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Inspirational conversations with creators about  architecture, art, design, entrepreneurship, fashion, film, music, pop culture, and technology. 

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“It's all about storytelling. You have to know what makes the beats of a story arc work”

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Jon S. Baird
Filmmaking

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From BBC Television to Hollywood Movie Director, Golden Globe nominee, and BAFTA award winner, Jon S Baird has forged a remarkable career in the film industry. Renowned for collaborations with iconic figures like Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle, Jim Carrey, and Mick Jagger, Jon stands as one of Britain's most exciting directorial talents.

“Mediocrity hides behind choice. Because if you have too much choice, everything can be mediocre”

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Steve Lillywhite

Music

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Steve Lillywhite, a music-making pioneer and Commander of the Order of the British Empire, boasts a stellar career spanning over four decades. With a portfolio exceeding 500 records, Lillywhite's iconic productions include groundbreaking albums such as "The Scream" by Siouxsie and the Banshees, "The Crossing" by Big Country, "Peter Gabriel" by Peter Gabriel, "Sparkle in the Rain" by Simple Minds, "The Joshua Tree" by U2, "Naked" by Talking Heads, and "Vauxhall and I" by Morrissey. Notably, he has held esteemed positions as Managing Director of Mercury Records and Senior Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records.

“The better you do your job, the more invisible you as a designer become”

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Malcolm Garrett 

Design

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Professor Malcolm Garrett MBE RDI is a distinguished graphic designer celebrated for his mastery of creativity. With a rich portfolio spanning over four decades, Garrett has crafted landmark designs for renowned musicians and bands such as Buzzcocks, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Boy George, Peter Gabriel, Oasis, and Pulp. His innovative digital projects extend to collaborations with industry giants including Apple, Virgin, Warner Brothers, Transport for London, and Design Manchester, among others.

“It’s never good to try to mimic or manufacture a style, because it needs to be authentic and develop naturally”

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Anita Kunz 
Art & Illustration

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Anita Kunz, renowned for her iconic artistry, has captivated audiences worldwide for four decades. Her acclaimed work graces the covers of prestigious publications such as the New Yorker, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, and many more. Kunz's artistic brilliance extends beyond magazine covers, with her pieces showcased in numerous galleries and museums globally. Her talent has earned her multiple awards and accolades, solidifying her status as a visionary artist.

“The purpose of the creative arts is to provide the necessary service to humanity to be entertained”

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Alana Clapp

Stage Management

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Alana Clapp, a creative leader with roots in Carnegie Mellon University, boasts a diverse portfolio encompassing events in film, television, and comedy specials. Currently serving as the General Stage Manager for Mystère at Cirque du Soleil, Clapp excels in igniting imagination, stimulating the senses, and eliciting emotional responses. Her expertise lies in orchestrating seamless communication across all creative and technical facets of performances.

“The harder you work the luckier you get”

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Dave Cronen

Artist Management

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From Virgin to Rough Trade, PIAS, and Grand Royal Records, Dave Cronen has left an indelible mark on the music industry. As the force behind Trust Management, Cronen has guided the careers of numerous revered artists who have shaped popular culture. Notable acts include The Beastie Boys, Johnny Marr, Ash, We Are Scientists, Dexys, and Baxter Dury. He has collaborated with artists honored with Ivor Novello Awards, Oscar nominations, and NME Godlike Genius Awards. Additionally, Cronen is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of artists, producers, and entrepreneurs at the Academy of Contemporary Music.

“Commit and keep going because everyone is going to tell you why you can't do it”

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Alan McGee

Label Management

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Alan McGee, a cultural catalyst, music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, and artist manager, established Creation Records in 1983. Through his visionary leadership, McGee cultivated and introduced numerous influential artists to the masses, shaping the musical landscape for generations to come. Notable acts nurtured by McGee include The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, and Oasis.

“It's the power of being the outsider; looking left when others are looking right”

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Clive Grinyer
Design

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Clive Grinyer, a design pioneer, is widely recognized as an expert in service design, design thinking, digital and technology innovation, and customer experience. Throughout his illustrious career, Grinyer has spearheaded award-winning design teams for global companies, notably IDEO, and co-founded the consultancy Tangerine alongside Apple design chief Sir Jony Ive. He serves as a trustee of the Royal Society of Arts, holds a visiting professorship at the Glasgow School of Art, and leads the groundbreaking service design program at the Royal College of Art in London.

