Vivid Ideas Exchange

The Vivid Ideas Exchange transforms the state-of-the-art Telstra Customer Insight Centre into a theatre for ground-breaking thought from our sharpest, wittiest minds across eight days and nights.

Tackling the gambit of this year’s festival theme of 'Naturally', the Exchange's 22 events prod and provoke the status quo around so-called 'natural' way of things. From mental health to sexuality, body modifications to lab-grown steaks, grief and kink, we're covering it all.

Whether you want to conspire to cheat death and live forever, tackle what it means to love and date in age of climate change, hear from the innovators literally shaping our city or you're looking to laugh out loud as comedians and thinkers debate the merits of monogamy, prepare to leave better informed and highly entertained.


Saturday 10 June

Nourishing Health


Join Maggie Beer AO in a fascinating discussion about what a good meal with great company can do to tackle issues around ageing. The veteran chef will chat to researchers and advocates about food’s ability to provide not just physical nourishment but mental wellbeing and a sense of community.

Could the ocean be the solution?


Our oceans are under myriad threats but it's not all bad news. Hear from a group of experts utilising the ocean’s natural powers as a solution, from algae-material swimwear to new coral growth technology. Leave both surprised and inspired.

Sunday 11 June

Feeling It: Music and Sound on Screen


Ever wondered how filmmakers decide on that perfect score to have our hearts fluttering during a rom-com or our pulses quicken while watching a thriller? See – and hear – the creativity that goes into the sound of a movie scene, in this interactive session presented by AFTRS.

Bloody Taboos


Whether shrouded in secrecy or deemed too uncomfortable to discuss, plenty of perfectly natural experiences and feelings remain near impossible to talk about. Hear from a panel of myth-busting, taboo-breaking women tackling stigmas around schizophrenia, menopause, pre- and post-natal depression and more. Hosted by Yumi Stynes and featuring author Elfy Scott, playwright Eloise Snape and Maree Lipschitz.

Full Story


As Guardian Australia celebrates its 10th anniversary, join Full Story host Laura Murphy-Oates, climate and environment editor Adam Morton and guests for a live podcast recording examining the state of Australia's natural environment and what is really required over the next decade to arrest its decline.



Question everything with Queeries, a night of literature, stand-up, performance, and everything in-between from eight Australian LGBTIQ+ writers, comedians and artists. Expect a playful mixture of memoir, fiction, poetry and more, as these artists explore and challenge the idea of what it means to live and be ‘natural’. Featuring singer songwriter Montaigne, , drag artist Etcetera Etcetera, memoirist Bastian Fox Phelan, poet Freya Daly-Sadgrove, novelist Fiona Kelly McGregor, comedian Gen Fricker and screenwriter Vonne Patiag. Hosted by arts critic Jared Richards.

Monday 12 June

Natural Footsteps: Ethical Travel

2.30pm – 3.45pm

Everyone has heard of eco travel and 'voluntourism', but do you know what pitfalls to look out for and how to make an informed decision? Hear first-hand and learn what we can all do better to help reduce our footprint and make for more meaningful adventures. Hosted by travel writer Ben Groundwater and featuring anti-child exploitation activist Tara Winkler, travel writers Anthony Ham and industry insider Jenny-Lee Scharnboeck.

Sydney in Space


The answers to space's mysteries might be closer to us than we think: what can Earth tell us about the Milky Way and beyond? Join leading scientists and researchers for a fascinating look at space mimicking our planet's natural wonders, and what the future of space exploration looks like. Featuring the co-directors of the NSW Space Research Network, Professor Robert Fitch and Professor Stefan Williams.

Tuesday 13 June

(Human) Nature and The City


How can cities be better built around our human need for community and belonging? Join a panel of urban designers, artists and architects as they share the blueprint for cities that connect us.

Skin Deep


As cosmetic surgery becomes the norm, what’s next? Join a panel of experts for the beauty forecast you actually need, as they discuss designer bodies, perfect skin, surgery-as-hacking and the shifting foundations of what is normal or natural.

