Dark Mofo – Inside The Hothouse

Our 3 roving OMD reporters Nic, Erin & Diya bring you the inside scoop on their Hothouse experience!

Nic_Murray_PicDay 1 – Nic Murray

As the sun rose across Bellerive, enlightening the freshly snow-capped peaks of Mount Wellington, a handful of OMD’ers from agencies around the country huddled around the wood-fired radiators of the Salamanca Hothouse.

Designed in collaboration with the students of UTAS and Sydney architecture firm Cave Urban, and with the support of Mona, Clemenger Hobart and OMD Australia, the Hothouse was constructed chiefly to facilitate the formation of ideas. Idea’s that in their essence would aid, possibly even transform the nature of the strained education system in our host state of Tasmania.

Despite the 3 degree chill and some ominous looking clouds above, the Hothouse’s central forum convivially filled with some of the nation’s preeminent thought-leaders.


After a wave of introductions and the laying out of some liberal, albeit important ground rules (e.g. ‘all views are valid’) the thinkers and supporting rovers from OMD and Clemenger took to sharing their apprehensions, experiences and aspirations around the education system in Tasmania.

The facilitator Tony Richardson masterfully juggled cohesion, enthusiasm and the occasional checked ego of the thinkers until they dispersed (in carefully selected mutual groups of four) to a cosily constructed pod to discuss the ideas they most passionately felt could affect positive change.

It was at this point that the Rovers huddled again, this time not as much for warmth, but in thoughtful collaboration, mulling over open-ended questions and implementation ideas we could put to each pod of thinkers to help tease out and crystalize their various ideas into tangible and hopefully actionable strategies for further development.

As the sun dipped below the harbour, taking the temperature along with it, the forum reformed once again around the central fires to share each pods final ideas and their reviews on the day’s success.

It was hard not to palpably sense the optimism, which had slowly built throughout the day, that the Hothouse’s proceedings would bear some practicable fruit, and I felt personally charged with the inspirational and challenging intelligence that both the thinkers and the rovers injected throughout the course of the day, of which no doubt would feed into the impending forum of day two. 


Erin WallisDay 2 – Erin Wallis

To get your head around the state of education in Tassie is one thing, and to recognise how and where things need to change for its state to improve is impressive.  But it was truly inspirational to see a group of young, bright Tasmanians working so passionately towards improving their education system.

The mix of current (and young) educators, and current or recently finished students proved to be an extremely optimistic, and forward-looking group.  They didn’t dwell on what they described as a dismal state of education, but rather put their efforts into how to make it better for the years to come.

Mindmap what the youth see as influencing trends on Edu Tas

For the OMD and Clemenger rovers on the day, their energy and optimism was contagious.  I walked away at the end of the day with an energised drive for my work and a reassured faith about the next generation who will be coming through to lead… but I was rest assured that our jobs are safe!  Bursting with ideas comes with its perils, and it was rewarding for me to be able to use my professional skills to help them distil the ideas into clear, single-minded and actionable plans.

I’m excited to see these ideas from this round progressed and hope that OMD will have involvement in the future rounds! 


Diya_Shahaney.fwDay 3 – Diya Shahaney

The third day of The Hothouse began with a somewhat restless energy. Unlike the first and second days where Tasmania’s brightest youths or Australia’s smartest business minds were chosen to step into the bamboo structure to tackle a brief, day 3’s participants were citizens of Tasmania who volunteered to be a part of the experience by entering a competition to earn their spot on the bill.

I walked into the captivating structure in the early hours of the morning feeling excited and to be honest, very nervous of what was to come.


Based on the fact that these ‘thinker’s’ as they were referred to, had volunteered to be a part of the experience, I knew that the topic of improving education in Tasmania would resonate with them personally. What made me nervous was whether or not they would each have their individual agenda or solution to improving the quality or system of education, which would result in clashes in their group.

As the day progressed and groups were formed, we began to see the collaboration within teams, as though a shared passion for a single cause brought them together to in-turn produce powerful responses.

It was inspiring to not only watch these groups at work, but to use my skillset as an OMD rover to assist these individuals in integrating their personal solutions and ideas to form a united response within groups.


The ideas generated from the Hothouse culminated in a community forum which was held on the 11th June as a continued part of the Dark Mofo festival. See below for ABC Radio National’s coverage of the forum in the program ‘Life Matters’ below:


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