Today I received a call to participate in a design event to be held in the UK in October 2012. Design Event 2011 last year consisted of over 30 exhibitions, events, tours and talks throughout the North East. Main highlights were; the Design Event MART, an exhibition of 22 regional designers with brand new products which took place at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; and the Modern Art of Conversation, a street based exhibition around Newcastle by ten leading contemporary image makers including Geoff McFetridge, Barnbrook and Daniel Eatock. The Festival attracted over 67,500 visitors who primarily wanted to see new work and to be inspired.
This years theme is HAPPINESS.
Many other countries are exploring similar initiatives including France and Canada, further to recommendations by economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, who called on world leaders to move away from a purely economic concept of GDP, which measures economic production, to wellbeing and sustainability. In January 2011, Action for Happiness launched the happiness challenge with the BBC encouraging the public to follow 3 simple steps to happiness :
Be Kind – Do things for others
Be Grateful – Remember the good things
Be Mindful – Do less and notice more
This followed work carried out by the think tanks Foresight and nef (the new economics
foundation) which identified five ways to wellbeing :
Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At
home, work school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them.
Go for a walk or a run. Step outside. Cycle.
Exercise makes you feel good. Most importantly. discover a physical activity you
enjoy and that suits your level of fitness.
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful.
Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experience will help you appreciate what
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest.
Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving.
Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time.
Join a community group. Look out as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
These routes to happiness aren’t necessarily new – the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus advocated ‘friends, freedom and thought’ as the path to happiness.
Moving forward as a society, have we lost some of the values that we used to hold dear,
and has this influenced our daily wellbeing?
So tell me what makes you happy?
How would you express HAPPINESS through creativity?
What does that self expression of HAPPINESS look like?
Posting by Rob Burton text courtesy of Design Event 2012