Peter Tucker

Art and Experiments in Life

Make It Happen, Egilsstaðir, Iceland

Came to participate in the Make conference and to find inspiration for our corner of the world in western NY. Found inspiration walking around Reykjavik and the conference had not started.  (Conference images and comments below.)








The conference began with introductions by Ministers of Culture from Iceland and other countries.


Svein Spjelkavik from Norway received an award from the Icelandic government for his work on the 10 year Creative Communities collaboration between Iceland and the EU.  Signý Ormarsdóttir, the Cultural Manager of East Iceland received a similar award from the Norwegian government.
The conference was unusual, and fantastic as a model, because it didn’t follow typical conference models. There were talks and powerpoint presentations, but there were many locations and many opportunities to visit, to discuss, and to be inspired.

Tuesday morning Halldor Gislason, provided context in his keynote:
A Shift to Creative Thinking
Halldór Gíslason (IS), Professor in KHiO in Oslo

What I learned: Quality over quantity. Always consider the triple bottom line: Planet, People, Profit. Is what I am doing okay for all three pillars? Is it worth it on all three levels? (based on UN model of sustainability) Susan-Design is a good model of problem solving with design.

Erik Bugge (NO), Project Manager in Vesterålen, Norway: Working Together in the Periphery: Metaphors as Strategy for Cultural Development

What I learned: Develop strategies for development projects, consider these pillars: Work across sector boundries, cooperate with the non-profit sector, disseminate regional cultural history, prioritize creative activities for children, cooperate internationally, use metaphors in developing strategies. Tilbakestrøm (Youth Reflux) is a good example of a project to keep connected with youth that leave the area. Develop database, keep in touch with phone calls from officials, provide travel grants for youth to return and perform or exhibit.

What I should try: Company concerts – at business locations for employees during the work day. Consider large manufacturing facilities, concerts by music students. Nice connection with community.


How can Communities Support Creativity? A Case from Bornholm
Karin Larsen (DK) & Lene Römer (DK), Consultants at CRT Bornholm, Denmark

What I learned: The Arts & Crafts Association of Bornholm is a good example of a well orchestrated artists cooperative where the creative process is in focus.

  1. Identity platform for craft artists
  2. Facilitator of creative learning process
  3. Platform for business models
  4. Activating the community through funding
  5. Place branding for Bornholm
  6. Institutional knowledge collaboration
  7. Micro-cluster
  8. Platform for hand-crafted art

Building a Creative Community: Presentation of MS Thesis in Tourism Studies
Katla Steinsson (NO), Managing Director of Hús Handanna in Egilsstaðir



Lunch was locally produced. The ginger & carrot soup was delicious. It did seem a bit strange to eat reindeer, but Rudolph was yummy.

The Results of the Creative Communities Project: Developing MAKE by Þorpið
Lára Vilbergsdóttir (IS), Project Manager of Creative Communities and MAKE by Þorpið & Karna Sigurðardóttir (IS), Strategies & Communications at MAKE by Þorpið

The afternoon had a session about how Make by Þorpið came about, then a hands on presentation of projects Make has completed.


A bus took us to the magical village of Seyðisfjörður for an afternoon visiting studios, galleries, education facilities and a brand new experimental sound studio.

(click to see full image)

(click to see full image)
Lara’s wool workshop produces high quality felt with Icelandic wool.20121002-174926.jpg(click to see full image)


Three artists run the co-op RoShamBo.


Learning by Doing
Max Lamb (UK), furniture designer in London

On Wednesday, designer Max Lamb gave an inspiring keynote: Learning by Doing. It was a fantastic reminder to just make something. Stop thinking and do it.

What I learned:  Make It Happen!

There is tremendous energy in the creative communities here. We visited a former fish factory in Stöðvarfjörður that artists have turned into a home, community center and massive studio spaces: HERE Creative Center. They make work with materials left in the building.




Rósa Valtingojer and Zdenek Patak showed us the massive transformation they have done to the former fish factory. Their dedication is inspiring.

What I learned:  Anything is possible.  Dream Big.




Lighting created with used plastic bottles.




My colleague Megan Urban (right) with Rósa of HERE Creative Center.

News From Nowhere; William Morris in Iceland
Pete Collard (UK), Curator at the Design Museum in London

What I learned:  William Morris (1834-1896) used haymaking as a metaphor for community collaboration.







Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Haymaking, 1565

Experiences – The Code for Authentic Luxury
Merilyn Keskula
(EE), Experience Curator and Founder of ÖÖ: Was it a Dream?

What I learned:  “We can’t predict the future but we can invent it.” Dennis Gabor

This place has quaintness out the wazoo.


Destination Design: A Resource for All
Daniel Byström (SE), Industrial Designer

What I learned:  Things to consider with destination design

  • What do we want to be?
  • What feelings do visitors feel?
  • What memories do we want to give them?
  • Don’t forget to ask yourself why? (tourism, jobs…)

On the final day of the conference, Daniel Byström led us through a workshop titled: Make It Happen: How can we together develop our region.

Daniel’s presentation the day before gave me the inspiration for a community driven piece that I look forward to facilitating soon.  It is based on a process of using metaphor to develop a platform for disucssion.

Who are we?
(What kind of each of these best describes our region)

  • Car
  • Sport
  • Flower
  • Clothing
  • Destination
  • Color
  • Animals
  • Season
  • Character

Who do we want to be?  (repeat with metaphors for each)


I loved my cozy stay at Gistihúsið Egilsstöðum.



For more information:
News & updates:

Next Post

Previous Post

© 2024 Peter Tucker

Theme by Anders Norén