Ideas Festival Wrap Up

It was the 2006 QLD Ideas Festival, where I had first heard of IwB/ Massive Change, and it had set about this personal and professional journey around design thinking that took me to Toronto and beyond.  Since then I’ve always wanted to ‘pay it forward”, contribute back to the Festival, and pass on inspirations.

I guess it finally happened this year.

I had an idea in as part of the openIDEO workshops, and I was proud to add some urban design thinking to the program by making a connection for Hutwheels 

A scientist on Saturday was talking about communicating ideas, and said how often he’ll take for granted how much non-scientists don’t know.  Accessing the general public and using “communicators/media” therefore had a huge role in how we influence politicians (and greater change).  This made me reflect on the Hutwheels  talk which raised a lot about density, communal space, mobility, cars, community, values, affordability.   It is topics that float around my professional world, but, like the scientist, I forget some people just don’t know about this stuff (or care about it) even though it seem “obvious” to me.   I think this “mainstream” sharing of information is what  I think most excites me about these platforms (and things such as TED).

McMansion to micromansion: How can you challenge the great Australian dream?The concept of ‘bigger is better’ has been challenged by Malcolm Holz and collaborators Gabriel and Elizabeth Poole with the introduction of Hutwheels. Taking up the international trend of micro housing, which has seen shipping containers and pod houses spring up in New York, Tokyo and London, Malcolm brings to the Australian market a possible solution for affordable and sustainable living. In a landscape where space is at a premium and resources in demand, could this micromansion spark a rethink of the great Australian dream?

I also checked out these other interesting sessions:

1) Future Sex: Armed with one-liners on one-nighters, we pitch team against team to broach the topic of sex. Has the internet adjusted our template for ‘normal’? Is the gay marriage debate just the next step in a mainstreaming of difference that started generations ago? If so, what should be next? Join triple j’s Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson, sex therapist Bettina Arndt, academic Alan McKee, artist David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger, film maker Phoebe Hart and facilitator John Birmingham in what will be forever remembered as ‘The Great Mass-Debate’.

2) Extreme Architecture: Can architects future-proof us against fire and flood?  In the face of Australia’s disaster-prone environment, architects Ian Weir and James Davidson are reconceptualising how our residential buildings might become more resilient to fire, flood and cyclone. With their first-hand experience of natural disasters, James, director of Emergency Architects Australia (EAA), and Ian, one of Australia’s few ‘bushfire architects’, discuss the ways we can design with disaster in mind.
3) Modern trends: Can fashion drive positive social change? At The Social Studio in Melbourne, threads bind together communities as well as clothes. The Social Studio is a dynamic space where clothing is created from the style and skills of the local young refugee community. Join teacher Milly Gamlin and student Nicole Kuol as they share how recycled and excess manufacturing materials are gathered from local industry and re-configured into original clothing. Milly and Nicole also explore how The Social Studio challenges the fashion consumer industry and empowers young people to achieve their dreams through social enterprise.
4) A reef in time: Are we heading for the sixth mass extinction?. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, is well recognised for its pivotal roles in supporting an abundance of marine life and Queensland’s tourism industry. Author, researcher and former Chief Scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Charlie Veron, joins us to discuss a lesser known role of the reef; nature’s historian. Hear how the reef helps us to interpret the past to understand where our future may be heading in the age of climate change.

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