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The motivation to hold the event came from a “sharing of knowledge we grew up with,” explain David and Clare. Born into a hardworking coal mining community in the Welsh valleys, they found themselves enthused by the provision of libraries for miners, which got them wondering whether a company could exist “in order to make people think”. After starting out in advertising they left London and moved back to Wales where they set up organic clothing company howies. Howies’ success provided the funding for the first DO Lectures, but the two projects have been kept largely separate. David stepped away from howies in 2009 to focus full time on DO. Clare still manages howies as well as working on the DO Lectures, and somehow they both find the time to raise two kids and a flock of chickens. “We’d always been in love with the idea behind the DO Lectures, but there comes a time when you have to actually go do the things you say you want to do,” they explain. And so, with some inspiration from the clothing company Patagonia, the DO Lectures emerged from the Little Big Voice Lectures, which David describes as a “boot camp of talks” that was held at Fforest Farm campsite in 2007. There is nothing else out there quite like it. “Other lecture events are like a Polo mint,” David explains. “You go along, present a lecture or listen and then leave, but there is a gap left in the middle where speakers and the audience don’t have the chance to converse. We like to think that at the DO Lectures that hole is filled.” Nestled in the stunning landscape of Cardigan, West Wales, Fforest Farm is an idyllic location where “speakers and their audience spend four days and four nights talking and listening together, eating together, drinking together, jumping into the river together and sitting round a campfire sharing stories and philosophies together,” David and Clare explain. What’s more, everything is conducted with an emphasis on low environmental impact. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? But that magic is not something that’s easy to create. “There are always barriers to entry,” explains David. “Like anything, the biggest obstacle is starting. Most businesses fail because of one reason: they don’t start. I’m sure everybody laughed at Honda when they first entered the TT race and failed. But


then one day they won. You’ve always got barriers. Maybe that’s what the talks are about – giving people the tools they need to help break down their own barriers so they can change the things they care about.” Of course, like so many things, it often comes down to money, and at £1000 a ticket, the DO Lectures are not cheap to fund or attend, especially during an economic downturn. But it only sounds steep until you realise what you’re getting for the money. As David and Clare put it: “Imagine cramming all the most inspiring lectures you had during four years of university into four days. Every penny you pay for your ticket is spent on getting the speakers to you and supplying great accommodation, all food and drink, live music and workshops. No one gets paid,” they add, including themselves. And if you’re still not convinced, just ask the sceptics that have attended in the past only to proclaim that it was the best weekend they’ve ever had. The third set of DO Lectures sounds as inspirational as ever, with speakers including Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the Internet, and Craig Mod, who will talk about the future of the book in the iPad era. Their presentations will be listened to, questioned, talked about and mulled over from September 16-19, 2010. All lectures are made available to view and download online after the event. Not resting on their laurels, David and Clare are about to start the DO publishing company, which will produce inspirational guides from Do Solar to Do Chickens. Additional, twice yearly lectures are on their to do list, as is taking the DO Lectures international. They’ve already been putting on Wee DO Lectures in London and Bristol over the past 12 months, but what really excites them is the thought of a DO Lectures New York or a DO Lectures India. Coming back to the more immediate future, David explains that “our job for this year is just to try and make the DO Lectures as good as they can be and hope one year – and it hasn’t happened yet – that there’s actually sunshine. But regardless of the weather, it’s a brilliant thing. We just have to hope we keep it brilliant.” ruth CarruthErS



The Dream Factory  
The Dream Factory  

The Dream Factory