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The best events at Vivid Ideas

See our critic's picks for winter's talks and ideas program

Photograph: Jonathan Furlong

The brainy sibling in the Vivid Sydney family, Vivid Ideas, includes more than 200 events over 23 days ranging from the Game-Changers Talk Series to creative conferences, markets and idea exchange sessions. Whether you’re interested in professional development, or the personal stories behind creative success, take a look at our highlights of the wide-reaching program. Fifteen reasons to get excited for Vivid Sydney. Start planning where you'll get dinner in Circular Quay.

Vivid Ideas highlights

1

Semi-Permanent

It’s the 15th year of the global design festival that brings together creative thinkers from major brands like Google, Netflix, Pixar and Amazon, as well as keynote speakers like local architects and designers who are killing it in their respective fields. This year’s theme is ‘Design for Change’, looking at the impact design can have on the way we live in the future from artificial intelligence to urban design. The three-day festival at Carriageworks kicks off with a talk by Katherine Keating, publisher at VICE Impact, followed by a panel talk called Future State that’ll have speakers from leading brands like Netflix. 

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Carriageworks , Eveleigh Until Saturday May 27 2017
2

Crafternoon: Fibre, Nature, Paper

Crafternoon is here to get you out of your shell. Co-hosted by craftlovers Ria (of Craftsposure) and Kylie (of We Heart the Arts), Crafternoon will give you the techniques to find inspiration in everyday materials, rom scrap paper to leftover fabric, dried flowers and sticks. Attendees will make wall hangings, weaves, greeting cards, artworks and succulent holders using a combination of mediums. It’s an open craft session, so you’re welcome to make one thing or many, and take it home in a goodie bag. 

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Vibewire Enterprise Hub , Ultimo Sunday June 11 2017
3

It’s Time. Or Is It? The Road to Constitutional Recognition

Recommended

Triple J journalist Brooke Boney is leading a Vivid Ideas panel discussion during Reconciliation Week that discusses the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum in which 90 per cent of Australian voters said ‘yes’ to change the Constitution to give the Federal Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to ensure Indigenous people were counted equally in the population count. Fifty years on, Recognise campaign director Mark Yettica-Paulson, Fighting In Solidarity Towards Treaties (FISTT) representative Lynda-June Coe and hip hop artist Ziggy will talk about what we’ve achieved as a nation and what lies ahead.

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Giant Dwarf , Redfern Tuesday May 30 2017
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4

Game-Changer: Shepard Fairey

Recommended

US artist Shepard Fairey is the man behind the Barack Obama HOPE posters, the ‘We The People’ initiative and the OBEY GIANT art project. He was the first Game Changer announced for this year’s Vivid Ideas festival and while he’s in Sydney he’ll be working on a huge public mural at 309 George Street (June 12-17). Shepard is coming back to Australia for the first time in 14 years and his talk at Sydney Town Hall will cover his tendency to blurs the boundaries of art and design. Shepard will share his processes, as well as talk about the 70-plus large-scale public murals he’s created around the world. 

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Darling Quarter , Haymarket Friday May 26 2017 - Saturday June 17 2017
5

This is the Future of Fashion

Last year Vivid Sydney presented a sold-out panel about the problems facing the fashion industry, touching on topics like sustainability, ethics and consumer habits. This year Vivid is looking ahead. This is the Future of Fashion is a panel discussion on the technological innovations that are poised to create a better future for fashion, garment workers and the environment. The panel will be moderated by Well Made Clothes, a powerhouse online store marking a path for ethical fashion in Australia and abroad. 

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Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) , The Rocks Saturday May 27 2017
6

Emerging Filmmakers’ Conference

Recommended

Freshflix have run short film festivals in Sydney in breweries, cafés and creative spaces. They’re now preparing for a two-day Emerging Filmmakers’ Conference as part of Vivid Ideas, which will include a Freshflix Short Film Festival on the Sunday night, as well as workshops, talks and industry speed dating for young-gun filmmakers.

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Giant Dwarf , Redfern Saturday June 3 2017 - Sunday June 4 2017
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7

Oliver Stone in Conversation with Margaret Pomeranz

Prolific writer and director Oliver Stone will be speaking at Vivid Ideas in an exciting talk moderated by At the Movies critic Margaret Pomeranz. Stone is a lauded writer and director known for cinematic hits Scarface, Wall Street, Natural Born Killers, JFK and Snowden. Stone will provide a rare, behind the scenes look into his creative mind, detailing how his works have come to define certain figures from our political and cultural history, from Richard Nixon and JFK to Edward Snowden and Jim Morrison.

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City Recital Hall , Sydney Sunday May 28 2017
8

Jonah Peretti

Media visionary Jonah Peretti will share his thoughts on the evolution of the media industry at this year’s Vivid Sydney festival. Peretti has spent his career as a trailblazer for new media. He is the founder and CEO of Buzzfeed and also co-founded the Huffington Post alongside Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer. Peretti will share insights into the digital age of media consumption, specifically how audiences seek, share and engage with content.

