Reaching for the Skies for a Journey to Where Art Meets Business

Published: 15 February 2010 at 10:13

Innovative approaches to enterprise and innovation set out to create a new generation of entrepreneurs

A new level of blue-sky thinking, based on the awe-inspiring journeys of an internationally acclaimed artist, is being put forward as a model for proactive working for businesses and people with new ideas for enterprise from the East of England. 

This new and highly creative project involves academics from Anglia Ruskin University’s Ashcroft International Business School; artist, entrepreneur and adventurer Chris Dobrowolski; and Menagerie, a leading theatre company that specialises in training and corporate support services. Business owners and managers are invited to join an open workshop which has already been delivered to organisations as diverse as the BBC, Liverpool Football Club, the McLaren Formula One Racing Team, Fairtrade and Virgin.

The objective of the Reach for the Skies workshop and exhibition is to encourage local businesses and people to adopt a new ‘culture’ of enterprise, involving art and creativity, risk-taking and innovation.

Chris Dobrowolski, who is best-known for his large-scale artistic inventions which have been shown across Europe in Berlin, Amsterdam and London, will share his experiences of his journey from art school to major art exhibitions; and finally to the Antarctic as the ‘Official Artist in Residence’ of The British Antarctic Survey. 

While talking about his journeys, made in various vehicles that he made himself, he will give in-depth insights into the dynamics of enterprise and innovation in a variety of contexts, from education and start-ups to the inherent culture and personality of corporations. He challenges how we view success and failure, innovation and personal development, as well as offering ideas on goal-setting, motivation, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

The workshop will run from 2.00pm – 4.00pm on Thursday 25 March and be staged at Anglia Ruskin University’s Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge where his Skyscape Escape aeroplane built from tea chests, newspaper and a car engine and flown by Chris will be on display.

His adventures have become a series of rites of passage, and the beginning of countless workshops he has hosted all over the world.  The most famous of his ‘escape’ attempts is captured in his aeroplane exhibit.  For this workshop, Chris will be joined by Theatre Director and business training facilitator Paul Bourne from Menagerie, as well as guest entrepreneurs and members of the Ashcroft International Business School.

Explaining the thinking behind the collaborative arts-meets-business project, Lester-Lloyd Reason from Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“Chris Dobrowolski is a driven man whose incredible journeys, in the boats, cars, sledges and planes he has made himself, have taken him to far flung parts of the world on journeys of discovery.  His thoughts, and those of world-class arts based training expert Paul Bourne, help to teach both individuals and business-thinkers the art of creating success by using hidden talents.  Clearly, we are encouraging decision makers to be original, to think way beyond the obvious, in order to achieve a variety of goals.”

“Anglia Ruskin University has linked up with Chris and the Menagerie team to help unleash potential through extraordinary and inventive workshops, and programmes.  The Reach for the Skies project is designed to help entrepreneurs and those who want to start their own enterprise, to create the next chapter in their business or wider personal life.”

The Reach for the Skies public workshop featuring Chris Dobrowolski is available to all from 2.00pm-4.00pm on Thursday 25 March. To book a place on the workshop, please email  The Skyscape/Escape Exhibition is free and open to the public from Tuesday 16 March – Thursday 25 March.  Opening times for the exhibition are 9.00am–5.00pm Monday to Friday except on 17 and 24 March when it is open from   9.00am-1.00pm.