Seven not-to-be-missed events at Vivid Ideas 2017 in Sydney

Tonight, Vivid officially kicks off in Sydney with the lighting of the Opera House sails and performances under them – with indie rock stars Fleet Foxes one of the big opening night attractions. Around the city, projections, lights and artworks will give locals and tourists alike the chance to explore Sydney in a new way. And then there is the amazing “Vivid Ideas” program that runs alongside it, featuring incredible talks and panels across the festival’s entire three weeks.

Attacking the full lineup of talks and events has turned out to be a pretty mammoth task in what is without question the biggest Vivid Ideas program to date. So we thought we’d take some of the pressure off you and bring you the seven events that are not to be missed…

Game-Changer: Jonah Peretti

When? May 28th at 1.30pm
Where? City Recital Hall
How Much? From $25 – Tickets are available HERE.

In his Vivid Ideas Game-Changer talk, BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti will discuss the growth of BuzzFeed from a small, experimental lab creating and tracking viral content to its position as a global news and entertainment cross-platform network read by millions. He’ll reveal insights gained regarding the intersection of technology and creativity, the importance of the human element in framing content and his vision for the evolution of the media and creative endeavour in the social age.

Game-Changer: Oliver Stone

When? May 28th at 5pm
Where? City Recital Hall
How Much? From $35 – Tickets are available HERE.

Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone has written and directed more than 20 full-length feature films, earning him a well-respected place in cinematic history. He is lauded for some of the most influential films of the last four decades, including Scarface, Midnight Express, Platoon, Wall Street, Natural Born Killers, JFK, Nixon, and The Doors.

Stone is a master at tackling controversial subjects. His films are grand in scale and his hard-hitting style takes a realistic and truthful look at the world, which often polarises audiences. Stone’s recent hit films include the follow-up tale of greed, corruption and power, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and the 2016 biographical political thriller, Snowden.

At Vivid Ideas, Oliver Stone will share his philosophy on telling difficult stories, navigating controversy and resistance, and how his take on the interplay between writer, storyteller and director has cemented his position among the legends of Hollywood. Joining Stone on stage will be Foxtel presenter and movie critic on Foxtel Arts’ Stage & Screen Margaret Pomeranz AM.

Marketing to the Machines: Why Algorithms Will Define the Future of Everything

When? May 30th at 8am
Where? MCA
How Much? From $20 and includes breakfast – book HERE

In this session, We Are Social’s global consultant, Singapore-based Simon Kemp, will co-present with the company’s Australian managing director, Suzie Shaw.

“Algorithms determine everything from the optimum kitten story to reframing ethics and morality. We’ll examine how they can help solve some of life’s most existential questions,” Suzie Shaw said. “It’s a big order for breakfast as we’ll be exploring the powerful and all-pervasive nature of algorithms: what they are, where they’ve come from and where they’re going tomorrow.”

This is Simon Kemp’s second consecutive appearance at Vivid Ideas, after co-presenting at 2016’s sellout data driven storytelling session. As well as working with We Are Social and authoring its annual global digital report, he founded Kepios and heads up APAC for Contagious Insider Consulting. Marketing to the Machines is a breakfast for business leaders, marketers and communications professionals.

Shapeshifter: Reframing Art and Screen Culture

When? May 30th at 5pm
Where? MCA, Level 6
How Much? FREE. Just register HERE.

This one is sure to be an inspiring conversation, Featuring a line-up of tenacious artists celebrated for producing work that is both hyper-local and internationally resonant, this conversation will explore the contemporary role of the artist and their commitment to bold, authentic storytelling. What stories need to be told? Who needs to tell them? And how are they told?

Included on the panel will be Nakkiah Lui, Ali Kadhim, Alison Page, Vic McEwan, while triple j’s Zan Rowe will act as MC. The in-depth conversation will be followed by networking drinks for the arts and screen sectors.

The School of Life presents Emotional Intelligence From The Dark Side

When? May 31st at 6.30pm
Where? Dendy Opera Quays
How Much? Tickets available HERE from $35

In January of 2012, Kyra Maya Phillips  embarked on a four year long exploration of the dark side of creativity and ingenuity, interviewing people from all walks of life including gangsters, hackers, drug smugglers, camel milk farmers, con artists, pirates, copycats, about how they live and work. The findings were published in her book, The Misfit Economy.

In this event presented by The School of Life, Kyra will share stories from the dark side, which will illuminate valuable lessons in emotional intelligence, and which will serve as testament to the idea that all of us – no matter where we come from or what we do – are trying to make sense of the human experience and live an enriching, fulfilling life.

Deadlines, Dreams and Goals

When? June 10th at 9.30am
Where? Creative Plus Business – Level 1, 66 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
How Much? From $150 with tickets available HERE

In this one-day workshop, creative participants will learn how to brainstorm and identify what they want in their business, professional, creative and personal lives – and then make a plan to get there.

Deadlines, Dreams and Goals is tailored specifically to creative people who are (or want to be) self-employed, and the activities are relevant no matter what your profession – filmmakers, writers, designers, visual artists, performers. Anyone can benefit from learning more about how to strategise to get what they want from creative business.

It’s being presented by Monica Davidson, the Doyenne of Creative Plus Business and an award-winning creative industries consultant and presenter with decades of personal experience in both creative practice and arts business. More information is available HERE.

Evolving a Tasty Niche – The Love and Struggle in Creative Food Careers

When? June 11th at Noon.
Where? Vivid Ideas Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art
How Much? From $55 – Tickets are available HERE.

Evolving a Tasty Niche is in response to the global phenomenon of creative food careers, from food photography, cake design, dining experience, to food art, fueled by the power of social media. It is a world injected with robusting, novel energy everyday. Today’s niche easily becomes tomorrow’s cliché.

So how do leading creatives innovate consistently to stay on top of the game? What are their growth strategies? What are their fears? How do they learn from failures? We will find out from this panel discussion.

The speakers are: Clayton Wells – Head Chef | Automata; Danling Xiao – Founder, Designer, Artist | Mundane Matters; Emma Joyce – Editor | Time Out Sydney; Katherine Sabbath – Cake Creative | Katherine Sabbath; Nikki To – Photographer | Nikki To.

10% of proceeds will be donated to Oxfam Australia and the facilitator of the panel is Cam Mackellar, Digital Content Specialist, Musician | Village Bells.

Honourable Mentions:

We wanted to mention three other events before we go – firstly Unlocking Your Grey Zone: How Positive Ambiguity Can Help You Thrive in an Uncertain World at the MCA on June 14th, The Future of Work is Freelance at TAP Gallery on 7th June, and finally Iconic American artist Shepard Fairey who is closing up the Game-Changer series at Sydney Town Hall on June 17th.

For tickets and more details about Vivid Ideas, head to


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.