Semi Permanent returns to Sydney in 2023 with a dynamic lineup of leading creative innovators
Semi Permanent has today announced the return of its festival of creativity and design to its home place of Sydney, set to take place at arts precinct Carriageworks as part of Vivid Sydney 2023, from 31st May through 2nd June 2023.
Now in its 21st year, Semi Permanent will again bring together the creative industries across Asia Pacific for three days of inspiring keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations, installations, and more. In 2023, Semi Permanent is supported
by the continuing partnership with the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.
As the biggest and longest-running event of its kind in the southern hemisphere, Semi Permanent shares insight into the processes of the world’s leading visionaries and ignites connection, conversation, collaboration, and creativity. Equal parts education and inspiration, the event provides an opportunity for attendees to level up their skillset whilst expanding their understanding of an ever-evolving creative landscape.
Says Ben Franklin, Minister for Tourism and the Arts: “The NSW Government is proud to support Semi Permanent, which is an established drawcard for creative people from across the country and the world. We welcome the eclectic, boundary pushing thinkers this event inspires, positioning Sydney as a hub of innovation for the creative industries. Semi Permanent will provide a dynamic element to the Vivid Sydney 2023 season, contributing to our ambition to make Sydney and NSW the major events capital and premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”
The breadth of this year’s program is reflective of creative practice in 2023, including graphic, product, spatial and motion design, filmmaking, photography, illustration, publishing, writing, advertising, animation, Web3, and visual data. Many of the talks and programs delve into important and timely cultural subject matter, including futurism, feminism, First Nations culture, accessibility, sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Irish writer, academic and disability activist Sinéad Burke is the founder of Tilting The Lens, a consultancy that asks: ‘Is this accessible?’ Burke supports clients – including Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Netflix, and Pinterest – in moving from awareness to action, accelerating systemic and cultural changes for a world that is more accessible and equitable for everyone. Her work has been featured and recognised by Vogue, The Financial Times, and Vanity Fair.
Liam Young is a film director and architect, and founder of the urban futures think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today
and the nomadic research studio Unknown Fields. Young’s practice is situated within the fields of design fiction and critical design. His work explores the increasingly blurred boundaries among film, fiction, design, and storytelling, with the goal of prototyping and imagining the future of the city.
Using words, colour, and sound, data journalist, writer, artist, and producer Mona Chalabi rehumanises data to better help us understand our world and the way we live in it. Her writing and illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Guardian, where she is currently the data editor, and have earned her a fellowship at the British Science Association, an Emmy nomination, and recognition from the Royal Statistical Society.
Bijan Berahimi is an Iranian-American designer and founder of FISK, a studio and gallery in Portland, Oregon. FISK has become an ongoing project based around culture, community, and commerce through the lens of art and design, the studio championing a wide range of ethnicities, voices, and backgrounds. Berahimi has collaborated with Nike, Toro y Moi, Harvard, Boiler Room, and was the first designer-in-residence at Facebook HQ.
Each year, Semi Permanent takes the opportunity to explore a universal idea that most aligns to the challenges and opportunities of the time. For 2023, it introduces the platform ‘REFORMATION’.
Says Mitchell Oakley Smith, global creative director, Semi Permanent: “We thought the world would seek to build itself back as it was, but it’s increasingly clear that our collective future cannot—nor should not—look anything like its past. We live amidst a once-in-a-generation chance to write past wrongs, reform seemingly immutable practices, and redesign the world in a shape we’d like to see.
“One look around will tell you the seeds have already been sown: the promise of a borderless Web3 world; the reclaiming of time via remote work capabilities; the dismantling of industrial hierarchies and traditions that prioritised some consistently over others. And in its place, something new is beginning to emerge: new creative languages, new ways to communicate, to create, organise, disrupt, rebuild. New ways to speak, hear, interpret, understand, and connect. Less barriers to entry, and more possibility for brilliance. With all the chips seemingly thrown in the air—which of these do we catch, and which do we let go?”
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