“Having a moral grounding as an entrepreneur provides you with an unlimited source for motivation”

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Jonathan Burns
Entrepreneurship 

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During his studies at the Academy of Contemporary Music, Jonathan Burns embarked on a visionary journey to address sustainability and reusability challenges within the fashion industry. Through innovative thinking, he developed a venture that reimagines fashion practices in an ethical and respectful manner.

“Be open, determined, and willing to really push yourself and explore who you are as a person”

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Cherry Valentine

Performance Art 

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Cherry Valentine's upbringing within a Roma Gypsy community in the North East of England ignited her creative instincts and instilled a penchant for adventure and freedom of expression. Emerging as a prominent figure in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, Cherry blends life experience, curiosity, comedy, and satire to create impactful performance art.

“Bring to the table a sensibility of co-design and co-creativity, which understands all the relational issues which climate throws up”

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Jeremy Till

Climate and Creative Practices

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Jeremy Till is a reverred architect, educator, and writer known for his groundbreaking contributions to the field. His architectural expertise is exemplified by his collaboration with Sarah Wigglesworth Architects on the innovative building, 9 Stock Orchard Street. In academia, Till serves as the Head of Central Saint Martins and holds the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Arts London. As a prolific writer, Till has authored influential works such as "Flexible Housing," "Architecture Depends," and "Spatial Agency," all recipients of the prestigious RIBA President's Award for Research. Additionally, he has curated notable exhibitions including the UK Pavilion at the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale and the 2013 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.

“Know your craft, always come prepared, and bring your own unique perspective to the character

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Cathy Murphy

Acting

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Cathy Murphy, an accomplished actor, embarked on her journey from student life at the Sylvia Young Theatre School to starring roles in a myriad of acclaimed productions. Her diverse portfolio includes appearances in Allan Clarke's "Made in Britain," "Stars of the Roller Skate Disco," "Doctor Who," "EastEnders," "Holby City," "Family Affairs," "The Phantom of the Opera," "Shameless," "Extras," "About A Boy," "Misery," "Two Woman," "Once A Catholic," and numerous others.

“Resilience, grit, and stubbornness are the secret sauce to keep going”

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David Hieatt

Entrepreneurship

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David Hieatt's inspiring journey showcases resilience and entrepreneurship. Despite early setbacks like bankruptcy and leaving college, he thrived. Joining Saatchi and Saatchi at 21, he later founded Howies in 1995, redefining sustainable fashion before selling it to Timberland. Not stopping there, he launched The Do Lectures, a renowned ideas festival. Remaining true to his roots, he founded The Hiut Denim Co in Cardigan, aiming to restore jobs to the town's once-thriving jeans industry. Starting with 24 employees, his impact extends beyond Wales.

“Communication is the most critical skill for a product designer - listening to what people say and what they dont”

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Ghulam Rasool

Product Design 

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Ghulam Rasool, a design management practitioner at Ford, spearheads a team of innovative designers shaping the future of electric, autonomous, and connected vehicles. Their efforts aim to enhance societal benefits through improved safety, reduced pollution, time-saving features, and personalized services and experiences.

“Fight for the art against the tensions that counter it”

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Mat Bancroft

Art Direction & Curation

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Mat Bancroft is Johnny Marr's Art Director and curated the influential True Faith exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester International Festival in 2017. This exhibition celebrated the artistic legacy and impact of Joy Division and New Order. Bancroft has also spearheaded several pop culture archives, including those of Factory Records, Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton, and Derek Jarman, contributing significantly to Art Fund UK's cultural initiatives.

“A positive mind makes better decisions”

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Doviak             

Music

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Doviak has a diverse background, ranging from high-profile commercials and films to serving as Johnny Marr's co-producer. Additionally, Doviak has collaborated as a co-writer and producer with notable artists such as Melanie Isaac, Priya Panda, and Benjamin Schoos. Furthermore, Doviak is recognized for mixing music for numerous emerging bands and for their acclaimed work as an independent artist.

“The purpose of a photography assignment is to capture the essence of the subject and make it memorable”

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Brian Smale

Photography 

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Brian Smale is a renowned photographer who has captured portraits of the world's top businessmen and women, scientists, inventors, and politicians. His work has been featured in prestigious magazines like Fortune, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fast Company, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, and Spin. Additionally, Smale's commercial portfolio boasts collaborations with esteemed clients such as Microsoft, Panasonic, Boeing, Fuji, and Seattle Children's Hospital.

