Spark Festival provides a platform for exchange this August

4 years ago by

Wintec’s city campus in Hamilton will once again be lit with creativity in August as the 19th annual Spark Festival opens, bringing a collection of thought leaders and creatives in the music, media, arts and design industries to students and public alike.

Organised by Wintec’s School of Media Arts, the festival unites industry leaders from around New Zealand and the globe, providing opportunities for attendees to hear from, and meet the specialists and innovators in their respective industries.

Speakers share cutting edge trends, insights about the industry and provide encouragement for students and those in the arts and creative sector. It is a dynamic week of learning and networking.

According to Spark Festival Director, Megan Lyon, “The thought leaders we’ve amassed for #Spark17 reflect what’s going on at the cutting edge of the creative industries and the festival format enables sharing ideas and insights in a unique way.  In my opinion there’s no substitute for the live presentation or performance.  We’ve also got lots of practical workshops in the programme to help feed and inform one’s own creative endeavours.”

This year’s festival will showcase the work of New Zealand’s own Kris Sowersby, the type designer responsible for the sans serif typeface National and the serif typeface Feijoa. Some of his newest fonts feature in the brand identity of #Spark17

Another highlight is a conversation between Rhana Devenport, Director of the Auckland Art Gallery, and the Australian artist simply known as Nell. Nell’s work will be on display in an exhibition at Wintec’s Ramp Gallery, running the duration of the festival.

#Spark17 will also feature many home-grown creatives including singer-songwriter Hollie Smith, who will open the festival with a performance; Luis Viale and Bren Imboden of design agency Makebardo; Kristine Crabb of the clothing label Miss Crabb; and a live podcast by On the Rag, brought to you by The Spinoff; Journalist Melissa Davies; Critic and writer Anthony Bryt; Te Mahuki’s Tui Te Hau and artist Judy Darragh.

Spark Festival runs a programme of small-group workshops alongside the main presentations, in which attendees work closely with the practitioners to learn practical skills and receive feedback about personal projects and ideas – all at no cost to the attendee.

This year’s workshops include a typographic illustration lesson with graphic artist Sarah Maxey, a practical exploration into fashion design with Kristine Crabb and a chatbot prototyping session with Jason Little and Johanna Roca from For the People (Sydney).

Wintec’s support of the Spark Festival for nearly two decades has ensured Hamilton registers on the national arts calendar, while giving something back to Hamilton’s students and creative industries.

The programme runs from 14-17 August with presentations and panel discussions happening at Wintec’s Gallagher Hub and workshops in assigned rooms around the city campus. Exhibitions, events and an after party will all take place in various city locations – see a copy of the Spark Festival programme, visit for more information, location details and a map.

Tickets are at NO COST and available via Eventbrite

Eventbrite - Creative Refresh with Kathryn Burnett

For more information please contact Festival Director Megan Lyon at


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