Real Creative Collectives: Enspiral + Enkel

Real Creative Collectives: Enspiral + Enkel

Collectives are beautiful weirdos, and odd assemblages of the willing: those who believe sharing the work also means sharing the responsibility and the rewards as part of a fluid construct that brings people together and promotes community. In this article I highlight two, Enspiral (NZ) and Enkel (Aus).


Shared creative spaces like innx.hub are transforming the unused industrial buildings of Newcastle into vibrant media production hubs, and shifting the economy of the city toward making culture, not steel.

The place looks very cool - its facade was painted in concentric circles and psychedelic tones by a street artist during the Hit the Bricks festival, and the foyer has a whole shipping container plonked in it that houses an agency called Mezzanine Media

innx.hub is part of the chic “West-End” creative scene that has sprung up in reclaimed warehouses, where a bunch of digital and design agencies, photographers and film makers now operate and hang out in hip cafés like Tufty Hidey Hole, and bars like The Edwards.

The Edwards was an industrial laundry, and Chris Johnstone and Chris Joannou have been faithful to that theme in their incredible make over of the site – check out some great photos on their funky website here.

That website was made by Headjam, an amazing creative agency I’m proud to say I do a lot of work with (I wrote copy for The Edwards website, check out an example here ;) who are based in a very cool mezzanine level at innx.hub along with a bunch of great creative businesses that make their homes in a versatile range of highly functional spaces.

OK so get ready for some beautifully designed websites.... there’s Standing Man strategic design, La Lune Cinema, White Magazine and Something Blue photography (to name a few). 

Converted warehouses nearby now house the Hunter Design School, Renae Perry Dance school and great little boutiques and it’s hard to imagine the process of transformation will stop there as the development of innovative creative spaces charges ahead in Newcastle West.

Image Credits: all c/o innx.hub and Something Blue photography.

Understanding The "Always On" Consumer

Most of us are now "always on" - meaning we are permanently connected to a world of information - and are starting to use our mobile technology to access the internet even when we are at home with a desktop, or laptop computer handy.

Mobiles have improved and content is now prepared for mobile delivery with care, and people are getting used to relying on them, so marketing strategy often places greatest importance on how an audience will use a mobile device to experience media content.

This is called a "mobile first" approach.

But more use of mobile devices means more chances to reach an audience individually, and that it's just not enough to assume everyone uses mobiles in the same way. 

Recent research by Experian set out to understand, segment and define mobile users, and they came up with seven types - they are included them below, I think you'll find them very interesting:  

Prodigies: Constantly connected, mobile-centric tech trendsetters. Individuals in this segment set the trends and are the first to adopt new technology. Extremely receptive to ads on mobile devices and social media.
Tribals: Hyperconnected, device agnostic. Mobile devices (often multiple devices) serve as the gateway to social media for this set. They are both heavily influenced by and strong influencers of others through social media.
Personals: This mobile-savvy segment loves their phone, but are increasingly cutting out the middle man when it comes to connecting with friends preferring direct messaging to social media.
Pragmatists: These mobile professionals use their phones to stay on top of work and home. They can be found doing everything from checking game scores to transferring documents, accessing boarding passes and more.
Browsers: Individuals in this set are still learning about everything they can do with their phone. Today, they’re primarily browsing the mobile web and consuming a bit of news. They show potential for expanded use though.
Occasionals: The people in this segment use their smartphones mostly for making calls, playing solitaire and checking the weather despite the myriad of additional features of these devices.
Talkers: Mobile use among this set is fairly light except they do enjoy playing the occasional game and making video calls most likely with grandkids and other family.

Source: "The Always On Consumer". Experian Information Solutions, Inc. 2014. (visited 23/03/15)

Image Credit: The crowd uses cell phones and cameras to record President Barack Obama's remarks to U.S. Embassy Amman employees and their families on March 23, 2013 as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador Stuart Jones look on. [State Department Photo/Public Domain] 

What is Facilitation?

People often ask me: what is facilitation, exactly? 

So, I thought it would be great to write the answer down.

Facilitation is helping people to collaborate.

I've had the privilege of doing this for 15 years now, with media professionals, researchers, students and of course a wide range of clients from a fascinating mix of expert fields. It happens in all kinds of ways, but usually it means being a neutral person helping a group to work together to build ideas.

This is often called ideation.

The facilitator may be an expert in the subject at hand, but they are always expert at helping the individuals become a team. This means translating what people know and can do into forms of creativity shared by the group.

They plan and structure meetings, write notes, direct conversations, formalise proceedings and then report on the shared experience of the group. This means using a range of techniques to stimulate energetic exchange while keeping discussions on track, explaining complicated ideas in simple terms, anticipating and preventing any potential conflict and stopping inappropriate language use.

Thought leader on the topic Fran Rees wrote this list (facilitators love a good list) of things facilitation helps to do:

  • Group members are often more motivated to support the decisions made because of their investment in the process.
  • The best efforts of groups usually produce better results than individual efforts.
  • Increased participation within the group increases productivity.
  • It is possible for managers and leaders to draw more on their staffs as resources, which contributes to overall organisational success.
  • Everyone involved has a chance to contribute and feels they are an integral part of the team.
  • People realize and respect that responsibility for implementing decisions lies with everyone.
  • Innovation and problem-solving skills are built.
  • People are encouraged to think and act for the overall benefit of the group.
  • Higher-quality decisions normally result.
  • A forum for constructively resolving conflicts and clarifying misunderstandings is created.
  • Negative attitudes, low morale, low involvement, and withholding of information are less likely because everyone is involved in a joint process.

So, hope this helps, and if anyone asks you what facilitation is, send them my way!

Rees, Fran. The Facilitator Excellence Handbook: Helping People Work Creatively and Productively Together, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005)

Image Credit: "Training meeting in a ecodesign stainless steel company in brazil" by Alex Rio Brazil - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0


754 Hunter St

Dropped by 754 Hunter Street this week to hang and work. It's a converted warehouse, and one of the many collective creative spaces popping up around Newcastle.

There's some seriously innovative companies based here to compliment the clever open plan adaptation of the space. Tiny Design Workshop, for example, are a pair of passionate young architects who work to convert and recycle elements of the built environment for alternate use. Check them out here

There's also photographer Hannah Rose. High level, boutique photography is rarely this great, and her prize winning art, anthropological and commercial work has caught the attention of the international photography community. She is frequently invited to speak and exhibit at large events, the most recent being Vivid, HeadON, and Look Upstairs. Eye candy galore on her site here

There's also Pocket Design, whose principle is the all conquering Brett Piva. His hand lettering is popping up all around Newcastle - think The Edwards - and his websites and graphic design are as original as they are high level. Check his stuff out here.

There's also architect J.P.Hellowell, who specialises in domestic interiors, additions and new builds - he also completed a Bachelor of Construction Management, and a Master's in Architecture at UNSW where he was also teaching academic. He can take even the most complex, avante garde projects through to completion. Check out his beautiful site here.

There's also jewellers and artists, Sian Edwards and Eleanor Hanlon and Jemma Clifford, two great little creative agencies - Crackler, and Beech and Co - and communication tech experts Your Modern Practice

The place is not just functional and packed full of great creatives, it's serious eye candy. Check out the shot, it's c/o of Hannah Rose