“Reboot your mind to being in an uninterrupted starting place with a fresh perspective”

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Leticia Pettená

Brand  

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Leticia Pettená is a marketing innovator who transforms corporate cultures and societies for the better. With a strategic focus, creative thinking, and a knack for technology innovation, she has made a significant impact on brands in both Brazil and the USA. Pettená has worked with renowned companies such as Itaú, Natura, IBM, Nestlé, Rise Ventures, Beleaf, Verde Asset Management, and Beautybox, helping them reimagine their brands and influence positive behavioral change.

“Everything begins with real research to frame the problem and understand the context”

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Thais Fonseca 

Design 

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Thais Fonseca heads the brand strategy practice at Marcus com SAL, a prominent creative agency based in Brazil. With expertise in translating strategic insights and creativity into brand affinity, Fonseca has made significant contributions to numerous brands within the agency's diverse Brazilian client portfolio. Notable clients include Grupo Boticário, Beleaf, Beautybox, and Itaú.

“You have to keep your ego in check because you've got to be able to throw things away that you may think are great”

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Simon Leake

Copy Writing 

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Simon Leake, after delving into Shakespeare's language and craft during graduate school in Stratford-upon-Avon, embarked on a dynamic career journey. He joined Amazon.com during its formative years, contributing to the development of the company's customer service messaging. Subsequently, Leake transitioned to the editorial department, where he crafted content for the books and DVD divisions. Venturing into freelance copywriting, he created compelling video scripts for diverse clients, including industry giants like Microsoft, Nordstrom, the World Bank, and the Gates Foundation.

“Make the emotional and human connection first and foremost”

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Gary Burt  

Product Innovation 

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Gary Burt, is a product development innovator, has played a pivotal role in driving the success of numerous breakthrough products and services across renowned technology companies, including Microsoft, O2, Siemens, Atos, and Blue Prism. With a deep commitment to excellence, Burt has been instrumental in setting strategy, defining roadmaps, and shaping features to maximize business value. He continuously hones his craft, prioritizing quality execution and completeness throughout the entire product life cycle, with a steadfast focus on a design-based, human-centered approach.

“The key is to find the creative trigger and just start!”

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Iwan Gronow

Music  

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Iwan Gronow, an independent musician and bassist in Johnny Marr's band, boasts an impressive global presence. Gronow has toured internationally and graced renowned festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella, and Fuji Rock. His performances have garnered attention on esteemed platforms like Later with Jools Holland and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

“You learn more from your mistakes than successes”

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Ben Thornley

Film Production

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Ben Thornley's journey began with a serendipitous encounter in America that led him to Hollywood, where he discovered a world of endless possibilities. Since then, he has excelled in creating inspired content for a global audience. With clients spanning from the rainforests of Madagascar to the streets of Mumbai, Thornley's work has reached over a billion viewers worldwide.

“Inspiration is very personal and there's really no cookie-cutter process that can be replicated or applied to other people

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Clara Blume

Art, Culture, and Music

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Clara Blume, Ph.D., is a multi-talented artist, cultural diplomat, and researcher based in Oakland. Serving as the head of the Open Austria Art + Tech Lab, Blume curates innovative artworks that delve into the intersection of human and artificial creativity. Additionally, as a skilled musician, singer, and songwriter, Blume has been invited to perform across Europe and the US. Notably, Apollo - The International Art Magazine recently recognized her as one of the 40 UNDER 40 most promising young talents worldwide in the field of Art + Tech.

Storytelling has been integral to survival. To know where you've come from, help you see where you're going, and understand the world you live in”

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Tanya Denning-Orman 

Media Broadcasting

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Tanya Denning-Orman is at the helm of National Indigenous Television (NITV), an Australian channel devoted to amplifying Indigenous voices. In her leadership role, she directs the creation of diverse and innovative multiplatform content. Tanya is pivotal in shaping and disseminating First Nations storytelling across the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) network. A staunch advocate for Indigenous media, she holds key positions on industry boards such as Media Diversity Australia, First Nations Media Australia, and the World Indigenous Television Broadcast Network (WITBN).

