Melbourne Knowledge Week
Melbourne Knowledge Week returns for its eighth year of boundary-pushing talks and events from May 20 to 26.
The week-long festival explores subjects across art and design, fashion, food, technology, business, health and science, encouraging collaboration and discussion around how to improve the city’s public spaces, accessibility and liveability.
There are nearly 100 events on this year's program, which will bring together Australian and international speakers to consider the 2019 theme, "So, what if?". The keynote is US-based Raina Kumra, an AI and ethics in technology expert, who will be interviewed by broadcaster and academic Waleed Aly and editor of the ABC’s Religion and Ethics website Scott Stephens.
North Melbourne’s heritage-listed Meat Market has been made over by industrial design agency Moth Design as this year’s festival hub, complete with futuristic pop-up cafe Utopian Foods (the ingredients list includes insects, algae, hemp products, vegan protein and regenerative meats). And the Hub Restaurant will host four special dinner events including a sustainable seafood feast, and an evening with Bruce Pascoe, award-winning author of Dark Emu, who will discuss his research into pre-colonial Aboriginal agriculture accompanied by bushfood-based share platters.
Panel highlights include Indigenous Design Thinking Conversations exploring how Indigenous knowledge is shaping design practice, and Melbourne’s Missing Middle, which will consider how to balance the city’s high-density apartment developments with its sparse, outer-suburban sprawl and create a connected, liveable space in-between. While Hack Fed Square is a chance for the public to put forward its vision for one of Melbourne’s most iconic meeting places.
Musician and architecture academic Simona Castricum will host The Post-Gender Bubble, a riff on an old-school live talk show imagining future queer cities, while new dance work Dancing Qweens, choreographed by drag queen Valerie Hex, tracks 50 years of queer dance history – from same-sex ballroom, to voguing.
In Fashioning a Sustainable Future, the city's design students from across fields will find solutions to textile wastage, and Return to Escape From Wimmera lets audiences revisit Escape from Woomera, a video game that rocked the political landscape 16 years ago by putting players in the shoes of refugees escaping detention.
There is a combination of free and ticketed events running all week. Find the program here.