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Food for thought: Free lecture series CreativeMornings gets Brussels out of bed
While you might prefer to quietly sip your coffee in the wee hours of the last day of the work week, thousands of people in some 100 cities all over the world gather for CreativeMornings in their respective hometowns. Brussels recently joined the pack, and it is welcoming designer Alain Gilles at the Beurscafé this week for a talk about chance.
CreativeMornings first saw the light of day six years ago in New York, when designer and Swissmiss blogger Tina Roth Eisenberg decided to create an accessible event for the local creative community. One Friday a month, she’d invite a speaker for a short talk, followed by a discussion with the audience and a free breakfast.
The event steadily grew and is now up to nearly 100 cities, with Brussels joining the CreativeMornings community a couple of months ago. “I came back to Brussels after a period in Amsterdam and realised the city needed its CreativeMornings, too,” explains Carmen Vintilescu, a Romanian expat and host of the Brussels sessions.
“There are so many awesome people and events, but everybody seems to be doing stuff in their own language,” she says. “People don’t take advantage of the diversity of the city, and I really think that CreativeMornings could change this.”
Setting up the event proved a little tricky. “As the event is entirely free of charge, I had to find a venue, a videographer who’d film the session to be put online later and a sponsor to provide us with coffee,” Vintilescu says. “It took me about four months to find a location, but once I got in touch with Beursschouwburg’s director, Tom Bonte, things proceeded at a gallop.”
First up to address the creative community was professor Eric Corijn of the Free University of Brussels (VUB) on the issue of freedom. About 40 people showed up at Beurscafé to hear him talk about how cities foster freedom. “It was a mix of both expats and people who regularly frequent events at Beursschouwburg,” says Vintilescu. “It was a good showing, as we feared people would be put off by an event starting at 8.30.”
The talks are held in English so that the largest possible audience can be reached. “We try to be as inclusive as possible and make sure we invite both male and female speakers from Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia,” Vintilescu explains. “For the event to be successful, we need to collaborate with the different communities – and hopefully even bring them together.”
And while the first edition welcomed around 40 people, nearly 60 made it to the last one. “There is still potential to grow, as there are people we haven’t reached yet,” Vintilescu says. “It might take a while, as, unlike in Paris or Amsterdam, everything in Brussels seems a bit hidden.”
The next CreativeMornings talk on 21 November will see Red Dot award-winning designer Alain Gilles talk about chance. He started off his career in the financial sector, but gave himself a second shot at making his dream come true by studying industrial design.
“Even if you’re not a morning person, you’ll find these sessions quite rewarding,” Vintilescu says. “Many of the people who made it to one of the previous talks, come back the next time.”
But if you really can’t make it, you can always watch the video of the talk online later. You’ll miss out on the discussion, the people, the vibe and the free breakfast, though.
photo: Organiser Carmen Vintilescu (right) with a lecture participant at a recent CreativeMornings session