A little more conversation at MIPIM – 7/3/2012

7 Mar

My name in lights at MIPIM

This was a small and perfectly formed little event, for about 30 people, held over breakfast at the MIPIM international property conference and exhibition in Cannes, France. It was a conversation with Mike Emmerich, the chief executive of new economy,  Manchester’s economic think tank.

Mike gets a lot of recognition for his long term thinking and planning for Manchester’s economy. He also has the trust and the ear of Sir Howard Bernstein, the city’s charismatic and powerful chief executive. But the work of his organisation is something of a black box. This event was intended to lift the lid on that box and understand some of the intellectual exertions the city is going through to cope with a changing world. My questions were intended as a more conversational intro for the work of new economy, but also to stimulate open questions – something that can be tricky at a breakfast especially after a late night (not me, the guests).

Mike Emmerich also shares my zeal for getting conversations going between unlikely participants, thus enabling Manchester as a city economy to develop an intellectual tradition that links academics, financiers, teachers, artists, economists and creative people. Hopefully, that can start to fashion a unique place in the modern world – an original and modern way of thinking, for example.

Peter Saville, me and Mike Emmerich in the Manchester cafe

We were lucky therefore to have Peter Saville in the audience – he wasted no time in cajoling Mike and asking hard questions about the traditions of Manchester and how they can be built upon. The even better news was we carried on the conversation later into the morning in the Manchester cafe round the corner in Cannes.

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