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The blurb: 'THINKtent is a travelling tent that provides an intimate, beautiful and safe space for people to come together for conversation and reflection. THINKtent allows people to slow down and exchange views and ideas – away from the relentless distractions of smartphones and social media. THINKtent generates dialogue and playful exchange – not lectures or strict instruction. It takes conversation to the people. THINKtent is global and local. It treads lightly, and floats across borders. THINKtent welcomes.'
THINKtent is an idea I had about ten years ago, when I started writing my first book, which was about a lost wilderness lake in Tasmania called Lake Pedder. I spoke to some designers about creating a travelling pop-up space that captured the essence of that lost lake. They didn't really understand what I wanted until they saw the perfect, painterly design of the book when it was published in 2011. After that things moved fast. The original THINKtent was made in Tasmania – evoking the idea of Lake Pedder as a kind of ‘wilderness church’ or sacred space, and a place of beauty, simplicity and dreaming.
The structure of THINKtent is a portable 4 x 4 metre canvas belltent. In each location THINKtent appears, the tent interior is curated to reflect and express distinctive qualities of a specific place and its people.
In Serbia, THINKtent is curated by PROTOTYPE – interior architect Milivoje Stojanović, with Miroslav and Jasna Stojanović. It's a wonderful blend of old and new, dark and light, east and west.
THINKtent holds up to ten people per session. Each session runs for one hour. THINKtent is programmed to include one expert each session, to stimulate dialogue on a specific topic or theme.
I facilitate the sessions, take handwritten notes and still photographs. No recording or phones are allowed. Books, poems, songs and other cultural artefacts are welcome. Afterwards, I write and publish about the performance.
WHY BELGRADE? ....
Why not? Actually the real answer is – HOW not?!
I was born in Australia and am of Balkan origin. Half my family lives in the Balkans – in Serbia, Croatia + Slovenia – and I spent time in the former Yugoslavia on holiday and at school before the 1990s wars. I've been coming back to Belgrade a lot in the last few years, to work on capacity-building projects that have a strong cultural dimension. That includes work with young people across sectors and disciplines.
In early June in Belgrade I ran the global pilot of a leadership program called the Inglis Clark Circle, with the support of the Australian Embassy in Belgrade. The energy and potential of the young people I worked with – in the face of the huge economic, social and governance challenges facing this region – was humbling and inspiring. Some of those young leaders will be in THINKtent Belgrade. So will Jovan and Vesna Jelovac, the founder and CEO of the remarkable Belgrade Design Week. Jovan and Vesna visited Australia earlier this year and delivered some great pro bono educational work for Tasmania's emerging design sector. I am delighted to partner with them on THINKtent Belgrade.
So will Jovan and Vesna Jelovac, the founder and CEO of the remarkable Belgrade Design Week.
Jovan and Vesna visited Australia earlier this year and delivered some great pro bono educational work for Tasmania's emerging design sector. I am delighted to partner with them on THINKtent Belgrade.
The funds will be used to cover basic costs associated with setup and event support. This will include a reception closing the event.
If we EXCEED the fundraising target, we will be able to deliver THINKtent in more locations in Belgrade through July.
We don't need funds to purchase the actual THINKtent or its magical contents.
Most people working on this project – including me – have provided their support for THINKtent pro bono.
'Pro bono' means for the good. There's a lot of need for that in a place like Belgrade, where people and systems have been hit hard by the 1990s wars, sanctions, bombing, the global financial crisis and now floods. Australians haven't been on the receiving end of that scale of challenge in my lifetime. So we are lucky, and I always think – why don't we do a bit more for the good?
Some of my other work
I am the Director of the consulting practice Liminal Strategy. The practice delivers professional services including: whole-of-system strategic analysis; change + crisis management; leadership training, executive + governance strategy; project + policy design; stakeholder engagement + management; dialogue + meeting facilitation; communications + campaign strategy; brand development; ideas curation; event design + delivery; writing, editing + publishing; and commentary across print, radio, television + online media.
With cultural leader Julianne Schultz, I co-edited the best-selling GriffithREVIEW39: Tasmania - The Tipping Point? (Text, 2013) and my award-winning book Pedder Dreaming: Olegas Truchanas and A Lost Tasmanian Wilderness (UQP, 2011) was launched by the Governor-General of Australia.
Money! (That's it).
We have the THINKtent.
We have the location.
We have the people. (Great people).
If you can be in town to participate, REGISTER NOW FOR THINKtent Belgrade by email – email@example.com
THINKtent Belgrade sessions + topics
Thursday 3 July
Čolaković Legacy, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade
12:00-13:00: Opening for Business – Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade
13:15-14:15: Sense Squared – How Design Thinking Can Change the World
14:30-15:30: New Men, New Women, New Economy? – 21st Century Leadership
15:45-16:45: Magical Solutions to Wicked Problems
17:00-18:00: Globally Positioning Serbia
From 18:00: RECEPTION