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City Recital Hall , Sydney Sunday May 28 2017
9

CURVY: Creative Women's Conference

At its core, the annual CURVY conference is a platform for creative women to connect, learn and share with each other. Each year CURVY presents a series of talks, workshops, awards, exhibitions, launches and events, as well as a presentation of the latest CURVY book and magazine. Guests will gain practical advice and tools to take with them on their career, meeting and interacting with other women and finding new mentors to share knowledge, experience and talent with. 

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The Old Clare Hotel , Chippendale Thursday June 1 2017 - Sunday June 4 2017
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10

Emotional Intelligence from the Dark Side

Kyra Maya Phillips is interested in stories of creativity, innovation, salesmanship and entrepreneurship from the not-so-shiny parts of the globe. Alongside co-author Alexa Clay, Phillips released the Misfit Economy in 2015, a book that chronicles the dark side of creativity and ingenuity. It was a culmination of four years of interviews with people from informal and dark markets around the globe – from gangsters to hackers, camel milk farmers to pirates – who shared insight into how they live, work and live with how they work. 

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Dendy Opera Quays , Circular Quay Wednesday May 31 2017
11

New Beginnings Fair

Whether you’ve got a killer business idea or are looking to expand on an already successful idea, this one-day mixer is a chance to learn from Australia’s most successful start-ups, participate in creative workshops to help build your business and mingle and connect with like-minded individuals. The panel will feature Victoria Beattie of lifestyle brand the Beach People, Candice Rose-O’Rourke from clothing and swimwear label Zulu and Zephyr, as well as entrepreneur Alex McBride, founder and director at the 5th. 

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Overseas Passenger Terminal , The Rocks Friday June 2 2017
12

Evolving a Tasty Niche: the Love and Struggle in Creative Food Careers

At this year’s Vivid Ideas, you can hear from a panel of creative individuals who’ve carved out a particular niche within the food and beverage market. Automata chef Clayton Wells will join artist Danling Xiao from Mundane Matters, Instagram cake queen Katherine Sabbath, photographer Nikki To, Time Out Sydney editor Emma Joyce (yep, us) and digital content specialist Cam Mackellar to talk about how they developed a creative food career in the digital age.

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Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) , The Rocks Sunday June 11 2017
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13

Kings Bloody Cross: Tales from the Criminale and Glitterati

In 12 scintillating sessions, learn the sordid history of Kings Cross from some of its most famous and highly regarded luminaries. Sydney-dwelling artists, idealists and opportunists will share stories about ‘ungentrified’ Sydney – of heady days of free love, rock ’n’ roll, corruption, opportunity, sex and politics during the 20th century. 

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The World Bar , Potts Point Saturday May 27 2017 - Sunday June 11 2017
14

Robowars

Robots big and small – built by hand from metal, power tools and toy parts – battle it out in one-day fight to the death. Huge crowds gather to see which bot has the most mettle over four sessions (2-3.30pm; 4-5.30pm; 6.30-8pm and 8.30-10pm).  This year there'll be more robots, more battles and more carnage. Book an earlier session to see the robot’s debut their shiny armour or book a later session to catch the robots in their final hours.

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Overseas Passenger Terminal , The Rocks Sunday June 11 2017
15

Clipped Music Video Festival

Clipped is dedicated to promoting and celebrating the best music videos from both Australia and New Zealand. Acclaimed music video director Warren Fu is set to headline this year’s event, appearing as the event’s first international guest speaker. Fu is known for his work with the likes of Daft Punk (‘Get Lucky’), the Strokes (‘Under Cover of Darkness’), the Weeknd (‘I Feel it Coming’) and Haim (‘If I Could Change Your Mind’), and previously worked as an art director at LucasFilm creating characters and designs for Star Wars.

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Sun Studios , Alexandria Saturday June 3 2017
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16

Human & Machine: The Next Great Creative Partnership

Ross Goodwin – a Google-sponsored artist, hacker and former White House ghostwriter – is a leading thinker in artificial intelligence, which has embedding itself in every industry across the globe. They say that the next ten years will be about adapting AI to help augment creative workers, which is why Goodwin is leading this Vivid Ideas panel about the impact of AI on our world. 

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Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) , The Rocks Friday June 2 2017
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Vivid Sydney

Recommended

Vivid Light will stretch from the Botanic Gardens to Darling Harbour, and for the first time this year there’ll be using the streets of Barangaroo as a canvas for light projections, including the terrifying Trapdoor by Sydney special effects studio Spinifex Group. You can also expect manga and Steampunk in Chatswood, a giant Port Jackson shark at Taronga Zoo and a spectacular display of heroes and villains, drag queens and witches in Kings Cross.

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Around Sydney , Sydney Friday May 26 2017 - Saturday June 17 2017