O2N Style 2020 panel.

The O2N Style 2020—The Creative Conversation—recently created quite an impact beaming its live virtual panel discussion from the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, the Review of which resonated just as impressively through its airing on National television, last Sunday.

O2N Style 2020 is a production of the Oxygen with Nicole (O2N) Foundation. This year, the foundation was about to host a one-month festival, in May, when the pandemic struck and the organisers had to switch from an on site activity to an online one, swiftly.

In a promotional release, the chair, Nicole Dyer-Griffith, pronounced that in an effort to “pivot” the foundation opted not to abdicate its responsibility of producing its annual contribution to the development and consciousness of the creative economy, by fostering the reliance on creative entrepreneurship, as a way forward, to address economic diversification strategies but to maintain their commitment to the growth of the local and regional creative industry, by remaining realistic and relevant.

Last year, The Foundation included the Creative Conversation, in its diet of offerings, to nurture the boosting of the importance of the orange economy for substantive national development, under the title “Understanding the Creative Economy.” An outstanding panel of 14 participants presented before 600 registered attendees on topics of lobbying activism, intellectual property awareness, event management best-practice formulae, the economics of culture, cultural policy advocacy and wellness in the creative industries among others. This spawned a very encouraging discourse on the overall appreciation and ultimate significance of the creative industry in developing economies.

This year, the O2N Foundation had planned a one-month festival of activities promoting creative entrepreneurship as a viable alternative within the ongoing economic diversification strategy initiatives. With the onslaught of the pandemic, the foundation had to opt for an online presence as opposed to an on site presentation.

In a promotional press release, the chair of the foundation, Nicole Dyer Griffith, explained that in an effort to “pivot,” the non-profit organisation preferred not to abdicate its responsibility to the creative practitioners under its fold and sought to redefine its way-forward mandates.

The Creative Conversation, this year, spoke to the “economy in transition…towards a new horizon.”

It featured 12 influential game-changers who have coursed their life’s endeavours utilising novel, innovative strategies to confront their realities and forge viable life chance.

Moderated by Richard Young, the Conversation addressed, in the first half, circumventing the glass ceiling, biodiversity sustainable practice, crafting imaginative feasible enterprise, parlaying indigenous excellence to lucrative outcomes, connecting festival authenticity to commercial success and implementing new design thinking in uncharted territory, through biographical storytelling of Catherine Kumar, Akilah Jaramogi, Robert Young, Lorraine O’Connor, Derrick Lewis and Elena Dyer, respectively.

The methodology operationalised by Young coursed the approaches of these influential highly effective persons drawing reference from their overcoming hurdles to access portals, for observers, as to how their agendas can be beneficial to current crisis management in the face of the effects of the pandemic in a post-COVID reality.

The second chapter highlighted the work of Claudia Pegus, Josanne Leonard, Rene Holder, Dr Michele Reis, Nirad Tewarie and Dionne McNicol Stephenson who offered best business development plans, cultural advocacy appeals, digital iterative processes to challenge assumptions, diaspora foresighting and culminating with the State’s interests in the cultural industry leads for effective problem-solving in a redefined reality.

All in all, the event was greatly appreciated and deemed remarkably successful reaching approximately ten thousand people locally, regionally and in the diaspora. The affirmations posited by Dyer-Griffith climaxed the undertaking with a going-where-no-man-has-gone-before objective that left creatives fulfilled and seeking more thought-provoking discourse.