Yesterday, I had the chance to go off for a few hours to Creative Camp in Belfast, an event billed as bringing together "technology and creative enthusiasts who want to make things happen with web, mobile, open source, new media, music and design."
I was unsure whether to attend, not knowing if my web endeavours really fit that description. But I decided that with this blog, I aim to make things happen, specifically by challenging assumptions, in a very small way for a few people. But mainly, I felt it would be good to get out and hopefully meet a few folk whose online identities I could fit to a real world face.
I enjoyed the talks I heard, and the atmosphere of untapped possibilities. One man discussed soluble dresses. Strange topic that! He was an artist involved in a project hoping to highlight the problems of our throw away culture. It's very worthy, but he showed a film of dissolving dresses making pretty colours in (now toxin laden) water tanks and it dragged on for rather too long. He made me laugh when he said that working on the project had alerted him to the dangers of plastics, and we shouldn't give babies milk in plastic bottles as it can harm them some way, by "damaging their DNA or something." I shouldn't scoff, but hey ho.
For another talk, a man described with near evangelical glee, a system of project organisation called Getting Things Done. And yes, it does require capitalisation. I could do with following some of his tips.
I came in half way through a talk on creativity in the work place. As some people mentioned the importance of team work, socialising as a way of getting to know your colleagues and getting the proper balance of control and flexibility, I thought about those workers who have lots to offer employers but who prefer not to socialise down the pub or who can work with a team but like to do their part in a project alone and communicate via email. Basically, I thought about autistic and disabled workers and how they can be accommodated. I never spoke up though, I'd come in late and was a bit too shy. Perhaps at another one of these I'll think it through properly, get some advise and give a talk.
The event was well organised, and it was great to meet people from the local region involved in all sorts of clever and creative activities. I enjoyed chatting with Grannymar and Alan, both of whose blogs I read regularly. I met Phil, another regular read and Damien, blogging maestro and the guy who runs the Irish Blog Awards and the new Irish Web Awards.
The whole thing, including a decent lunch, was free. When I explained to one of the organisers, a woman called Mairin, that I was "just" a blogger, she demonstrated the spirit of Creative Camp by deciding to have a panel discussion about blogging with Grannymar and myself, whom I suspect were the only people there not to be in paid employment. It was cool. I mentioned why I started to blog and what I get out of it, and enjoyed hearing others discuss their own views. One guy was a bit waffly and too keen to share, but there's always one of those.
I left after that as Gordon's mum was minding the children for part of the day. I missed the first train home so dandered around a book shop for a while, picking up a book I've been meaning to buy for a while now. Borderlands is a detective novel set in my home town and surrounding areas. I started to read in the shop and almost missed the train again.
Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that I have a life beyond these walls.