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20 Jul 2018

Spark Festival at Wintec prepares for its 20th anniversary

Wintec’s annual Spark International Festival of Music, Media, Arts and Design will be celebrating its 20th birthday this August.

This year the festival is bringing back five Media Arts graduates to share their experience and successes. This includes Steven Edwards from Weta Workshop and Voyager award winning journalist for Stuff, Ruby Nyika. They are all at various stages of their careers and have been asked to talk about life following Wintec.

The first festival was in 1998 where Wintec’s Media Arts staff first made it possible for students to have in-class interaction with people working in industry in the community and overseas.

The festival’s director, Megan Lyon has been in charge since 2014.

“Back when we started, collaborating across disciplines was considered a new way of working, but it’s clear now that we were onto something as this has become an industry standard,” Lyon said.

“What I love about Spark is that there is always connections that people make because of the nature of the festival that it’s within an educational institution. There’s a real sense of generosity,” she said.

“Friendships form, business opportunities pop up and students get jobs.” It’s aim has always been to represent all the different disciplines that the school teaches. “Creatives need inspired ways of learning. Sharing conversations with experienced voices in industry creates conditions where creatives learn, grow and flourish.”

There’s something for everyone to take away from the wide range of speakers, practical sessions and many other people with similar interests.

This year Spark is having a lot more practical workshops. Jeff Burch, art director at Conde Nast in New York, is doing a portfolio review for third year design students, something that Wintec has never done before.

With Hamilton book month coming up in August too, Spark have decided to collaborate with them. There will be a children’s illustration and design panel.

“It’s about creating that buzz in the city. That’s why it’s a festival and not a conference,” Lyon said. “It’s a face to face experience. I come from a theatre background and I love that whole human connection that you just don’t get from watching things on YouTube.”

The free student festival runs for August 6-9.

Story by Jesse Wood – Stuff