“A smorgasbord of talent” is how John Davey, organiser, owner and able compere of Reasons to be Creative described the conference, held in the spacious surroundings of the Brighton Dome (and across the city) on the first Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of September.
The conference started as an annual confab for Adobe Flash developers called ‘Flash on the Beach’, but as it encompassed a wider variety of topics, the name was changed to the one it bears today.
Davey describes the conference as “a difficult one to pigeonhole”, as it has speakers from many disparate creative and technical fields on an extraordinary range of topics, from an artist leading the audience through their work and story to a wide-ranging exploration of the philosophy of design.
Reasons to be Creative also includes a showcase room for projects by media students from the local universities and colleges, and a ‘marketplace’ where some event partners were showing off their products.
With more than 30 speakers, over 3 days and around 800 attendees, the conference is one of Brighton Digital Festival’s headlining events that cluster toward the beginning of September. Jostling for space with the likes of dConstruct — whose speakers this year include Adam Buxton of ‘Adam and Joe’ — and Improving Reality, hosted by the digital culture agency Lighthouse. However, Davey says, #reasonsto (as the conference’s hashtag has it) is distinct by virtue of being a three-day, three-theatre events in a field of single-day, single-stream events, with an extremely broad range of attendees and talks.
Some of my favourite talks were the hilarious bespectacled German typographer Erik Speikermann talking about principles for design and business and Andrew Spooner from Microsoft talking about sound design (and teaching the audience the Welsh word for microwave – ‘poppity-ping’). Brad Frost looked at how we ought to occlude some the rubbish from our lives and artist John Burgerman brought a bit of colour to the proceedings, showing off his wonderful art.
When I asked Davey what he hoped people would take away from the conference, he said: “I hope that they get totally motivated and inspired.” From what I’ve seen, I’m certain they will.
By Adam Englebright