Aims of the Festival

The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas aims to re-establish the importance of dangerous ideas as agents of change in education – to shift the axis of what is possible! It is for everyone who is passionate about education including college, university, school staff and students as well as those engaged in education throughout the creative communities.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Successful Emporium of Dangerous Ideas!

Well ... what an extremely successful Emporium of Dangerous Ideas 2015 that was! With 18 events and over 1,000 delegates in attendance exploring the theme of the two week-festival 'emancipatory education'. With changing curriculum design and delivery - who is being set free? 

The theme was examined during the period with a successful launch on Tuesday 09 June at Govanhill Baths, Glasgow followed by events taking place in various locations across Scotland including Drygate Brewery which was the host to Leadership in 21st Century Education and Business of Brewing, CDN hosting a 'sell-out' Mind Full to Mindful event finishing on Friday 19 June with a Creative Change Exhibition.

The overall aim of the Emporium was to provide opportunities for everyone in education to be inspired, challenged and stimulated to think differently. Ninety eight percent of delegates felt that this aim was achieved. 

Find out more here:

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Where else are the dangerous ideas - ulab?

As the Emporium of  Dangerous Ideas approaches with frightening velocity, it was surprising that I  managed to make time to attend the Ulab event, organised by Scottish Government.   Given that time is of a premium at the moment I had some questions? What's all the fuss about? Is it just another initiative?  Don't I know this already? Yet, I was intrigued enough to go with an open mind, and a commitment to do the emails in the evening!

The event was  magnificent, energising and even dangerous.  I liked all that I heard about ulab: with it's theory base (theory U) , taught through a MOOC or the Scottish equivalent SMOOC, but it was the passion and personal story telling of the participants who had already been involved.  Getting together with people to discuss issues that matter isn't something new, but the emphasis on a deeper dialogue, inquiry questions, and delving to a deeper level of consciousness coupled with a call to action, either individually or through self-organising hubs offers a real opportunity for change.   There is an explicit commitment to social equality, economic reform, with a focus on what really matters.
It's interesting that Ulab based in MIT see Scotland as an ideal place for hubs to form and transform our lives.  The danger is of course, that we don't take the risk of exploring what really matters to us, individually, on a community and a national, international level, and we don't take action.

Anyone can join, you don't a special invite - so what's stopping you?

Find out more - here's some information from Kenneth Hogg's invitation:

We would like to invite anyone interested in participating in U.Lab Scotland, and particularly if they are interested in becoming a hub host, to attend some of the following preparatory events in Edinburgh:

* 3 July: 9.30am to 5pm - strongly recommended training event for all hub hosts. We will be joined by Otto Scharmer and his colleagues to provide support and training to everyone taking on the role of hub host. Please book your space here
* 1 September: 9.30am to 5pm - strongly recommended preparatory event for all hub hosts. Please book your space here Please contact (0131 244 0545) if you have any queries.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

There's a lot of learning through the Hidden Door

Transforming public spaces  with the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh

The hidden door festival in Edinburgh explores how we use disused and abandoned public spaces.  There's a vibrant  and imaginative feel, with both daytime and evening events populated with art, music, cinema, food and drink.  It makes for an ideal learning environment, and shows what you can achieve with collaboration, and a vision.

It would great to know more about the process involved in finding the locations and transforming them into these places of discovery.  For more information on Hidden Doors check out their website:

Friday, 8 May 2015

Office Surfing

Office Surfing 

Yesterday was not a normal working Thursday for me, I piloted the Emporium of Dangerous

Ideas – Office Surfing and surfed at a brewery!

A little background

Office surfing – the dangerous idea …

Spend some time in a different work environment, doing your work or work as a host, welcoming a surfer to experience your working environment.

The host – Drygate Brewery

Drygate brewery, the host for my surfing experience is the UK’s first experiential craft brewery. Brewing fearlessly to achieve the exceptional. Their strap line ‘Open Doors, Open Minds, Whatever it Takes’ alongside their incredible marketing and design throughout the brewery, web and social media generates a great buzz and energy.

My Experience

Hitting the waves a little later than anticipated (after hitting a ‘shark’ zone by getting lost) the lovely Katie Nimigon, Events Manager at Drygate Brewery welcomed me with open arms to her work space, settling me in with a cuppa from their marvelous coffee machine. 

The differences in working spaces are immediately clear to see. I have the typical workspace set up – desk, computer, telephone, files, calendars etc. At Drygate the office space is certainly not ‘typical’ – there is no office space! No computer, desk or telephone as they move from one space to another with only their laptop to hand. 

