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Thursday, March 19, 2015

TEDx Sydney 2015 - 16 speakers, Opera House, 21 May

One of the best festivals of ideas, dangerous or otherwise, is the TED series, with TEDxSydney unveiling its 2015 speaker line up.

For the first time, the 2015 TEDxSydney will be hosted within the entire Sydney Opera House complex with a series of events - ensuring more people than ever before are able to attend, engage and interact.

It is billed as ‘one of the most celebrated TEDx events in the world’, and will be held on Thursday 21 May with an audience of more than 3000 expected to attend.

Naturally, the Concert Hall will host the main live program, but there’s also the ‘TEDxSydney at the Playhouse simulcast event’ which will live stream speakers and performances from across the four sessions to the playhouse within the Sydney Opera House.

This will give a further 400 attendees ‘an intimate and up-close experience as part of the 2015 festival.’

We know who will think of the children, too, with TEDxSydney also set to host a ‘youth focused event’, in partnership with the University of Sydney, with full details expected to be announced ‘in the coming weeks.’

TEDxSydney Founder and Licensee Remo Guiffré said: “This is a year of ‘firsts’ for TEDxSydney. Not only is this the first time that we’re taking over the entire Sydney Opera House – minus the Joan Sutherland Theatre – but it’s also the first time we’re hosting the event on a weekday.

“In a way, I think the curatorial theme of learning was a response to this shift in day. It presented us with a wonderful opportunity to engage and involve school and university students while also knitting together the diverse experiences and ideas of our key speakers through a single theme.

“And of course, it’s also the first time that our community will have the opportunity to hear from this extraordinary bunch of individuals. I for one can’t wait to hear what they have to share.”

Today’s news is just the first in a series of program updates for TEDxSydney, with the performance line-up for 2015 to be announced next week.

So, who are the speakers?

We’re told we’ll hear from ‘the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin to an internationally undefeated champion kickboxer and a Director at the International Red Cross, a group of the world’s leading thinkers and doers will take to the stage at TEDxSydney 2015 to deliver their thought-provoking ideas.’

TEDxSydney’s Editorial Director, Edwina Throsby said: “Learning never really stops. Just because you leave school, it doesn’t mean you stop seeking out new information, having fresh ideas or looking for inspiration. Every one of the extraordinary speakers at this year’s event has something to impart to the audience – whether that’s the result of a lifetime of research or just a life well lived.

“Our community is really smart and connected, so it’s a huge challenge to curate a program that excites them and offers them something new. Our 2015 line-up brings together speakers from all backgrounds, who have incredible stories, world-leading research, and big, fresh ideas. Every member of our audience – at the Opera House and online – will learn something new at TEDxSydney this year.”

Here’s the lineup of speakers:

24 year old Dylan Alcott OAM is a Paralympic gold medallist, World Champion, Grand Slam champion and world record holder for both wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.

Born in Baghdad, pioneering surgeon Dr Munjed Al Muderis was forced to flee Iraq to Australia as a refugee. He embarked on his journey to become a world leader in osseointegration surgery on his release from a detention centre in 2000 and is now part of a crack team pioneering bionic fusion.
Chris Darwin is the great-great grandson of one of history’s most celebrated scientists and evolutionists – Charles Darwin. Tackling what his great-great grandfather called his “greatest regret”, Chris has made it his life’s goal to help halt the global mass extinction of species.

Nadine Champion is a UFC High Performance Coach. With over 28 years experience in martial arts, Nadine has never lost a fight.

Australian born and raised, Dr Helen Durham is the first woman to head International Law and Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Julian Burnside is an Australian barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, and author. He has acted as legal counsel in a number of high-profile hearings including pro bono for major human rights cases, in particular concerning the treatment of refugees.

The king of the compost toilet, Hamish Skermer knows a thing or two about how to deal with human waste. The Australian entrepreneur invented his own environmentally friendly dry toilet 15 years ago which has since been used at some of the world’s biggest music festivals including Glastonbury, the Falls and Meredith festivals in Australia.

Tom Uglow is Creative Director for Google's Creative Lab in Sydney. He works with cultural and creative organisations around the world exploring the space between technology and the arts and what can happen where they intersect.

Trans woman Starlady is a youth worker in some of Australia’s most remote and challenging places. Using an unusual set of tools the flamboyant hairdresser spends her time traveling thousands of kilometres across the central desert.

Currently based in New York, Tega Brain is an Australian artist and environmental engineer working at the intersection between art, ecology and engineering.

Stephanie Trigg is a literary scholar in the field of medieval studies. Currently one of ten Chief Investigators in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (UWA), she is particularly known for her work on celebrated English poet Geoffrey Chaucer.
Richard Bourke works in Louisiana – America's Deep South – as a death row lawyer defending people who are facing or have already received a death sentence.

