|Sustainability and the creative class|
Arts & Culture Editor
Published: Jun 16, 2012
As societies shift and evolve in a time of mass communication and media brought on by the electronic age, the global economy has changed with it. A creative class of artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and the like are changing the way we think about how we live through the commodification of ideas and creative projects.
Yet how does The Bahamas fit into this global dialogue, and how can our creative class build the kind of societies and spaces that encourage idea space?
After its success last year, the branding and design company The Method Group (tmg*) is bringing a second round of community discussions this summer that examine how The Bahamas is already building such spaces and that will provide opportunities to imagine how much further we can go.
Bringing together creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and leaders in the creative fields on panels in three core discussions surrounding topics of the emerging creative class, says tmg* marketing and branding specialist Royann Dean, will provide provocative and engaging discussions central to the growth of The Bahamas.
“These talks all started because I thought about things I like to do that I couldn’t do here going to lecture series and listening to these ideas being shared and spurring me to think about things I never thought about,” said Dean.
“It’s about getting the conversation out there and flowing,” she continued. “When you live in a city where ideas are encouraged, openness is encouraged, diversity is encouraged in terms of thinking and people who participate in the exchange, that is the point of a creative and livable city.”
Last year, tmg* talks focused on how design of cities, of national stories, of culture creates Bahamian identity in an attempt to think different about how we brand The Bahamas. This year, the talks make the personal universal by expanding outward: how does The Bahamas function in a global dialogue about ideas socially, economically, culturally, physically?
The key, says Dean, lies in the creative class. This community may not be as arts-centric as you may think. Its core lies in the ability to use ideas to create and shape society, so the creative class includes artists, gallery owners, architects and the like, but also engineers, designers and entrepreneurs who all commodify ideas and encourage us to think differently about ours spaces and ourselves.
“There are certain values identified with the creative class which include valuing meritocracy, this ability and appreciation of complex problems and the ability to solve those problems, this sense of always trying to make things better and improve of things,” explained Dean. “So these are people who don’t follow the status quo, who aren’t happy with the status quo.”
Indeed, this year’s three talks “Architecture, Design and Sustainable Development” (June 21), “Entrepreneurism and the Creative Class” (July 19) and “Economic Diversification and the Creative Class” (August 23), all examine how the community of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs in The Bahamas can bring sustainability and growth to Bahamian society and economy if given a chance.
The truth is, The Bahamas has no cultural policy and provides little incentive for creative endeavors, creating a harsh economic environment where creative thinkers and entrepreneurs yet this is where the sustainability of the country lies in a world where technology is collapsing borders and expanding possibilities into an unknown realm.
“I think the creative class is where our sustainability will come from if we transfer into this new type of global economy where imagination and innovation is valued because you need to have these people who think in that way,” pointed out Dean. “These are the people who can think in ways that can solve
complex problems and are not afraid of collaborating with people in different disciplines to solve those problems.”
The talks kick off next week Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas with a look at how the creative class can help us think differently about sustainability and design, particularly in architecture. The talk will not only address sustainability in terms of alternate energy but also in population growth.
With a panel made up of architect in The Design Group, Carlos Hepburn, President of Arawak Homes, Franon Wilson, and Director of Sales and Marketing at Schooner Bay, James Malcolm, the discussion will shed light on how we can build more sustainable societies through building design. The discussion will build upon last year’s talks, which shared a major focus on architecture as a creative industry.
“When we look at architecture this year in terms of the built environment and sustainability, we’re going to ask how we see architecture developing that sense of place in public spaces and in residential communities,” says Dean.
“There’s going to be a nice juxtaposition between Schooner Bay’s perception of creating a sense of community through architecture and design and Arawak Homes because they’re the largest real estate residential developer. How do they use design to create a sense of community? How does this fit in with expanding developments in islands where populations are expanding?”
Discussions like the first one next week are a chance not only for leaders in certain fields who may not normally spend time together to sit down and discuss ways they can work together to build a better, more sustainable Bahamas, but also for creative professionals and the wider community to attend and contribute their own thoughts to the process. Collaboration is essential in creative fields, and this sharing of knowledge provides great collaborative opportunities for those who will attend.
“I think people attending should just be open to what the ideas of the panelists are, come willing to contribute to the conversation, and come with the expectations that you may leave thinking differently about what creativity is from when you arrived,” says Dean.
“We want to change how people perceive creativity in order to be able to use it effectively. I read that one of the definitions of a creative city is having a feeling that there’s momentum and there’s something exciting that’s happening and that’s what I want people to leave the talks with—this sense that something is happening here and they are a part of it.”
The first tmg* talks, “Architecture, Design and Sustainable Development” takes place next Thursday, June 21st at 6:30 at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. For more information about tmg* talks, check out their website at www.tmginovates.com.