We were lucky enough to travel to Cascais, Portugal for the ECIS Lisbon conference in April 2019. The focus of the conference was ‘Exponential Learning’ and we presented a workshop titled ‘Reach for the Stars: An interdisciplinary approach to non-linear thinking’. In this we shared strategies to facilitate innovative, creative and critical thinking using our interdisciplinary unit between Design and Physics on courage and space exploration. We also demonstrated how to generate student focus and support learning outcomes by embedding real life ethical dilemmas (in this case whether humankind should either stay and save the Earth or leave it and search for a new home) in curriculum. Participants were challenged to use different ways of thinking to expand their ideas and make different connections.


Not having visited Lisbon before, we chose to spend a few days there post-conference. This also gave us time to work on the book face to face for a change. Highlights of our trip included a visit to the Botanical Gardens and Natural History Museum, to the Gulbenkian Museum as well as a visit to the Filigree Museum. Also a quick visit to reputably one of the world’s oldest bookstores, Bertrands founded in 1732. There were some steep slopes to climb as we explored the city and we also enjoyed fresh, local fruit as well as the famous custard tarts or Pasteis de Nata. Of course there was the requisite trip to a Fado Dinner.  We hadn’t realised that one of our days there was a holiday, so we missed out on Castelo de São Jorge as well as the Museu Nacional do Azulejo or National Tile Museum. Understated but with a rich and functional design aesthetic driving the city, Lisbon surprised us with innovation and creativity in unexpected corners and when we can, we would love to go back.