Artists and thinkers will come together at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to take a “deep dive” into some of the themes and issues being explored during the 2018 Sydney Festival.
Experts from UTS and artists from the Festival line-up will take part in three Big Thinking Forums, tackling issues ranging from the impact of artificial intelligence and consumerism through to Aboriginal sovereignty.
UTS is Knowledge Partner for the Festival, which runs from January 6-28 this year, and as well as the Forums UTS academics have been asked to provide their perspective on some Festival highlights.
“Partnering with the Festival feels like a natural fit for us – not just because of our location here at the southern gateway to the City of Sydney but also because of our shared vision of making a difference through knowledge and understanding,” says UTS Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs.
Festival Director Wesley Enoch has spoken about the way the arts challenge and explain, how they prompt creative thinking and encourage reflection, Professor Brungs says.
As for UTS, “it’s not just a place of learning - it’s a place where ideas are created, tested, improved and delivered”.
Curated by UTS in consultation with Sydney Festival, the Big Thinking Forums will be held in the university’s Great Hall and moderated by Larissa Behrendt, who is an author and UTS Law Professor.
The Analogue body and the digital world forum will discuss how we can meaningfully engage with the physical world in the era of virtual and augmented reality. As we spend more time online, what are the implications of our disconnection from the real world?
Wesley Enoch will be joined on the panel by artist/musician Jonnine Standish, one half of the creative team behind the virtual reality Ghost Train and a member of experimental band HTRK, and data scientist Passiona Cottee.
At the Consuming the world forum artists Hiroshi Fuji and Emily McDaniel, responsible for the Festival art installations Jurassic Plastic and Four Thousand Fish, will be among the panellists, along with researcher Jenni Downes from the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS.
Jurassic Plastic features 50,000 recycled plastic toys, with an underlying message about our ‘take-make-dispose’ economy, while Four Thousand Fish celebrates Indigenous fisherwomen who maintained a delicate harbour ecosystem for thousands of years.
At the Competing sovereignties forum, leading Aboriginal thinkers will examine the aspiration to Aboriginal sovereignty and what that means in our contemporary world. It will be an important discussion in the wake of last year’s Uluru Statement from the Heart, which provided a roadmap for recognition, treaty and constitutional reform.
As well as these Big Thinking Forums, UTS will be a base for the expanded Bayala language program, which gives people the opportunity to discover, or extend their knowledge of, a local language.
Click to see what our experts had to say about the message in Jurassic Plastic; Germaine Greer and The Town Hall Affair; the romance and adventure of discovery in The Wider Earth (Video).