“Don’t take yourself too seriously and surround yourself with people way smarter than you”

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Chris Kay  

Creative Leadership

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Chris Kay is the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, a leading global advertising agency. With a distinguished career, Chris has held notable positions, including Head of Marketing for Manchester City Football Club, where he played a pivotal role in expanding the club's global presence. Additionally, he has led the Adidas business on a global scale and contributed to significant projects such as the 2012 London Olympics for Cadbury. Notably, Chris played a key role in developing the brand proposition for Los Angeles as it secured the bid to host the 2028 Olympic Games.

You've got to have the determination that what you're doing is the best thing in the world and simultaneously know that there are competitors out there who want to kill you”

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Ian Ritchie

Entrepreneurship

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Ian Ritchie, CBE FREng FRSE FBCS CEng, is a renowned serial entrepreneur whose contributions to the technology industry have significantly impacted modern society. Notably, he founded Office Workstations Limited (OWL), a pioneering software company that has shaped how we live and work today. Ritchie's visionary leadership has played a crucial role in establishing Edinburgh and Scotland as hubs for innovative high-growth technology companies. He has been instrumental in the development of over 50 startups and has served on influential boards such as Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Funding Council, and as co-chair of the Scottish Science Advisory Board.

“Always be distinctive and well crafted”

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Paul Buckley

Creative Direction

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Paul Buckley is the Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director at Penguin Random House, where he leads a team of highly skilled designers and art directors across ten imprints known collectively as The Penguin Art Group. In addition to overseeing the creative staff, Paul is personally involved in designing and art directing for select imprints under his purview. He plays a pivotal role in author branding, catering to a diverse range of writers. With his distinctive design and unparalleled art direction, Paul has left an indelible mark on thousands of books, earning numerous accolades and speaking invitations worldwide.

“Finding my own voice made me strong enough to push myself into places that I ordinarily wouldn't have felt comfortable being in or doing

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Tolu Stedford 

Film Production

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Tolu Stedford is a writer, producer, and actor with over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry. With a diverse portfolio, she has penned and produced numerous multi-award-winning short films, stage plays, concept teasers, and music videos. Beyond her creative endeavors, Tolu actively advocates for better representation within the industry, particularly for women and marginalized groups.

“If people believe in you, the creative environment is far more fertile

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Paul Mellor

Creative Leadership

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Paul Mellor, known as the Master of Decibels (MD), is the founder of the Ad Agency Mellor&Smith, established in 2009 during the banking crisis. Since then, Mellor has demonstrated a knack for making sound decisions. As a self-proclaimed certified pain-in-the-ass asker of difficult questions, he excels in creating advertising campaigns that elevate brands to fame. Mellor's primary mission revolves around encouraging risk-taking, a role that contrasts with that of a hostage negotiator. Notably, he founded London's largest creative event series, #takefuckingrisks, and co-authored 'The Bland Book.' Additionally, Mellor serves as a partner at Series A and has garnered significant recognition, including 4 BAFTA nominations for his film "Boiling Point."

“Truly understand what type of an entrepreneur you are. And with that, you know, excel at key points that differentiate you from others and augment your skill sets”

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Hossein Rahnama  Entrepreneurship

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Dr. Hossein Rahnama is a prominent computer scientist and academic entrepreneur with a remarkable track record. As a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab and Toronto Metropolitan University, he has played a pivotal role in shaping the academic landscape. Rahnama co-founded the Ryerson Digital Media Zone (DMZ), recognized as the #1 university-based tech incubator worldwide. His research delves into cutting-edge areas such as artificial intelligence, data governance, and the transparent design of data-driven services. Additionally, Rahnama is the founder and CEO of Flybits Inc., a globally recognized data intelligence company. With over 30 publications and patents in computer science, he continues to make significant contributions to the field.

“Being on the bleeding edge is very scary in many ways, because almost by definition, the world is not yet bought into that”

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Vicki Dobbs Beck  

Storytelling

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Vicki Dobbs Beck, recognized as a "Digital Innovator to Watch in 2020" by Variety and honored with a Distinguished Leadership Award by the Advanced Imaging Society in 2019, serves as the Executive in Charge of ILMxLAB. Established by Lucasfilm in 2015, ILMxLAB is an award-winning division dedicated to pioneering immersive storytelling experiences. The mission of ILMxLAB is to enable audiences to 'Step Inside Our Stories' like never before. Leveraging virtual and augmented reality technologies, ILMxLAB aims to create interconnected experiences that redefine places, spaces, and daily life, bridging the gap between storytelling and story living.

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