Over the last months, Spitalfields has become a favourite starting point for Street Wisdom, particularly for our session introducing Street Wisdom to business people.
For hundreds of years it was a wholesale food market with traders shouting out their wares and engaging customers in the argy-bargy of sales banter. Today it’s a hive of hipster stores, pop-up restaurants and bars. But there’s some connection missing. There’s a crowd of people but they are not really interacting. At least that was a feeling that Millie (pictured) had.
So, on her Street Wisdom walk, she decided to set up her own stall – offering free conversations. And her first customers were three (“slightly scary-looking”) older men. Turns out they weren’t East End hoods. They all used to work in the market, were visiting their old workplace and wanted to talk about it.
It was something that all our business participants noticed in their different ways. How we can be in a crowd and yet feel very separate from those around us. Shopping used to be an excuse to connect. And now it’s a substitute. Maybe we need more ‘marketing’ like Millie’s. Turn shopping back into conversations.
by David Pearl.
Photo by Ines Alonso.
Blessed by gorgeous weather, 30 seekers of wisdom met on a luminous Sunday afternoon just around the corner from one of London’s most famous byways: Carnaby Street.
Street Wisdom co-founder David Pearl and Street Wizard alumni Scott Morrison gathered us all together on the ancient cobblestones and gave us a taste of the experience that would unfold over the next three hours. Expect the unexpected, look for teachers as well as answers, use the streets as an invisible university.
Perhaps we picked up on the neighbourhood’s reputation for new ideas, open-minded entrepreneurs and leaping into the unknown (in bell-bottomed trousers) but as the group of soon-to-be Street Wizards set off on their wanderings, the air was full of expectation. And a couple of hours later, we were not disappointed – new light had been shed on all sorts of difficult questions, inspiration had been sought and found, and the world was viewed in a new and stimulating way. If you were there, thank you for coming, and please leave your own stories of adventure in the comments below. We’d love to hear them.
Massive thanks also to our other volunteer facilitators: Mark Brown, David Micklem, Ines Alonso and Jo Pearl. And to Stephen Cotterell for the photos.
See you next time….
I approached the Street Wisdom event eager to try out a new way of learning. I already had experienced on my own the power hidden in streets, but I wanted to go further and find out how giving a structure to the experience could enhance the outcome.
The tuning up was useful to make me notice things that I usually would not pay any attention to, such as the Apple store, where the simplicity of the design aims to keep stimuli to a minimum and provoke conversations. The quest provided me with lots of insights but somehow they didn’t match my question, I felt confused. Then, when sharing the experience with the group, new insights emerged, but still didn’t make much sense to me.
I had a lot of fun, I met fascinating people and I learnt a new technology for learning, all of it for free!
However, deep in me, I could notice a hint of disappointment and discomfort, it felt like wearing a woolen cloth, a welcoming itch. It’s been lingering in my mind since then, until after reflecting deeply, finally the AHA! came.
The signs I got from the streets were not intended to answer my question, but to show me the path to dissolve the blockage that was preventing me from stepping further and finding the answers.
WOW! This is more than wisdom, it’s magic!
Thank you all, leaders, participants and of course streets for being so inspiring and fun!