245 Days till Mindcamp!

Thursday to Sunday August 20-23, 2015
Orillia, ON, Canada

Stuff you ask

"Is there an ATM?"
No. The nearest ATM is at Casino Rama, a 10-minute drive away. However we do accept US cash at par.

Welcome to Mindcamp

First time here? Mindcamp is an annual creativity conference. If you feel like you’re missing something, check out What is Mindcamp? to find out what the heck this is all about.

Come here often? Add your email to “Read the Blog” (look in the right sidebar) to get an email every time we add a new blog entry, or Like us on Facebook to get updates in your feed.

Kevin’s Christmas Crossword!

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 8.16.55 AMKevin Byron has some cross words for us… his annual Christmas Crossword in fact. He’s a master puzzler (on so many levels) and each year he sends us Mindcampers a poser to puzzle about.

Here’s this year’s KBCC, already tested and approved by the Mindcamp Puzzle Fairies. See how you do on it, and let us know if you succeed in unravelling its mysteries! (But please, no spoilers in the comments!)

Click here to download Kevin Byron’s 2014 Christmas Crossword: A Christmas Carol.

Alan’s Back!

We are very, very, VERY happy to announce that Dr. Robert Alan Black was released on Tuesday and is already back home in Athens, Georgia. Here is a quote from his friends:

Alan was released from Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi this Tuesday, November 17, where he had been held since October 21, after being detained for taking pictures of restricted areas. The court found his action was committed with no ill-intent, and ordered the minimum fine of AED 500 (about $135). Alan is now safely home, recovering from his ordeal.

All our thanks to the extended community for your support. These efforts brought about the safe return of Alan and he will forever be grateful.

Welcome home, Alan! And thank you Mindcampers for your energy and support.

Black Facts

Dr. Robert Alan BlackThe FAB (Friends of Alan Black) have put together a detailed factsheet about Alan Black’s detainment than contains answers to many of the questions that may be on your mind. Here are the highlights:

2. Why is he detained?
He was detained for taking pictures in a restricted area of Abu Dhabi on the day after a conference, October 21. He has been detained by authorities at the Al Wathba prison since that time. The UAE has laws regarding photography of buildings such as foreign embassies, consulates, and military or state buildings. It is one of many countries who prohibits photography of secure areas.

Alan is in contact with his family and reports that he is being treated fairly.

6. Is his health a concern?
Yes. Alan is 70 and has Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. He is under medication for these conditions.

7. Does he have family?
Yes, he has a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren. His daughter and son are actively working for his release, supported by Alan’s friends.

8. Does he have a lawyer?
Yes, a lawyer with a firm based in Abu Dhabi has been hired. This lawyer is making an assessment of the situation and will know more soon.

9. Has he been charged with a crime?
As of this writing, Alan has not yet been charged with a crime.

11. What you can do to help

  • Sign the petition that asks the US Department of State to use diplomacy for his release

  • Contribute funds for his legal defence (November 20 UPDATE: Now that he is free, the fund is retired)
  • Follow the Facebook page
  • Follow the hashtag #FreeAlanBlack on Twitter.
  • Write letters (not email: letters are far more effective) to your congressional representative or senator.

Dr. Robert Alan Black’s Detainment

4-alan-camera-bw-5-inchAs many of you know, Mindcamper and beloved creativity pioneer Dr. Robert Alan Black has been detained in Abu Dhabi. An international group of colleagues and friends are working with Alan’s family to resolve the situation so that he can be released and come home.

You can help right now by signing a petition to the US State Department to help secure his release. [November 20 update: the petition has been retired, now that he is free] When you sign, please bear in mind that he is still a guest of the state of Abu Dhabi, so if you choose to make comments please focus on Alan’s importance and how much he is missed by his friends and colleagues.

You can also help by sharing this post.

The group have put together a Press Release giving details of the situation as we know it now. We’ve printed it below.

Meanwhile, watch this space for more information on ways you can help him. He will need legal help on the ground in Abu Dhabi, which is being sought for him right now; this will cost money so expect some fundraising efforts to come your way. Please begin to think about whether and how much you can offer.


Press Release – For Immediate Release 10/31/14
Contact: Rosemary Rein
Phone number: USA: 239-910-3354
Email: rosemaryrein@rosemaryrein.com

Thursday October 30, 2014 – Athens, Georgia. Dr. Robert Alan Black, an Athens resident, is being held in Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. His family does not know if he’s been charged with a crime, or, if there’s been a date set for a hearing. Dr. Black currently does not have access to a phone.

