Time out to be Curiouser & Curiouser

Fresh from the inspiring HQ of Cymbrogi Futures in beautiful Lawrenny, which marked the start of my four-day creative reset, I had the joy of a family-centric cultural deep-dive in London this weekend, collecting new inspirations and connections and resurfacing individual talents and passions along the way.

The Cymbrogi Festival of Learning brought together a rich mix of thinkers and doers in wellbeing, the circular economy, creative skills and collaborative learning, all bundled up in spectacular outdoor learning spaces and nourished with home-grown local fare and live music. A myriad of inter-generational movers and shakers focused on equipping our next generation with the knowledge, skills and mindsets to take on a challenging future.

capture from my time at Cymbrogi Festival of Learning

Keen to build upon my wellbeing reset (courtesy of Cymbrogi’s Shaun Brookings & We Swim Wild’s Laura Owen Sanderson), my party of nine family members headed to the serene and stunning Oxfordshire Chiltern Hills and Henley-upon-Thames waters; high contrast to the ever-ending gaze in to flickering screens with continuous notifications and pleas for attention.

A key highlight from the trip was the mind-bending journey of the immersive “Inside the Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition “ at the Victoria & Albert Museum, an opportunity for all ages to (re)engage with imagination, take thrill from what is different, and to question what is in fact reality – the full collection of exhibits offering diverse interpretation and influence. For me, the themes from the ‘Alice’ series of books providing new portals and doorways in views onto other worlds and perspectives were compelling and mesmerising, and layered with meaning – from the joy of childhood, story-time, and free-thinking, to celebration of curiosity and wonder. Such a timeless offering from Charles Lutwidge Dodgeson (pen name Lewis Carroll), beautifully penned wisdoms of the value of contemplation, questioning, and conjecture.

Glimpse of the Alice Curiouser and Curiouser VAM exhibition

Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird and beast, And half believe it true.

(From ‘All in the Golden Afternoon’ preface to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland –
Lewis Carroll)

A second highlight from the V&A would soon follow with time spent in session with the powerful inter-disciplinary artist Linett Kamala and her VAM team. The chance to engage in a creative workshop on Linett’s signature style – calligraffiti – to capture our wishes for the future of the planet.

Family Calligraffiti workshop with the fantastic Linett Kamala & team at the VAM

Hopefully the family that creates artistic protest posters together, stays together!

And then finally, the home of Legoland – my first visit, but it will certainly not be my last. As I have shared before in my reflections on the art of ‘being’ – I am mildly obsessed with transient play and believe Lego literally rocks! To some, an expensive habit, particularly when the marketed constructions are short-lived, with pieces invariably mixed up and lost to the vacuum cleaner, but I would happily join forces with the ‘Lego Movie’ (2014) freedom fighters to rise up to stop the evil tyrant ‘Kragle’ from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis. The power of ‘Lego’ lies in its dualistic properties of impermanence and endless possibility, which feeds imagination, the precursor to creativity. I should also note it didn’t go amiss that there’s a strong pirate theme with real life pirates running around the site, which made me feel right at home!

Whilst its back to normality now, I can happily conclude, spending time away from the screen and immersed in all things playful and creative has been highly rewarding with long term benefits I suspect for us all – from 4 years to grannydom 🙂

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