Robert Poynton
A cartoony hand-drawn portrait of Robert Poynton

Creative Tapas

Painted tiles on a colorful, painted table
A domino with a fun illustration on it

A powerful, playful exploration of creativity and leadership

The ‘Creative Tapas Experience’ is an exploration of creative collaboration and leadership, where a group of people who never met before, come together and create whatever they like in the course of a day.

As well as the joy of making stuff and the energy that this playful way of making releases, the process is incredibly rich in learning about what it takes to create the conditions for people to be able to make things easily and about how each of us respond to the opportunities that it offers you.

You need no expertise, there are no assigned teams, no competition, and there is no obligation to make anything at all. There is just the chance to play around with all sorts of materials and see what emerges, which is maybe why it works so well for children and families. You can do more than one thing, or nothing at all. It’s perfectly fine to just sit in the sun and watch.

In the evening, we visit all the creations, one after another, ‘tapas’ style. The quantity and variety is mind blowing. Somehow, in the space of a day, people find themselves making extraordinary things.

One of the creations at the 2016 event was a film about the event itself (below), which gives you a good sense of what it feels like.

History of the creative tapas experience

The first Creative Tapas was held in May 2012 at La Lobera just outside Arenas. Four years later, we held the second one at Dehesa de la Serna.

They were both powerful and amazing. At 10pm on the Saturday night, barely 24 hours after the event began we experienced an amazing array of creations, including – a soundscape at the bottom of an empty swimming pool, a variety of films (including a stop frame animation), performance art, a football tournament, human sculpture, a wish granting totem pole fashioned out of old tyres, a puppet show summarising the whole weekend and more.
They were both great – and different. The memories will be lifelong – but we also learned a huge amount.

Some of the things that struck me were:

  • How many different styles there are to collaborate, not just working in a group
  • How creative it can be to start before you are ready
  • How much we can do, how quickly, if we let ourselves and create the right conditions
  • How time expands when you are deeply engaged in something
    the power of constraint

In 2024 I am keen to explore the possibilities this event holds with different groups and in different places.

That already started in January when my friend and collaborator David Keating ran a Creative Tapas Day as part of Radical Creativity Week for 34 National Film School film and TV students in Dublin. This is a method that can work really powerful for corporate groups, schools or families. So if you have a question or think you might have an idea for a place to play with The Creative Tapas, get in touch. Just email me here.


Creative Tapas