Author: Lee Aplin

I spent 4 days in the fabulous city of Helsinki in Finland earlier this month attending 2 events, Blender! and CEB (Creative Economy and Beyond). It also happened to be design week in Helsinki so there was some cool stuff happening.

My invite on the trip was thanks to BCU’s invovlement with a project called ‘Creative Metropoles: Public Policies and Instruments in Support of Creative Industries’. This project presents shared vision of 11 European cities on creative industries and creative economy. There was 4 from the West Midlands who traveled including myself, Steve Harding (head of BCU corporate development), Kerry Thomas (Fused Magazine) and Nina Lakeberg (BCU). (special thanks to Jon Hickman for thinking of me and Substrakt!)

The first event, Blender! was held at Aalto University Design Factory and aimed to give creative companies the opportunity to discuss the future of the industry and how doing business is affected by global changes. We were divided into groups and discussed the trends and weak signals relevant to our businesses, we then selected 2 themes to discuss in depth. The objective of these discussions was for the group to focus on the themes and develop a new business idea. Our business idea was an interactive platform called ‘Grandmother’ a concept inspired from attempting to oppose the ‘Big Brother’ concept. This is a blog post for another time i think!

I met several really interesting individuals and companies, especially a chap called Tuomas Siitonen from Part. We had a great discussion about projects involving new media within the built environment and i see a great opportunity to work with Tuomas and Part in the future.

CEB (Creative Economy and Beyond) was a 2 day international conference on the creative economy. There were several fascinating presentations, 1 of which that I found especially relevant and interesting was a talk from Professor Joachim Sauter from the Berlin University of Arts. Joachim runs a company called ART+COM that produces some pretty amazing interactive media solutions. I wrote a brief post about 1 particular interesting ART + COM project on a brand new blog Substrakt has started called Architekture. (more to come from this blog soon)

We managed to get to the launch of Design Week held at Helsinki’s impressive Cable Factory (seems like it’s standard for all good creative venues to be old factories!). It was inspiring to get close up with the Helsinki creative scene and experience the type of work the city is producing.

All in all a fab trip and I highly recommend the city to anyone who fancies a visit. So thanks again to those people who got me involved.