So day one has been and gone at the IABC World Conference in New Orleans. I am awake bright and early on Day Two, mainly because my body thinks it should be home making breakfast for my two girls before packing them off to school. So I am putting the time to good use and sharing what I learnt from the first keynote from Helen Marriage from the incredibly cool London agency, Artichoke. Tears fell regularly as she talked, many people moved by what she had achieved.

Helen was an amazing and inspiring speaker. Not only that, she was incredibly humble about what she’d achieved. She delivered her talk in such a warm manner, we all couldn’t help but fall slightly in love with her. Certainly from some Twitter comments, she stole a few hearts last night.


Helen talked through four projects that Artichoke had worked on and how they had connected people and disrupted with such positive outcomes. I won’t go in to huge detail as you can find masses online, but the four stories were One & Other, the Gormley installation on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, The Sultan’s Elephant, a delightful story from Nantes in France which closed the streets of London, an installation above Oxford Circus called Lumiere in London in 2016 which again closed one of the busiest intersections in London. And then Temple, an immensely moving story of bringing together Catholics and Protestants in Derry~Londonderry.

My key take away was that we should always look for ways to make life better; for everyone. How can I challenge the everyday? How can I bring the imagination of amazing artists in to my worklife? We work so much of our lives that we need to make it better, something we’re passionate about at theblueballroom. I want some of what Helen’s created. I want to bring more love, joy, delight, fun and magic to the clients we work with. As Ben Matthews so rightly put on Twitter,

its elephants not emails we remember.

Thanks, IABC. This has been an incredible start to the #IABC16 conference. And that’s not mentioning the parade and food and fine wine. Incredible atmosphere in #NOLA and so lucky to be here. More over the next few days, I hope. 

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