Wednesday 14 June

Shaping Sustainable Sydney


Sustainable design technology is the latest buzzword term in high-rise architecture, but what does it mean for Sydney? How are these emerging tools and new materials changing how we design cities? Join thought-leaders from architecture, engineering and more for an inspiring discussion around our city's green future.

Climate Action: Tending or Taxing?


What if the biggest problem facing humanity isn't climate change itself, but instead, how we talk about it? Join a panel of experts as they debate whether it’s best to engage the masses on climate change through their heart or pockets. Featuring world-renowned conversationist Professor Tim Flannery, environmentalist, author and activist Anna Rose, and Professor Martina Linnenluecke, author of The Climate Resilient Organisation.

New Tech: Reasons for Hope


Lab-raised steak, maggots as protein, microbe-made plastic: it’s called clean tech, and it’s growing fast in Australia. Hear from the founders of Bardee, ULUU and Vow, three Australian companies that are transforming the way we eat, shop, dress and recycle – all to create a truly sustainable future. Moderated by Claire O’ Rourke, the author of Together We Can.

Thursday 15 June

How to Grow Old Well and Try Not To Die


With an ageing population, Australia is increasingly focused on growing old ‘well’. Join a panel of psychiatrists, geriatricians, researchers and policy advisors as they discuss the big questions and challenges around the best ways to grow old (or even live forever?).

What is Naturally Urban?


How are Sydney architects and designers planning to make our urban sprawls not just sustainable, but liveable? Join a panel of influential Sydney designers, thinkers and policy makers as they get to the root of what Sydney's naturally urban spaces could and should look like.

Neurodivergence: Diagnosis Normal


Join writers Clem Bastow and Emma A. Jane in conversation with Sana Qadar as they discuss receiving recent diagnoses of autism as adults. With charm and wit, the two will tackle common misconceptions and explore how their diagnosis has helped them make sense of themselves and their pasts.

Friday 16 June

Innovated To Regenerate 2030


This hands-on, practical, forward-thinking, and highly collaborative workshop is for people who are ready do the work to create a thriving future for people and planet. Ever wondered how to make lasting change in your organisation and how to stimulate innovative thinking? Join Reece Proudfoot and Dr Dimity Podger, Panda Labs - WWF-Australia, for this 90-minute workshop, and leave with skills and ideas for regenerative innovation that you can implement at the business, community, or everyday level.

Blue skies and street signs


What does it mean to be in dialogue with your homeland when you're away from it? Join a panel of First Nations, Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (Pacific) and Women of Colour artists as they discuss creating an image of home through their art, and balancing living in the city and their homelands. Featuring Sela Vai, Jazz Money, Gillian Kayrooz, and Ayeesha Ash.

Storytelling – It's in our Nature


As global powers stall on climate action, storytelling that can cut through the noise is more vital than ever. Shake off your eco-anxiety with this inspiring night with Australian documentarians, hearing how they’re creating tangible change. Leave with hope, practical skills and a deeper appreciation of great storytelling.

Saturday 17 June

Good Mourning – A New Way to Think about Grief


Death may be the great equaliser, but grief is often a confusing, awkward and alienating experience. Join Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn, co-hosts of the popular Good Mourning podcast, for a refreshing, taboo-breaking conversation. Hosted by comedian Grace Rouvray, it'll tackle grief with honesty, humour and plenty of heart.

Perv: The Kink in All of Us


Join renowned psychologist Jesse Bering (USA) & Jenny Valentish for a funny and thoughtful conversation on sexuality. Together, they'll detangle whether shame and sexuality will always be used to demonise and divide and answer all your awkward questions that you have been too afraid to ask.

Monogamy: The Natural Way to Love?


Polyamory, open relationships and other forms of non-monogamy are enjoying their first real cultural moment in half a century, but is it "natural"? Join six of our sharpest and funniest minds in debate as they fight it out to settle the matter once and for all: is monogamy the natural way to love?