I need inspiration. I like to see other people doing well. I love it when I find people doing good things for others.
Over the past few years I’ve been to a lot of events in search of inspiration. I’ve written previously here about how I plan my year, signing up for different kinds of events so that every few months I have something to look forward to. Events that will take me away from the day job and where I know I’m going to learn new things and meet new people. These ‘enthusiasm injections’, as I call them, have become an important part of my life.
A while ago I wondered whether we’d be able to create our own inspirational event and I started talking to other people about the idea. At the time, I’d recently met Alice Elliott, Tom Whitley and Sam Ryley who all shared my desire for more interesting things to happen in Chester. So we set about developing plans for an annual event to encourage other people to do good things.
It was all a bit indeterminate to start with and we consequently struggled to come up with a name. But when Sam mentioned the word ‘murmurations’, we all said “that’s it”. It immediately conjured up the notion of a community of people taking flight, independent of one another, yet at the same time moving as one. Of course, it also contained the word ‘murmur’, as if to signal a groundswell of grassroots voices.
It turned out that we’d self-selected a really good team. All strong characters, all keen to work together and each with unique skills. Sam as a professional photographer has always looked after the technical side of things. Tom as a local veg grower is supremely well connected in the food and beverage world. Alice brings her deep understanding of sustainability and is also the queen of social media and marketing. And then me. Well, I’ve just been around long enough to know a few people.
It seems to work. And at the end of June, Murmurations 03 happened. Here’s a taster that Sam put together immediately after the event:
Having been involved in organising three Murmurations events now, I think there are a few important ingredients that help to make it work:
- It's local. Making the event relevant to the place in which it happens is key. This is what makes it special.
- It has an audience. There are enough local people wanting to make Chester a better place.
- It includes culture, business and community. We don’t differentiate. They’re all important and inter-linked.
- It's volunteer run. When there's no hint of commerciality, the community are willing supporters.
And there's no better form of motivation, than helping to inspire other people to do great things. Here's a small taste of this year's feedback:
"Everyone needs Murmurations for regular doses of inspiration and for becoming part of a local community of creative people"
"Loved the day, the ideas and the connections. Was such a great way to tap into Chester's creative community with a common purpose."
"So refreshing to be amongst such a positive, inspiring group of people."
"Brilliant event, more places should do this. It's true that if you want to live in a great place you have to contribute."