Creativity Is Contagious | Brands and Culture for the Common Good


Creativity Is Contagious, a blog published by Sally O’Dowd, focuses on innovation in business, media, technology and the arts. Following the January 2015 murders of 11 journalists at French weekly Charlie Hebdo, by two Al Queda terrorists, Sally wrote a series of posts entitled “Seven Songs for Charlie Hebdo.”

Wanting to further explore the universal right to free expression, Sally enlisted a transatlantic team to conceptualize, write and publish the multimedia e-zine Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World. It’s also available in print. Click here for your PDF copy.

Sally-Ann O'Dowd
Sally-Ann O'Dowd

Blogging and journalistic-style writing gave way to poetry upon the death of Sally’s mother on December 29, 2015.  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and other Tales of Love and Loss is a 20-part digital series exploring relationships, grief, personal struggle, and joy. A multimedia content producer, she accompanies each poem with artwork crowd-sourced via social channels, family and friends. Literati Magazine publishes many of her poems.

For more information and to support the #freespeech #creativityisrisky movement, please follow her on social media and read more of her work at

Creativity Is Risky: Salman Rushdie and Sally O'Dowd Get Acquainted

“Creativity Is Risky” features Rushdie prominently.

Jim Ylisela, a Chicago investigative journalist, author and my Northwestern journalism professor, wrote the e-zine’s epilogue. He kicked it off with a quote by Salman Rushdie — “Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.” 

Needless to say I was eager to show my e-zine to Rushdie after his recent talk at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City.  

Read more here

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Grilled Cheese Sandwiches & Other Tales of Love and Loss

World Refugee Day, A Prose Poem

Refugee This poem is dedicated to the 65.3 million people who are displaced by war and conflict. According to the UN Human Rights Commission, 1 in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee – a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent. In all, there are more […]

Juliet’s Resurrection, a poem using words invented by Shakespeare

Shakespeare invented some 2,000 words and still leaves an indelible mark on nearly all aspects of culture 451 years after his birth. Here is my first poem dedicated to his linguistic innovation.  Juliet’s Resurrection tells the story of resilience in the face of adversity, of finding one’s own path to truth. Juliet’s Resurrection If all the […]

Fire Escape

Sally O’Dowd is the author of the poetry collection Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Other Tales of Love and Loss. I sit out there sometimes despite the discomfort of the narrow, rod-iron steps. Wonder how all of us apartment dwellers could scramble through the cramped space if a fire broke out because someone didn’t turn off […]

Creativity is Contagious: Sally's Blog

Professor O’Dowd’s Quiz on Ancient African Storytelling

As a writing and media studies professor at Florida International University in Miami, I follow in the footsteps of my progressive professors at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Below is an assignment I gave during my Spring 2020 Global Media and Society class. (I divided my 100 students […]

Vicki Rosenthal’s Canvas Crusade for Voting Rights

Art lovers typically visit a gallery or museum to indulge their senses. But when it comes to Vicki Rosenthal, art comes to you. Rather, it walks with a conscience. Rosenthal, a social worker, has evolved as a creative storyteller and businesswoman. Once painting on stretched canvas, she now paints social justice messages on canvas shoes. […]

Fort Lauderdale Celebrates Free Speech

“Ripped from the Headlines: The Free Speech Forum” takes place June 28 in Fort Lauderdale.  RSVP here and read on for the latest on free speech issues and the stellar lineup of forum speakers. Trump is the so-called leader of the free world, but there is nothing free about it when it comes to journalists. […]

Brawling in MASS District: Come As You Art March 30

When I first wrote about artist and MASS District co-founder Stephanie Leyden, for the January issue of Lifestyle magazine, I called her the fairy godmother of the local art scene. Since then, I’ve learned she’s all that and a bag of chips. Or, should I say, a raucous time at Elbo Room on Friday nights. […]

Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week: Lis Castella and the Spanish Connection

This weekend we celebrate the 5th Annual Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week, and I am thrilled to be a member of the press corps. Lis Castella kicked off the first runway show, on March 14, at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach. Originally from Medellin, Colombia, she has studios in Hollywood and Deerfield. Engrossed in her elegant […]

Relaunching Creativity Is Contagious to Celebrate Fort Lauderdale

Good day, arts and culture lovers! As many of my followers know, I moved from NYC to Fort Lauderdale a year-and-a-half ago to explore my passions and heighten my sense of wellbeing. To swim more. Some people doubted I could find an arts scene to rival the Big Apple’s, and I set out to prove […]

More About Sally...

Sally-Ann O’Dowd, a multimedia content producer and communications executive, recently moved from New York to Fort Lauderdale so she could swim more. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and received her B.A. in political science and French literature from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. As part of her undergraduate study, she spent a semester at La Sorbonne in Paris and a summer at Georgetown.  For her professional portfolio, please visit