This week’s guest on The Melting Pot is Dean and founder of School of Communication Arts 2.0 (SCA), Marc Lewis. The SCA is currently the world’s most eminent portfolio school as well as being a social enterprise, it is also about to become a charity. The school takes 36 students each year through a 12-month journey in Marc’s studio, with about six months of placements.
One in three of these students receive a scholarship, some receive bursaries, others self-fund. The school has a network of about 1000 teacher/mentors who help write the curriculum and deliver the learning experience. In Marc’s own words, “the SCA 2.0 is kind of an apprenticeship model meets a university model meets a bit of a circus, a bit of a fun fair.”
From earning $200,000 per month from sex lines, to creating Whore magazine, to founding South Africa’s first comedy club, to claiming the first video banner ads, which he sold to WPP for just under £20m, today’s guest Marc Lewis has not had a conventional career history.
On today’s podcast:
- Why it’s called SCA 2.0 and what happened to 1.0
- How he managed to buy his first Ferrari at age 21 off the back of sex
- Why Marc attributes his success to sheer dumb luck, not genius
- What he learned from his time running his dot.com businesses
- His firm belief in the practice of gratitude
- Why learning should be action in rehearsal
- The problem with traditional pedagogical teaching
- Why drugs dampen creativity
Today’s guest is a breath of fresh air, someone who attributes his incredible success in life to sheer dumb luck, and not his genius. From earning $200,000 per month from sex lines, to creating Whore magazine, to founding South Africa’s first comedy club, to claiming the first video banner ads, which he sold to WPP for just under £20m, Marc Lewis has not had a conventional career history.
As the Dean and founder of School of Communication Arts 2.0 (SCA 2.0), Marc has created the world’s most eminent portfolio school taking 36 students each year through a 12-month journey in Marc’s studio, with about six months of placements.
In Marc’s own words, “the SCA 2.0 is kind of an apprenticeship model meets a university model meets a bit of a circus, a bit of a fun fair.”
Marc is unconventional in every sense of the word, and whilst he has been wildly successful throughout his rich and varied career, he has learned a few pearls along the way that he’s shared with us.
Creativity in Diversity
SCA 2.0 is widening participation, promoting diversity and improving the excellence of education, and this is because Marc believes creativity comes from diversity.
Marc has a fundamental belief that Britain, as a PLC, is stronger when it plays the creativity cards. Our country has a proud history of being a very creative community culture nation, but that creative education dropped away after the demolition of polytechnics in the 1980s.
Apprenticeships have always been the best way to learn and creativity is not something that is generally encouraged in university, where their main question is “how”. The best place to learn creativity is in places that let you ask “why”.
Marc’s one regret is that he wishes he gave up drugs sooner. “I smoked a lot of dope. And I stood by this belief that smoking weed contributes towards creativity. And it’s bullshit.”
As far as Marc is concerned, creativity is about going out into the world and asking the right questions and being prepared to fail. You don’t need to buy into the myth that you need to have a joint in your mouth to be creative—that just isn’t how it works.
How Full is your Cup
Marc is one of those people who sees the positives in all experiences. He says take the basic sentence “opportunity is now here”—you can either read the sentence as “opportunity is nowhere”, or you can read, “opportunity is now here”. He reads the latter.
Life is an optical illusion; you can decide how you want to see the world of opportunities that are available to you. In fact, Marc believes that people who are lucky are also the most resilient, because they don’t go around blaming the world when things go wrong, they just shrug their shoulders, accept it and get on with it.
Marc hasn’t always been successful—he’s had his share of disappointment, too, but he’s learned to cope through gratitude.
The Peace in Gratitude
Marc has a firm belief in the practice of gratitude. He believes in the cognitive benefits and the health benefits that practising gratitude has. So much so he expects his students to keep a gratitude journal throughout their time at school. “The practice of gratitude is linked to having a healthy outlook on life. And having a healthy outlook on life will lead us to an ‘opportunity is now here’ approach”.