On the evening of Thursday 16 March 2017, I had the great pleasure of welcoming more than 200 guests to our Special Private View of the Design Museum in Kensington, recently opened in its stunning new venue.
This exclusive evening of music, wine, conversation and curated tours presented an opportunity for guests to explore a world-class museum and its cutting-edge exhibitions in an intimate way after the doors closed to the general public. It also enabled us to raise more than £30,000 towards our work with disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
The evening opened with a reception of canapés and wine. Entering into the museum’s impressive atrium, guests were able to enjoy the space’s dramatic architecture and distinctive curved ceiling with a glass of wine, kindly sponsored by Chelsea arts gallery The Dot Project.
Create Ambassador and previous Design Museum Trustee Alistair DK Johnston CMG took to the stage, welcoming guests and thanking the event’s sponsors including The Kairos Collective, headline sponsor and online marketplace for the home. He introduced Design Museum Director Alice Black to the stage, who explained the history of the museum and told of its explosion in popularity since relocating to Kensington. She also talked of the connection between Create and the Design Museum as two organisations that celebrate and champion the importance of creativity.
In my speech, I shared the story of one of the most moving encounters I have had with a Create participant. Kojo (name changed to protect anonymity) is a young carer in Merton. He cares for his mum who has epilepsy and is partially blind. He has Asperger Syndrome himself, which, in conjunction with his caring responsibilities, has impacted his ability to make friends. I talked of seeing his level of confidence and self-esteem rocket during one of our photography projects, when his favourite image was purchased during the exhibition. One year later, he came with me to Buckingham Palace where he told his story and we were successfully awarded a transformational grant of £480,000 from The Queen’s Trust.
Sixteen children aged 7–10 from Hallfield Primary School, under the leadership of our professional musician Merit Stephanos, then wowed our guests and their parents with their world premiere performance of Sonic Design, the new piece they had written in response to the museum.
One of the children, Sophie aged 8, sang a solo in the performance: “I got to sing for my first ever audience in my whole life, and my mum was there. I was so shocked when I saw all the people: this is the biggest place I’ve ever seen and the biggest audience I’ve ever seen. I was nervous at first, but then I sang a bit more and felt more confident. At the end the audience kept on cheering for us and I felt really proud of myself.”
Sophie’s mum, Claire, told us what a meaningful experience this was for Sophie: “Sophie has two siblings, an older brother and an older sister, who both have autism. She doesn’t get half the things they get, like special trips out. So she gets a bit left out sometimes and having this opportunity to do something special just for her is something that she deserves. Her confidence has grown with it untold.
“I didn’t even know she was doing a solo until today! Although she’s quite loud sometimes, inside she’s quite shy so I didn’t think she’d have the courage to do it. She surprised me. She absolutely loves music so to have the opportunity to sing in front of so many people is amazing. I’m so proud of her.”
The children’s song was beautiful and uplifting. Looking around the room at the smiles on the faces of the guests, and hearing their comments and enthusiasm afterwards, it was clear how the children’s songs had touched them and demonstrated how creativity has the power to connect us all.
The guests then enjoyed intimate access to the Design Museum’s new exhibitions through curated tours sponsored by KPMG. Fear and Love presents eleven new installations by some of the most innovative and thought-provoking designers and architects working today; Designer Maker User presents the museum’s collection that looks at the development of modern design through these three interconnected roles.
As the guests finished their tours and began to leave the museum, they were handed goodie bags as a luxurious memento of the evening. We’d like to thank the event’s headline sponsor The Kairos Collective for contributing stylish tote bags and packets of forget-me-nots; Candy Kittens for contributing a colourful range of delicious gourmet sweets; and Time Inc UK for contributing indulgent beauty sets.
The £30,000+ raised from the evening through donations, ticket sales and corporate sponsorship will provide us with the funds we need to reach out to many more vulnerable children and adults across the UK over the coming months including: young patients; young carers; children with disabilities; and homeless people. Thank you.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Create
Headline sponsor: The Kairos Collective
The Kairos Collective, launched in 2017 by founder Tanya Southworth, is a carefully curated, online marketplace for the home, bringing together the best of London’s design neighbourhoods into one online design district. Kairos brings together a collection of unique and eclectic homeware from a range of undiscovered interiors boutiques. Offering everything you need to create a home, from furniture and accessories to artwork and books, it believes in representing quality craftsmanship, not disposable quick fixes. It is THE destination for design enthusiasts and collectors who simply don’t have time to hunt for the perfect piece.
“My vision for The Kairos Collective was to inspire a community of young collectors, curators and enthusiasts by bringing together the very best of London’s interior boutiques, all onto one easy-to-use website. We share the vision of Create to integrate individuals from different parts of society into the world of creative arts. As the headline sponsor of the Special Private View, we are delighted to help raise awareness of the meaningful work carried out by Create.” Tanya Southworth, Founder, The Kairos Collective
Wine sponsor: The Dot Project
The Dot Project is a forward thinking and innovative arts space in Chelsea. The gallery identifies emerging contemporary artists, working in a variety of mediums comprised within both group and solo shows, curated with a global perspective. The Dot Project provides a test bed for young practitioners to exhibit in a dynamic and open space with highly focused curatorial support.
Curated tour sponsor: KPMG
KPMG is one of the largest professional services companies in the world and one of the Big Four auditors. Its global headquarters is located in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. KPMG employs 189,000 people and has three lines of services: audit, tax, and advisory.