GREAT Festival in Shanghai – Virtual Creativity
I’ve recently returned from Asia, where I visited both Shanghai and Singapore – but more about the latter in later blogs! Shanghai was Great Britain’s time to shine and I was there to fly the flag for creative industries. However, the experience as a whole was a fantastic opportunity to see the innovation, creativity and new ideas that our island has to offer. The GREAT Festival was the perfect opportunity for businesses of all shape and size to meet with Chinese investors in order to promote export to this fast-moving economy. Meetings could be set up, deals could be done and new connections could be forged.
Day One explored the new face of entrepreneurialism, new markets, new networks and the underlying values and qualities businesses need – creativity, imagination, re-invention – to face new and future business landscapes. As these qualities are part and parcel to my design ethos I was very excited to see what was on offer.
Walking around the fair, I spotted many stands that sparked my interest and got my creative juices flowing. I loved meeting with the team from John Downer Productions, BBC Earth and BBC Worldwide who had created a series of penguins to record secret footage in the Antarctic – this was key to our understanding of this climate and I adored the cute little figures moving around. So inspirational!
I also spotted a fantastic device by Rex Bionics, who had created a device to stabilise legs allowing a wheelchair user to walk again. It’s just fantastic to think that creative technologies like this are coming out of the UK and giving people who are disabled the power and dignity to move again.
The evening brought the event’s official opening ceremony. After being serenaded by the fantastic Jessie Ware, The Duke of Cambridge, HRH Prince William joined and announced the festival to be open. From doing a lot of work with his father and The Princes Trust, it was truly the Best of British in the room and it was buzzing with creativity. It was also the Duke’s first official visit to China, so it was great to be a part of this moment. I actually had the chance to meet him, but more on that later!