IMC interactive workshop emphasizes music and creativity

Three years ago, John Claxton, Draftfcb executive vice president and group creative director, began working with Jeff Boyle, a composer and owner of Chicago’s Catfish Music, on a new form of writing workshop. Their collaboration, with the help of a team of musicians, grew into Clark Street Bridge, and on Feb. 6 it was presented to more than 100 Medill students, faculty and staff.

“Clark Street Bridge: The Art and Science of Strategic Analytics” is an interactive workshop described by Claxton as part entertainment and part education. The program aims to help individuals write better through a non-traditional workshop that emphasizes music and creativity. 

Integrated marketing communications can be a blend of creativity and science, and Tori Oman, a second-quarter IMC student and co-chair of the IMC Branding Committee, described Clark Street Bridge as “the epitome” of that fusion.

When it first began, Clark Street Bridge was presented as a writing workshop specifically for employees at Draftfcb, one of the world’s largest advertising agency networks. According to Claxton, it developed over time, making it “more of a performance than a workshop,” but where attendees still have the chance to participate themselves. 

This was the second time Medill hosted the collaboration. Clark Street Bridge was first presented at Medill in October 2012 as part of TalentQ. That was the first time the workshop was shared with students, as well as the first time it was presented to individuals outside of Draftfcb.

“I’m not sure there is a limitation to the audience,” Claxton said, reflecting on the fact that the team previously worried about translating the material to a younger, student-based audience. “I would love to see who we can inspire for two hours.”

What made the event particularly unique the second time around was that it was followed by a networking event in the McCormick Tribune Center lobby. The networking event brought together members of the Medill community and the Draftfcb strategic analytics team, providing a unique opportunity for professionals and students to interact.