International Conference Addiction Associated Disorders ICAAD
Royal Garden Hotel, London May 1st – 3rd, 2017
It’s a long time since I presented at a big conference. The experience dredged up memories of other events, finance and accounting mainly, some good some dead boring, all a bit sterile and not particularly exciting.
But ICAAD 2017 was different. And thanks to the conference organisers and to all those who turned up for my talk.
It’s awesome when you arrive at an event like this and the reception person greets you with: ‘ You must be Chris Burn, welcome!’. But that was how I was greeted by the team who allade the whole event run so smoothly.
Like most conferences, ICAAD is a Treasure Island to be roamed, discovering nuggets of new information here and there, meeting fascinating characters along the way.
I particularly liked Dr Neil Brener’s ‘Addiction and Theatre’ (did they really find a clay pipe with traces of cocaine in Shakespeare’s house in Stratford, last year?), and Professor Phillip James and Dr Frank Lawlis’ ‘Oxygen and Brain Plasticity’ (sonic stimulation and BAUD therapy).
I also loved hearing Adela Campbell on the origins of psychodrama at the start of the twentieth century and psychodrama’s founder Jacob Moreno (who once said to Sigmund Freud: ‘You analyse and tear them apart. I let them act out their conflicting roles and help them to put the parts back together again.’)
I shared a presentation spot with US Recovery Coach and Performance Artist, Dufflyn Lammers – a truly inspiring person who gave me a lot of new ideas for both content and presentation.
Creativity is very much in the news these days and creativity is in demand. Employers who used to prioritise knowledge and skills in areas such as mathematics, now realise that computers can perform these tasks.
Imagination, thinking ‘out of the box’ and problem-solving skills are seen as highly desirable attributes in candidates for top jobs. Education is following this trend.
In that context, creativity of any kind, especially creative writing, scores highly.
In The Harvard Business Review in 2012, education and leadership writer John Coleman said ‘To those open to it, reading and writing poetry can be a valuable component of leadership development.’ (The Benefits of Poetry for Professionals, John Coleman, November 27, 2012.)
Who would have thought that a book with the title ‘What Poetry Brings to Business’ (What Poetry Brings To Business, Clare Morgan, 2010), would be a big seller?
Influential US businessman (electronics, steel, retail) and owner of Newsweek magazine Sidney Harman once told The New York Times, “I tell my senior staff to get me poets as managers. Poets are our original systems thinkers. They look at our most complex environments and they reduce the complexity to something they begin to understand.”
If what employers want today is poets, what does this mean in practice?
Here is an example – you are seeking a new job, so you prepare a good CV and in it you state among your interests ‘reading and writing poetry’. You are called to an interview and (among other questions) you are asked to explain this statement ‘reading and writing poetry’..
You might say the words that someone in business said to me recently: ‘Poetry and creative writing has helped me in so many ways – in analysing problems and finding creative solutions, in communicating this to colleagues and in helping me deal with day to day emotions that arise when one is doing a demanding job. And when I go home, it helps me relax and to see my day from a different viewpoint.’
Creative Writing can change your life for the better.
An edited version of my talk can be seen below:
I look forward to next year and another treasure hunt.