What they lack in materials they compensate with in flexibility, multiple work stations, plenty of inspirational images stimulating the mind and regular face-to-face communication.  

Delighted with my new working station I settle in for the morning and learn from Katie a little more about The Vintage at Drygate (the restaurant and hospitality side) and Drygate Brewery. With a small team of only 6 the brewery all pull together and each juggle several roles and long hours. A great example is John – he is the label designer, assistant in the brewery and delivery driver –Drygate staff have a great energy and enthusiasm to attempt new things. 

So, what drives them? – Shared passion for brewing!

How did it feel? – Great, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I was taken out of my comfort zone giving my senses a new experience. Smell, chefs cooking up yummy breakfast and a small tinge of beer. Sound, the humming of the brewery and to my delight Red Hot Chili Peppers drumming from the speakers. Taste, delicious coffee and staff are often treated to the kitchen’s treats. Sight, inspirational designs integrated throughout the brewery and positivity of staff. Touch, back to the basics, with very little gadgets to distract me.

Overall experience – it has given me so much creative inspiration in terms of marketing and design and proved to me that stripping back to the basics can allow for a productive and enjoyable working environment – I may be rethinking my love for stationary and gadgets. I believe I could adapt to the Drygate work environment, although for some this style of working could be a ‘wipe-out’. Drygate really does ‘open doors, open minds, whatever it takes.’

Your wave is waiting! Contact to find out more.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Is our leadership wicked enough?

Are you familiar with 'wicked problems': ones that are difficult to solve because they are incomplete, contradictory complex and resistant to resolution?     They are often characterised by efforts to solve problems in one area, creating difficulties in another.  They require different approaches, thinking outside  traditional realms, and a willingness to work collaboratively across traditional boundaries.  For a short summary on wicked problems watch this:

So, what are the wicked problems in education and what kind of leadership do we need?   Find out at our leadership event

Friday, 24 April 2015

Failing In Education

As part of The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas , West Lothian Creative Learning Network and Hidden Giants invite you to  Failing in Education: a conversation, A one day event exploring risk and failure within the education system. The event will take place at  Howden Park Centre, Livingston on Friday 12th June. Please pass on this email to any staff you feel may be interested and apologies for any cross posting.
The event will start with registration from 9.00am will run from 9.30am until 2.30pm, lunch will be provided.  This event is open to anyone who has an interest in today’s education system. Please see more information below and to book your FREE ticket please use the link below to go to Brown Paper Tickets:
Failing in Education:  a conversation
A one day event exploring risk and failure within the education system
Failing is an essential part of learning but does our education system provide authentic learning environments that thrive on risk, experimentation and failure?
West Lothian Creative Learning Network and Hidden Giants invite you to spend a day exploring failure and how it manifests within our education system.   The day will bring together examples of prototype learning conceived by creative practitioners, teachers and classes from across West Lothian.  We will also hear from education specialist ‘The Real’ David Cameron.
Over the last 8 months West Lothian CLN and Hidden Giants have collaborated with the James Young High cluster to explore risk and failure within learning and teaching.  The schools have established dangerous partnerships with 4 creative practitioners to unsettle comfort zones, intensify risk taking behaviour, and disrupt the norm.
The four groups have created experiments exploring risk within their context:  a nursery, P3 class, P6 class and the CDT department in the secondary.  Through these experiments the schools explored their own ‘risk thresholds’ and are ready to share them.
If you’ve ever failed in education or feel that education is failing then we invite you to join us at Howden Park Centre on Friday 12th June.  It might fail, in fact, if it doesn’t, we’ll be disappointed.
West Lothian CLN and Hidden Giants

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Business of Brewing: A Dangerous Idea for Education?


Thursday 18 June 2015 
Drygate, Glasgow  

This exciting event will celebrate the art, science and technology of brewing.  Hear from industry experts, entrepreneurs , educators as well as two teams from the college sector who are taking on a brewing challenge this spring, about the wide variety of knowledge and skills that constitutes brewing, and how these relate to  education today.  Are we providing a craft experience in education for young people or do we take the mass production approach? This event will stimulate debate and discussion around the nature of education today.

Join Jamie Cooke, Sarah Drummond from Snook, Maklab, Heriot-Watt  and Paul Gorman at this Emporium of Dangerous Ideas event.
Why not join us for this dangerous event. Find out more information about our free events and book online here