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What to Expect from Festival X 2020

UON’s annual Festival X is coming to us a bit differently this year. Charlotte Lloyd chats about what’s on and how to stay in the loop.

Each year Festival X is held by the University of Newcastle’s School of Creative Industries to showcase the graduating student’s major projects. This includes talent from students within Visual Communication Design, Music, Natural History Illustration, Communication and the Creative Industries for them to leave their mark from 2020. But this year is a little different from usual. COVID, everyone’s best friend, means this two-day event from the 13th-15th November will be delivered virtually. It’s not the same, but it still offers the opportunity for you to be able to walk through virtual galleries, watch short films, documentaries, animation, live performances, and, so much more.

The director of this festival and a senior lecturer of the School of Creative Industries, Dr Andrew Howells, is confident in this year’s Festival X despite disruptions caused by the pandemic, as it’s not only a great way to showcase student talent but their resilience also.

“We’re incredibly proud of our talented students and above all, this is a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase years of dedication to their craft to their family, friends, and the wider community.” – Dr. Howells

This is a great way to support those in these industries especially with the year we’ve all had and the pressures and stresses these industries, in particular, have faced due to the pandemic. Below is just a snapshot of the type of events you can expect from the two-day event and while we all know that the event being in person would make it all that much better, the virtual experience also allows you to become immersed in new and innovative platforms specifically built and tailored for this event.

Festival X Virtual Gallery

Open throughout the weekend and for the duration of the festival, the virtual gallery allows you to admire and adore works developed by students within Visual Communication Design, Natural History Illustration, and the Creative Industries under the banner of #covidcreations (which is the theme of all their works). A virtual gallery is no small feat for anyone so two students have produced an interactive platform built for this event which will house 100 creations.

The 5th Annual Newbies Awards

Friday the 13th of November will be one of the biggest nights for UON, and no I’m not talking about the end of Week 13 and Uni for another year. The Annual Newbies Awards Screening showcases the best of this year’s media projects. Held at 6.30 pm, online, it will follow the best drama, animations, major screens works, documentaries, and 10 short films. After the screenings is the award ceremony that recognises the most outstanding works in varying categories.

Hockey Dad Collaboration

Say hello to new plans for your Saturday night on the 14th of November. This Festival X event features a preview of a new project with Aussie musicians Hockey Dad. This saw the students have a week-long collaboration with Hockey Dad. This music documentary is directed by UON lecturer and filmmaker, Dr. Stuart McBratney. This is a preview of a major project and is all thanks to the University of Newcastle’s partnership with BMG.

What’s NeXt

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As part of the upcoming Festival X, join the discussion with young and dynamic creative professionals set out to answer all your questions about what's next after your degree. What’s Next is a Q&A structured discussion panel geared towards fostering the creative youth embedded in the Hunter region. With distinguished professionals; Clare Wilkinson, Isaac Whitten & Dr Ari Chand discussing their transitions from studies to a career in industry, this event is a must attend for those looking to cultivate their studies into an employable business model. Register through the link in our bio and we’ll see you there! 🎉 ⁣ ⁣ ** Please note: this event is open to UoN students only.

A post shared by School of Creative Industries (@uonsoci) on

Curated by a student himself, Jesse Lloyd has created a Q&A structured event which looks at creative professionals in varying degrees, to chat about what’s next after you finish your degree in an attempt to foster the growth of those young creative professionals in the Hunter. Held on Thursday 12th November, in person this time, at NUspace, this event gives you all the insights you want to know about getting that dream job or even just talking about getting some inspiration about moving forward after your degree.

“A degree within the creative industries is unlike any other, it opens up many wonderful opportunities in different avenues but dissimilar to degrees such as teaching or law, there is no set career path and transitioning from student to professional is not as straightforward.” – Jesse Lloyd 

There will be three panelists there to answer all your questions; Clare Wilkinson, Dr Ari Chand, and Issac Whitten having a chat about their transition from study to work. This event will give you all you need to know about cultivating your studies and using those to enhance employability when entering the workforce. This will be one of the few real-world events in an otherwise virtual graduation show. As such, registration is essential.

Other Information

As well as this, 3rd Year Public Relations students, as part of their final project, have produced lots of incredible prizes that are up for grabs. These include:

To enter all you have to do is go to the Festival X Virtual Gallery between the 13th-15th November and click the ‘win’ links in each project bio and fill in your details. This provides amazing experiences and allows you to get your foot in the door of a professional workplace with working business people. For more information, you can go to UON’s School of the Creative Industries LinkedIn post here.

And while this is only a grasp at what Festival X entails and there is much much more to see (check out the full program here), it is more important than ever to support these industries and the students entering an unstable and unsteady workforce that is constantly changing and evolving. The prospect of leaving university is scary, regardless of a pandemic, and no matter what degree you’re in. The students involved in this festival have used their last projects as a way to capture what their three or odd years have meant to them.

 Feature Image: Alice Kjoller, Yak Media Designer 




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