Tony Fry is a design theorist, philosopher and author from Brisbane who offers a profoundly challenging view on the relationship between design, unsustainability, and politics.
French-born marine biologist rockstar – Dr Daniel Pauly – is well known for his work instudying the human impact on marine ecosystems and global fisheries.

Susan Butler is the Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary. After starting out as a research assistant in 1970, she has been at the helm of the dictionary for more than 30 years.

No stranger to controversy, Dr. Charlie Teo is a high profile and inspirational neurosurgeon pushing boundaries. Founder of the Cure for Life Foundation, he operates on both Australian and international cancer patients. 

He is known as the brain surgeon that goes where others will not.

At the TEDxSydney website, you’ll see the notice that ‘Applications to attend TEDxSydney 2015 within the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House on Thursday 21 May 2015 have now CLOSED.’

However you can also see that ‘Tickets are now on sale for our simulcast event, TEDxSydney at the Playhouse, where we’ll live stream speakers and performances from all four main stage sessions. There are only 400 seats available for this unique TEDxSydney 2015 experience. BOOK NOW.’

You can also download the TEDxSydney app for iOS devices here and for Android devices here.

No joy for Windows Phone or users sadly, it seems owning a Windows Phone and wanting to use it to experience is an idea too far, too big and too dangerous for TEDxSydney.

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Calling all film lovers… The 2015 Sydney Film Festival is coming!

Calling all film lovers… The 2015 Sydney Film Festival is coming!

From Wednesday 3 June to Sunday 14 June, 2015, the 62nd Sydney Film Festival will offer Sydneysiders another exciting season of cinema amidst a whirlwind of premieres, red-carpet openings, panel discussions, international guests and more.
Each year the Festival programming team curates 12 days of cinema sourced from world-famous film festivals, including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and the Berlinale; as well as Australia’s finest local productions.
The Festival tells incredible Australian and international stories; and celebrates world cinema, filmmakers, our city and lovers of film everywhere.
Join Sydney Film Festival for screenings of around 200 films from over 50 countries. A public program of free and ticketed exhibitions, talks, panels, parties and live-music events focuses on enriching the Festival experience.
The Festival takes place at the State Theatre, Dendy Opera Quays, Art Gallery of NSW, Event Cinemas George Street, the Festival Hub at Sydney Town Hall and the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne. New venues, soon to be announced, guarantee greater expansion of the Festival’s footprint with 280 screenings happening across Sydney in both CBD and suburban locations.
Festival Director Nashen Moodleysaid: “With the 2015 Festival drawing closer, we are looking forward to announcing a full film and events program in the coming months. In true Sydney Film Festival tradition, we’ll be offering up a diverse range of films and experiences, with entertainment, culture, creativity and storytelling to feature throughout.”
A sneak preview of the 2015 program will be announced in April with the full Festival program revealed in May. More details at

Australian Open Of Supercross To Bring Indoor Racing Back to Sydney

For the first time since 2006, Supercross will return to Sydney in emphatic fashion with the inaugural Australian Open of Supercross (AUS-X Open) event, set to launch at AllPhones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park this year on November 28. 

The AUS-X Open event will be the biggest action sports competition in the Southern Hemisphere; combining an international Supercross racing event with a Freestyle Motocross (FMX) ‘Best Trick’ competition, that will feature some of the world's best riders up against Australia’s best talent. 

FMX ‘Best Trick’ has been notably absent from international competition, since being controversially removed from the X Games in 2013. Three times X Games medalist and renowned Australian hero – Cam Sinclair, is a firm believer in the format and its role in revolutionising action sports. 

“FMX Best Trick, is the ultimate opportunity to showcase innovation, creativity and courage. Having such a high profile event to re-ignite the evolution of FMX is really exciting. Being so close to the city, in our own backyard in Sydney, will be epic!” claimed Cam Sinclair. 

The event will be constructed and managed through the experienced hands of AME Management; whose background in major events across a variety of motorsports platforms, media and video production, will ensure an absolute premium level of entertainment and competition for action sports fans. 

“Indoor Supercross and Freestyle Motocross (FMX), is the ultimate combination of premium entertainment and action sports competition. We’re extremely excited to be bringing some of the world’s best riders to Sydney, for what will be one of the most intense, action-sports events in our country’s history,” said AME Management Director, Adam Bailey. 

“The plan is without a doubt to create an event that the incredible loyal fans of Supercross and FMX can be proud of, whilst doing so in an environment and with entertainment elements that will captivate complete newcomers to the sport." 

The AUS-X Open will also feature pyrotechnics, light and sound, and all competition indoors in the comfort of Allphones Arena; with a pit paddock area accessible on the outside of the arena for accredited fans to get up close and personal with their heroes. 

Championship points for the 2015 Australian Supercross Championship will also be awarded to competitors, ensuring the very best teams Australasia has to offer, will be in attendance as part of their national series. 

In a major cue for Australian Supercross, the event has secured major support from NSW tourism body, Destination NSW. 

