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Meet Preshil Alumni, Cameron Lee (Class of 1993 and Former Teacher)

You might catch him around the city in his guise as an innovator and entrepreneur extraordinaire, or perhaps in the streets of Kew with his Green Hat Workshop.

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Cam tells us a bit about what he’s been doing. To hear about his story and find out more about his work, keep reading…

“After leaving Preshil I spent some months working as an emergency teacher in local schools around my area. I enjoyed this tremendously but always resisted invitations to join the staff. Instead, I wanted to try something different, something a little more entrepreneurial.

I began to look at what I liked to do and came up with a loosely connected range of interests, particularly technology, art and science education – Green Hat Workshop was born. Deriving its name from DeBono’s creative Thinking Hat, I began to use Green Hat Workshop as a vehicle to run creative holiday programs and workshops of all types, including the design and creation of Prospero’s ghouls for Xavier and Loreto’s recent production of The Tempest. I began to focus more and more on building planks. These are a little known but very clever type of building block that are identical. They stack, stand on end and are long enough to counter balance, so that the builder can make almost anything they can imagine.

I came across this amazing idea through a Preshil parent while working in the 10s and 11s. The group had pulled out some parquetry planks from the woodwork area and had been stacking them into massive towers. With the introduction of a few technology challenges from me the activity had evolved into a major theme in the room. During this time I recognised how the group were not only learning a range of concepts to do with balance, forces, movement and design but were also engaged in some of the most intense interpersonal and group development I have seen. We had a great time. It’s a process I have been able to replicate now with many groups and take into many different schools.

Since this first plank building experience I have created a fully operational factory churning out ‘PLANKS by Green Hat Workshop’ for toy shops, pop-up markets, gallery shops, online stores, educational catalogues and friends all around Australia. I have a collection of 20,000 PLANKS that is used to run regular workshops for charity and community development camps, in our gradually developing kinder and schools program and also for our own events in halls around Melbourne.”

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