The start of the CoCreate Adelaide journey – April 13th

CoCreate Adelaide has been an amazing journey so far.

The idea was fledged in the early days of the new year, and less than four months later something incredible has been created.

CoCreate mandala - @JohnSBaxter

The mandala, an artwork created over the day by participants. Photo @JohnSBaxter

From the get go, the response was tellingly positive.  CoCreate tapped a similar chord with a broad mix of people – all of whom want to take action to shape the our future, all of whom understand the value of community, and of providing opportunities to support each other to take action.  Some have come from work with community groups, some from community engagement or collaboration in government, and a whole lot just want to work with others to make things happen.

But as people came together, it felt like we were all in unison – working together, keeping each other going and creating the energy to keep things moving.  I have been constantly inspired by the people that have been involved and provided their support.

These include people like Paquita and Kat Coppock, members of the team who’ve dedicated time and energy to making this happen.  And the positive support from partners including City of Charles Sturt, Hub Adelaide, Renewal SA and Geoff Kwitko.  These contributions took CoCreate from an ambiguous but exciting idea, and turned it into a real event and inspiring experience that has helped people take action to make a better world.  It has been humbling to be part of it.

I always knew that good things would come of it – but still had no idea how it would really go, right up until the first sessions started.  Saturday morning on the 13th of April was very nervous for me… and the weeks leading up to it were at times shaky for the team as well.  At our last team meeting, a few weeks before the event, we had to face some tough questions and concerns from a team that had dedicated themselves to CoCreate – but when they started talking to their friends about it, realised they had no idea what was actually going to happen.  I’m eternally grateful for everyone who placed their faith in it – and much relieved, thinking that faith was repaid.

Events like CoCreate will always require a bit of faith – faith in each other, faith in the the people that attend, and faith that our Open Space methodology will realise our potential and foster conversations that really matter.

The morning of CoCreate felt mildly chaotic… this is probably how it should be, but as an organiser it’s not the easiest way to be.  One thing at least was reassuring – the space (designed by Kat) was amazing and had everyone excited in anticipation.  The diversity and enthusiasm of the guests was reassuring, and the positive energy was tangible as we finally started to fill the grid.  In Open Space, the day starts as a blank canvas, and the participants put up their hand to host their own discussion.  The penny only really drops when the invitation is made for people to come forward.

Mulling in the CoCreate Adelaide space, photo @vjthecatalyst @HubAdelaide

Photo as people gather and mull at the start of the day at CoCreate Adelaide. Photo @vjthecatalyst @HubAdelaide

As if to mock my fears, we could barely contain the group’s passion!  I had barely finished making the invitation when the first person stepped forward.  We had set aside three spaces for discussion groups – with our breakout area as a backup space.  But there was too much energy to keep it to only three, and most of the day saw four engaging, empassioned and inspiring sessions running concurrently.

The theme overall for the day was the visions we care about – and what we can do to make them happen.  Topics included scaleable urban agriculture projects, informal peer-teaching programs, resource centres to support asylum seekers, and strategies to cope with economic degrowth – one session on preparing for the future in Australia, and another one on the present situation in Greece!

Morning grid - Chris Hooper

Afternoon grid - John Baxter

The day itself has too many stories to try to compress into this one of mine – we will share some of these here in future posts and on Twitter and Facebook.  If you get the chance to talk to someone though, ask them about their stories, get them to tell you what CoCreate has meant for them.  As the last of the group left the post-event drinks at the Gov, late on Saturday night, it was clear we all have our own stories and experience – but we’ve been through something good together.

Yes, the journey has been amazing.  But I’m getting the sense that we’re right at the very beginning of something much bigger.  I hope that you might join us.

– John Baxter: Partner / facilitator / organiser

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