When Adil Dhalla and Adam Ben-Aron think about the future, they envision a world that heralds the creativity they believe will end this recession. Inspired by a grassroots, bottom-up mentality, both men are tired of hearing about what the government can do to save people from the crisis and about how quickly the economy is deteriorating. “We’re constantly hearing about banks and layoffs; there’s a sense that the recession is taking a toll on us,” Dhalla said. “I like the idea of turning it around [and saying], ‘Look, we can kill it.'”
To ignite a new wave of creativity and to bolster what already exists, Dhalla and Ben-Aron have started an online community called Creativity Killed the Recession. They’ve also set up a weekly meeting time for creative strangers to come together and chat. Described as “networking meets support group meets think tank,” the first of these gatherings took place last night at Ein-Stein Café & Pub on College Street. Heading into the night, Dhalla was unsure of what to expect, telling himself that “it may just be good conversation with people who have a similar passion”; by the end of the night, though, it was clear that this intelligent cross-talk was what everyone wanted. Focusing on the night’s overarching theme of “Ontario in the Creative Age,” the conversation effortlessly drifted into topics such as the societal opportunities that lie ahead for today’s twenty-somethings.
Building on the foundation that they established last night, Dhalla and Ben-Aron will host Monday-night meetings from 6-8 p.m. on a weekly basis. But even though they’ve arranged these gatherings, neither of them wants to lead any future conversations or to preach to those who show up—in their minds, they’re just the guys who set a meeting time and found a meeting place. “I would not call myself a creative person any more than anyone else,” Dhalla said. “I honestly think that everyone has moments of creativity. The difference is the people who act upon it.”
Although each week’s meeting will centre on a different topic, anyone with a creative mindset is encouraged to attend—the chosen subjects will merely serve as talking points to help start a conversation with a stranger. An artist looking to put his or her work online may stumble into a chat with a web developer who can help him or her do so, and they may not discuss the points of interest whatsoever. As for those who can’t make the meetings, the Creativity Killed the Recession website is already up and running, and users are strongly encouraged to contribute to the message boards because Dhalla and Ben-Aron want Toronto’s creative individuals to take the site wherever they feel it should go. If it just so happens that you’re someone who would like to be a part of this evolutionary journey, remember to ask yourself one question before you get involved: are you a killer?
Images courtesy of CreativityKilledtheRecession.com