After speaking at a creativity conference in Abu Dhabi — as a volunteer — he took a walk alone to view local sites. This was sometime the morning of October 21. Dr. Black had not checked out of his room at his hotel. Alan, as he is known to his friends and family, walked out with his camera in hand. It’s not known exactly what happened, but sources in Abu Dhabi say that he was detained by the authorities because he took pictures in a restricted area.

His detainment was not known until Dr. Black failed to show up at a conference he was scheduled to speak at in Malaysia. On October 27th his colleagues in the creativity and innovation community alerted his family of his absence and the search began. It was eventually discovered Dr. Black was being held by the authorities in Abu Dhabi. The United States Embassy in the U.A.E. has been alerted by Dr. Black’s family, and the Embassy has taken preliminary steps to advocate for Dr. Black.

Upon discovery of the situation on October 30th, members of the creativity community launched a web-based petition, asking the Department of State of the USA, American Citizen Services Unit, to use every tool of diplomacy to secure the release of Dr. Black.

As of 10:00 PM EST October 30, the petition had reached over 1,000 signatures. [Note: as of Nov 1 it has more than 1,500 signatures.]

Dr. Black is a well-known, much-loved, and highly respected figure in the creativity community. Known as “Wandering Alan” because of his extensive world travels, his gentle and humorous teaching style underscores his sensitivity and creative genius. He’s been a featured speaker at many universities and conferences around the globe and has been a professional consultant in creativity and innovation since the early 1980’s.

His clients include multi-national companies like Kimberley-Clark, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestle. He’s been a professor at the University of Georgia, and also lectured at Drexel University. Indeed, Dr. Black has dedicated his life to bring the power of creativity to many around the globe. A citizen of the world, he’s worked with disadvantaged youth in South Africa, and volunteered his time at many conferences around the world. Including conferences in Italy, Canada, Turkey, the UK, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia. At the time of his detainment, he was in Abu Dhabi donating his time teaching creative problem solving at the second annual Creative Thinkers Conference. The Creative Thinkers Conference was attended by government and public sector officials of the U.A.E. as well as educators and non-profit organizational leaders from many Arab Gulf countries.

Broken Crayons is a book he wrote and illustrated which has been translated into Turkish, Japanese, and Slovakian. He’s published cartoons, done illustrations, and written articles for numerous publications. A former architect, and an avid photographer, he’s taken pictures of landscapes, buildings, and people around the world. He’s highly qualified, with a BS in Architecture, and three Masters degrees in Visual Communication, Interior Architecture, and Guidance/Counseling. His doctorate is in educational psychology where he was a student of Dr. Paul Torrance. Dr. Black is also a Certified Speaking Professional, the highest designation given by the National Speakers Association in the USA.

Dr. Black’s website shows the extent of his work and travels: www.cre8ng.com/

Alan is a widowed father of two who lives in Athens, Georgia. He spends the majority of his time traveling the globe volunteering — speaking, teaching, and consulting. He’s 70 years old, and a diabetic, with high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. His daughter, Jessica Beasley of Sawanee, GA and his son Scott Black of Boyton Beach, FL are both gravely concerned for his health and well-being.

His family, his colleagues, and his students around the world believe that:

  1. Alan has spent his life in the service of others.
  2. He has always demonstrated the highest respect and appreciation for the diverse cultures of the world, and the laws of nations.
  3. If there was any transgression we believe it was unintentional.

It is hoped by his family and the creativity community that the US Embassy in the U.A.E. will make every possible effort to insure his health and safety, and will work to secure his release at the earliest possible date.

New Zealand Creativity Challenge: call for presenters

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 3.23.28 AMHeads up Mindcampers! If you’d like to visit stunningly beautiful New Zealand in April, plus connect with a wonderful creativity community there, download the NZ Creativity Challenge Call for Presenters now!

It’s a call for presenters for the NZ Creativity Challenge, Aril 17-19, 2015. Organized by veteran Mindcamper and inspirational garbage salvager Wayne Morris and hosted by NZ’s Learning Connexion, it’s worth the journey on a whole lot of levels.

And if you’d simply like to go, stay tuned here as we will pass along links to the conference website once it becomes live in a few weeks.