Sam, body architect Lucy McRae wowed the crowd with her jaw-dropping work pushing the creative potential of the human form and explained with wit and charm how her mind-bending projects came into being – she was followed by Tom Roope of The Rumpus Room who showed adroitly how creative agencies should embrace the brave new world of campaigns built around consumer participation.
Our closing speaker Sir Paul Smith performed a virtuoso talk full-to-bursting with insights into how his mind works, advice on channelling creativity, great visuals and a host of brilliant gags. Nobody there will forget the links between beach huts and sweaters in a hurry, that’s for sure!
Overall it was a tremendous day and we were blown away by the incredible feedback we received. But don’t worry if you missed out (or were too engrossed to take notes) – films of the talks will be available on the site in the coming weeks.