31 March 2023

Capital's newest major festival invites you to explore Uncharted Territory

| Dione David
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ACT Government festival director Yolande Norris in Canberra city holding a coffee

Festival director Yolande Norris. Photo: Good Shout.

Years on from its first ideation, the countdown is literally on for Canberra’s newest major festival.

Uncharted Territory is set to take over ANU’s cultural precinct Kambri this July and spill into various locations across the city.

Billed as “a launchpad for the emerging and a platform for the courageous”, it’s a 10-day showcase of “ideas, entrepreneurship and creativity from some of Canberra’s most formidable minds and talents”.

A collaboration between the Territory’s innovation, tertiary and cultural sectors, it will bring together creative thinkers, innovators and artists to generate and present original, purposeful and progressive ideas.

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While details of partners and projects will be released in the coming month, participants can expect an eclectic program including installations, workshops, talks, performances, exhibitions, symposia, screenings and networking events.

Festival director Yolande Norris said the winter innovation festival fulfils an election commitment from 2016.

“It came up against COVID on the eve of when it would have first been delivered. In the years since the pandemic years, it’s been doing that dance that so many public events have been doing, but this has also meant the festival has had time to clarify its aims and ambitions,” she said.

“We’ve been able to take the time to create an event that meets the needs of Canberra at this moment in time.”

University Avenue ANU

The festival will be primarily based in the ANU Kambri Precinct and spill into other locations across Canberra. Photo: Martin Ollman.

The multifaceted festival program will encourage artists and innovators to explore new forms of expression and ways of doing things, challenge themselves, embrace risk and push the boundaries of what is possible.

“What I’m excited about is the program will offer entry-level access points across several industries that are sometimes a bit mysterious to the general public,” Ms Norris said.

“It will allow them to engage with ideas and event types they perhaps haven’t had the opportunity to try before. For example, things relating to AI and web3, cyber security and VR in film production, and more traditional art forms but using new developments in form or content.

“It’s about really lowering those barriers to exploration so that people feel emboldened to engage with ideas they’ve heard of but which may have seemed intimidating.”

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Ms Norris hoped attendees would be inspired to think differently about how they belong to conversations about innovation and the future.

“We want to open doors to people and help them see their futures in a different light, to see what’s possible for them, our city and the world more broadly,” she said.

Uncharted Territory is expected to help support local businesses and the tourism and hospitality industry by encouraging visitors during Canberra’s cooler months.

“July is a quiet part of the year for major events, so this festival has the potential to motivate locals to get out of the house during colder months and maybe entice our interstate neighbours who are interested in engaging in intellectual and cultural events in the nation’s capital.”

Unchartered Territory innovation festival flyer

Uncharted Territory runs for 10 days from 7 to 16 July. Image: Supplied.

Ms Norris said ultimately, Uncharted Territory would “lift the lid” on what makes Canberra special.

“It leans into Canberra’s unique identity as a place with many creative and innovative people, where big things can be achieved,” she said.

“It’s asserting Canberra as the knowledge capital and shining a light on what’s possible in this place. It’s telling a story about Canberra that is not often told – about those who move here because of its ability to grow people and ideas, and of those that leave Canberra, to take their incredible talents to the world.”

The inaugural Uncharted Territory takes place from 7 to 16 July.

To receive program and ticket release announcements and more information to help plan your Uncharted experience, visit the Uncharted Territory website and subscribe to the newsletter.

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