What are they doing now? Jake Spicer on life after speaking at TEDxBrighton 2011
We wanted to catch up with some speakers from last year’s TEDxBrighton and see what they have been doing since. I met with Jake Spicer recently, who gave a talk on drawing which included some wonderful audience participation. He had a live model on stage and managed to get the audience absorbed in drawing, despite a complete mix of abilities and level of experience with drawing.
Since TEDxBrighton 2011
When I ask Jake what has happened for him since speaking at TEDxBrighton 2011, the first thing he mentions is a strange incident late one evening where he was shouted at by a big man from a little distance away. Understandably, Jake was a bit worried and thought this was going to mean trouble. As it turned out, the man recognised Jake from his TEDx talk and wanted to stop him to say how good it was and how much he’d enjoyed it. I love this anecdote because it illustrates perfectly, albeit on a small scale, the unexpected connections that can be made by sharing your ideas widely as the ethos of TED promotes.
Draw Brighton has also seen a doubling in the number of attendees to classes since then. While some of the new signees are likely to be as a result of Jake’s TEDx talk, I am also convinced that the growth is largely due to the care taken over building the community by Jake and his team. As we talked about the organisation, the team of tutors, models and volunteers and the passion and curiosity driving this project, I realised that this is a highly sociable and collaborative (as well as educational) phenomenon. It is also well organised: Draw Brighton is self funding, gathering money to support its initiatives through subscriptions to classes and ticketed events.
Why work in and speak about drawing?
For Jake, drawing is a way to become more involved with the world around you. He is keen to explain that it is about relaxing by making a point of engaging with the world, rather than relaxing through escapism. Further, drawing is about seeing the world differently: by approaching the world with intent to represent what you encounter visually you actually experience the world differently.
Jake is keen share that he really enjoyed the challenge of grappling with the format of a TEDx talk and the concision required to make it successful. He found the breadth of people both speaking and attending really inspiring and enjoyed the discussion generated during and around the event. He also mentions that he is amazed as just how many people have viewed the video of his talk afterwards, which is a great reminder of how far the reach of the TEDx events can be and what a fantastic resource the videos are even well after the event.
And on the generation gap?
Jake feels his drawing classes are a great leveller and are a good place to challenge the assumption that if you belong to a certain demographic you will have a certain skill level. The classes see attendees ranging from the ages of 14-84 and Jake tells me he doesn’t experience difficulties with the mix of ages. He also observes that with drawing the practices and materials used have remained pretty constant over the generations so there isn’t an adoption barrier or split in approach in the form of new technologies for different generations.
If you are interested in finding out more about Draw Brighton school you can have a look at their website. They are running a big drawing event on 3rd November at the Brighton Old Market which looks amazing. Also, if you haven’t already then go have a look at the list of speakers we currently have lined up for this year’s TEDxBrighton