Surekha Ragavan
Apr 8, 2019

Brisbane debuts new flagship event

Curiocity—a new major event in Brisbane—saw city-wide science and tech activities across 20 days.

Brisbane debuts new flagship event

Curiocity, a science and tech festival in Brisbane that features ‘immersive experiences’ across the city, has just wrapped up its inaugural edition. For three weeks, installations, pop-ups, and interactive spaces by local and international artists were on public display for free. Brisbane has a target to hold one significant public event per month, and this will likely be a mainstay for the month of March.

One aspect of the festival was the Curiocities trail of interactive installations, which featured two hero installations at the start and end of the trail. People could chose to expore the trail on their own, following an online path, or avail themselves of a guided tour.

The festival also featured QODE, an innovation and entrepreneurial event to boost the startup and entrepreneurial community in the city. One of the keynote speakers there was Andy Penn, CEO of Telstra.

“It’s really significant for Queensland because he hasn’t really addressed a Queensland audience before,” said Juliet Alabaster, general manager, business events, Brisbane Marketing. “And that’ll enable some of our startups to pitch in to Telstra and try to move forward some of their developments.”

World Science Festival Brisbane

Under the Curiocity umbrella, the World Science Festival (WSF) also took place in Brisbane. This festival began in New York as the brainchild of astrophysicist Brian Greene. According to Brisbane Marketing, about four or five years ago, the city was looking to start a science and tech event, at which time they met Greene and his team in New York.

“We asked him if they could consider doing a WSF in the Southern hemisphere, and I was surprised that no one had approached them before,” Alabaster said. “They came over for a site inspection and they saw how our city was set up, with our cultural precincts and all our venues in a row. They also saw how we work together as a city—we’re very collaborative in Brisbane.”

Following the inspection, WSF was licensed to tour in Brisbane for six years, with an option to extend past that. While WSF has been taking place in the city for three years (last year’s edition pulled in 200,000 visitors), this is the first time it’s fallen under the Curiocity umbrella.

As mentioned, Brisbane has its major cultural and art venues centered in one precinct. For instance, in the South Bank Parklands, the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre has many attractions running alongside, including the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, the State Library, the Queensland Museum, and the Science Centre.

“What it means is across this one precinct there are numerous venues that can hold different aspects of WSF, and then we have a community component on Saturday and Sunday—a street science fair and that’s all done in the South Bank Parklands,” said Alabaster. “In New York, WSF is actually spread out across NYC. There are events in Brooklyn and in Queens and then Manhattan itself. So they find that people who come to see it spend a lot of time travelling between the different venues.”

The event will have a positive impact on the city by helping to scale innovation and the startup sector, Alabaster said. “We need to put a focus on it, connect people with nationals and internationals," she added. "How do we grow our economy through scaling businesses? And how do we bring new money into the city?”


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