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Troy Grant said the event would be a massive boost to the region. 

“I am pleased to announce this Australian first event has been secured for NSW through our tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. It is estimated that the AUS-X Open will contribute $1.8 million to the NSW economy in visitor expenditure,” Mr Grant said. 

“The AUS-X Open promises to be an action sports extravaganza showcasing the world’s best motorcycle riders racing and performing tricks like never before. It will attract visitors from all over the world to NSW, as well as being broadcast to approximately 139 countries through an International Media TV Network. 

“This announcement shows yet again the NSW Government’s commitment to securing major events for our State, in pursuit of our goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020,” he said. 

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the event is one-of-a-kind for both NSW and Australia. 

“The Australian Open of Supercross brings spectacular action-sport to Sydney, combining world-class Supercross racing with the awe-inspiring tricks and stunts of Freestyle Motocross competition. It will have something for motorsport lovers of all types and ages, and I encourage everyone to make the trip to Sydney in November to be a part of the action,” she said. 

Tickets will be available through Ticketek in May 2015, with international rider announcements and further information to follow in April. 

Top Image: Close quarters indoor supercross action is set to return to Sydney 

Credit: Aaryn Minerds

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Allianz Stadium to Host Rugby Sevens World Series

Allianz Stadium will be home to the Australian leg of rugby union’s Sevens World Series for the next four years from the 2015-16 season.

The Sydney Sevens were launched today, using Allianz Stadium’s new superscreens, by NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant.

“This announcement means the Sevens World Series now comes to the home of Australian sport, Sydney, and our Harbour City joins a host of iconic cities as a host venue for one of the world’s most exciting and entertaining annual sporting events,” Mr Grant said.

Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust Chief Executive Jamie Barkley said: “The Moore Park precinct comes alive whenever there is top level rugby union played here.

“Last year, the biggest rugby crowd in Allianz Stadium’s history watched the Wallabies take on France, even though it was a dead-rubber.

“The on-field excitement of Sevens rugby and the carnival atmosphere that follows it will make the Sydney Sevens the hottest ticket in town.”

Currently in its 16th season, the Sevens World Series consists of nine tournaments held around the world, in which national Sevens teams compete for World Series points at each round.

The inaugural Sydney Sevens will take place just a matter of months before Rugby Sevens makes its debut at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "With excitement increasing ahead of Rio 2016, the World Rugby Sevens Series has been going from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe with its winning blend of compelling and competitive action, global destinations and festival atmosphere.

“Sydney is one of the world’s iconic cities, a sports-mad city with an exceptional record of attracting and hosting major events like Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games. Sydney’s inclusion within a stellar Series hosting line-up is exciting for players and fans and underscores the strength of the rugby sevens brand in the global sporting marketplace.”

ARU CEO Bill Pulver said: “We are thrilled to be able to bring Rugby Sevens to Sydney. We truly believe that Sydney has the potential to match the excitement surrounding tournaments like Hong Kong, Twickenham and Wellington in terms of event experience and crowd numbers.

“Sydney is an iconic city known across the world for its cultural diversity, outdoor lifestyle and stunning tourist attractions. It is a terrific fit for an event that traditionally attracts an audience from a variety of different nationalities and backgrounds.

“There is little doubt the area in and around Moore Park lends itself to Rugby Sevens. We had a stadium record crowd at Allianz Stadium in June with plenty of exciting Test Rugby on the field, and wonderful off-field entertainment at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“Growing Rugby, particularly the Sevens format of our game, is critical to our long-term objectives as we strive to ignite passion in the next generation of players and fans. Globally, the game is in an exciting spot with Rugby Sevens part of the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 program.”

The NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, submitted the successful bid to the ARU.

The Deputy Premier, who is also the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, said the event would be a great addition to the Sydney events calendar.

“With a large number of travelling fans expected, the Sydney Sevens will provide a major boost to the local economy, and assist in the NSW Government’s goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.”

Australian Director of Rugby Sevens Geraint John, said: “I have already experienced first-hand the passion Sydneysiders have for Rugby, whether it be through their support for the national team, their state or club Rugby.

“I speak on behalf of the entire Men’s Sevens program when I say that we are looking forward immensely to playing in front of our home crowd in Sydney. It is always a thrill to play in front of your own people. I have attended plenty of Rugby across the world – both as a player and coach - and I truly believe Sydney will rival the very best of them.”

Olivia Wirth, Group Executive Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Qantas, said: “As the Official Partner of the ARU and the naming rights partner of the Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams, we are very excited that Sydney will feature on the World Rugby Sevens Series calendar. This is great news for Australian tourism and the wider sporting community. We look forward to helping fans from around the world cheer on their teams and enjoy all that Australia has to offer.” 

The Sydney Sevens is supported by the New South Wales Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Fans can sign up for Sydney Sevens ticket alerts via Public on-sale dates will be announced in due course.

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