10 Unmissable Vivid Ideas Exchange Talks That’ll Fuel Your Dinner Party Chat

VIVID Ideas Exchange venue image at the Tesltra Customer Experience Centre

Vivid 2023 is coming to transform Sydney into the best version of itself: Filled with music, art, and great chats. Well, we have to do something while the beaches are off-limits to all but the boldest cold-water swimmers.

The Vivid Ideas Exchange is a key part of this transformation, giving Sydneysiders the chance to step into a captivating world of groundbreaking ideas. Over the course of seven exhilarating days and nights, prepare to immerse yourself in an intellectual feast that will undoubtedly elevate your conversational prowess at any dinner party.

The cutting-edge Telstra Customer Insight Centre will play host to 23 captivating talks embracing the overarching theme of this year’s festival, ‘Naturally’. The Ideas Exchange seeks to challenge the accepted norms of the so-called ‘natural’ order by delving into topics that will prod and provoke your understanding of the world.

From mental health and sexuality to body modifications and lab-grown steaks, no subject is off-limits. Prepare to explore the complexities of grief and kink, unlock the secrets of eternal life, and ponder the intricate dynamics of love and dating amidst the ever-evolving climate crisis.

Brought to you by the minds of visionary innovators who are literally shaping the very fabric of our city, you are guaranteed to leave this remarkable event better informed, inspired, and thoroughly entertained.

With so much to choose from, we’ve made your job a little easier by making the difficult calls and whittling this list down to the 10 absolutely essential talks. This has been no mean feat since, honestly, they all look bloody brilliant.

The events run from 10 – 17 June at the 300-seat Telstra Customer Insight Centre in the CBD, and tickets can be purchased through the links below. Here’s what you cannot miss.

Bloody Taboos

11 June – 1:30pm

Featuring a powerhouse panel of myth-busting women, Bloody Taboos takes on the unspoken and uncomfortable. Join the journalist and author Elfy Scott, the playwright Eloise Snape, and menopause expert Maree Lipschitz as they offer fresh perspectives on how to shift conversations and address natural experiences without shame. This insightful discussion towards open dialogue will be hosted by the author and podcaster Yumi Stynes.

11 June – 7:30pm

Join a lineup of eight exceptional LGBTIQ+ writers, comedians, and artists from Australia and New Zealand for an evening filled with stand-up, memoir, fiction, poetry, and everything in between. Featuring Montaigne, Michael Sun, Bastian Fox Phelan, Freya Daly-Sadgrove, Fiona Kelly McGregor, Gen Fricker, Vonne Patiag, and hosted by Jared Richards, this event promises an unforgettable night of artistic brilliance.

Discover what it really means to travel ethically through the insights of esteemed travel writers, journalists, and advocates as they share their experiences and strategies for reducing our footprint and creating meaningful adventures. The panel features Tara Winkler, founder of Cambodian Children’s Trust, travel writers Ben Groundwater, Anthony Ham, and Bri Lee, and 20+ year tourism veteran Jenny-Lee Scharnboeck. Together they’ll help you plan your next sustainable adventure.

Sydney in Space

12 June – 5:30pm

Explore the cosmic wonders as our Earth unveils the secrets of the universe. Join two top astronomic scientists, Professor Stefan Williams and Professor Robert Fitch, for an intriguing glimpse into how our planet illuminates the mysteries of the Milky Way and beyond. Discover the future of space exploration in this captivating event presented by the University of Sydney.

Skin Deep

12 June – 6:30pm

Australia’s leading plastic surgeons and industry experts dish on the future of beauty you need to hear. Professor Anand Deva, beauty journalist Stephanie Darling, and Dr Jane Park dive into an engaging discussion on designer bodies, the concept of “natural,” and the influence of social media on beauty trends. Uncover the shifting landscape of aesthetics and the prejudices that shape our perception of beauty in this thought-provoking event moderated by Pip McGuinness, author of Skin Deep.

New Tech: Reasons for Hope

14 June – 6:30pm

Lab-raised steak, maggots as protein, microbe-made plastic. It’s called clean tech, and it’s growing fast in Australia. Join the founders of Australian startups Bardee, ULUU, and Vow as they plan the revolution of our consumption habits for a sustainable future. Learn how Bardee utilizes black soldier flies to tackle food waste, ULUU creates ocean-friendly plastic alternatives, and Vow grows lab-raised meat. Co-founders Phoebe Gardner, Dr Julia Reisser, and George Peppou are on the panel, hosted by environmentalist Claire O’Rourke, author of Together We Can.

Is there a perfect way to age? A panel of experts unpack the complexities of that question in this thought-provoking event. Explore the existential and practical aspects of growing old, including the quest for “positive ageing” and the ethical implications of extending life through science. Hosted by Associate Professor Neil Jeyasingam, the panel features geriatrician Dr Lisa Mitchell, Professor Perminder Sachdev AM, and Dr Ruth Wilson, who completed her PhD at 88 years old. Proceeds support Wisdom-Connect, a charity combating loneliness in older people.

Embark on a transformative journey of exploration and connection as Good Mourning podcast hosts Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn delve into the depths of grief and mourning. With the help of the always engaging host Grace Rouvray prepare to unravel misconceptions, challenge elusive adages, and fearlessly confront uncomfortable questions. Together, the team plot a new path for discussions about grief.

17 June – 3:30pm

Join acclaimed psychologist and science writer Jesse Bering and the captivating Jenny Valentish for an engaging and enlightening conversation on sexuality. The pair explore the rich tapestry of human sexual behaviour, challenge societal norms, and delve into the complexities of desire. With humour and empathy, the pair will unravel the dynamics of attraction, question what is considered “normal,” and discuss the role of shame in our understanding of sexuality. Prepare for a filthy, funny, and thought-provoking discussion that will leave you convinced that we’re all a little bit kinky.

17 June – 6:30pm

Polyamory, open relationships, and other forms of non-monogamy, ethical or otherwise, are enjoying their first real cultural moment in half a century. Witness a fierce comedic battle over the ideology of love as monogamy and non-monogamy collide. Dr Norman Swan, James Colley, Jazz Money, Alex Lee, Elfy Scott, and Annaliese Constable will be moderated by Ange Lavoipierre in a thought-provoking debate on the ‘natural’ way of love.

Related: STOP THE PRESSES — Jennifer Coolidge Is Coming to Vivid

Related: Everything You Need to See, Do, Eat and Explore at Vivid Sydney 2023

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