We took a break from the series over the last couple months of 2015 after ending strong with local legend, interior designer David Powell, with the full intention to begin again in 2016 with renewed energy. Now seems a great time to reflect on why we’re doing this, to identify what “this” actually is, and to share some of our future ideas for the lectures.
So first of all, what is it? Paris lectures has two components: a monthly (free) creative meetup and a series of workshops (only in the winter) around art, design and technology. For each meetup, we invite a guest speaker with local ties to share their stories with us – What inspires them? What challenges have they faced? What are their aspirations?
Our winter-based workshops are facilitated by us and centre around learning design and technology skills. By teaching what we know, we aim to provide the same kinds of opportunities in people’s lives that we have so gratefully benefited from over the course of our careers.
But what really makes the whole idea tick is people.
Having moved around a bit from London, England to Toronto to finally settle out here in Paris, we recognize that networks of people can be valuable in so many ways. First and foremost, you can’t overvalue the potential for making new friends, especially when you are just establishing yourself in a new community. But networks also open doors to job opportunities, creative collaborations, and exploration of new skills that in turn open even more doors. They can become economic drivers within communities, especially if they do it on a scale that is open to everyone.
When we moved to Paris in August of 2014, we strove to join a network that embodied our values of creativity, sharing, celebrating, learning, and to a certain extent, technology and entrepreneurship. Not finding exactly what we wanted, we created it. We saw many of these qualities already in our new community on a daily basis and we wanted to help strengthen and celebrate them.
We had an audience in mind when we began this project as well. We wanted it to be for the person who just moved here and wants to get out and meet interesting people. For the long-time Parisian who wants to meet new folks. For the student who wants to discover and get inspired by someone who’s done something interesting in their life. For the small business owner who recognizes the potential of networking with likeminded folks. For the artist who wants to share their process and work. For the technically-challenged who are eager to learn new tech skills in a welcoming environment. For the parent who wants to give their child opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. For the person who feels alone, and wants to feel less alone. For the town of Paris, so that we can celebrate and attract the kind of creative community that keeps a place vibrant and interesting.
We feel we still have a long way to go to really reach many of these people, but we think it’s important that anyone who is looking for something like this feels welcome.
We hope that by bringing people together to get to know their creative neighbours in a casual, social setting, we are serving as some conduit of inspiration. We hope the crowd leaves each event with a rush of renewed energy for their own creative work as well as the knowledge that a supportive community is just around the corner. If we can do this, then our design really is serving a purpose.
Want to participate?
Register for our next meet-up (free) on February 23, 2016 featuring the talented Him and Her digital studio. We’d love to see you there!