If you live in or around Gippsland, you may have already seen or heard about the inaugural Festival of Big Ideas held on Friday, 16th and Saturday, 17th June, at the Gippsland Performing Arts Center. The Latrobe Valley Authority saw getting involved with the Festival as a big step forward for the region. An opportunity to have the conversations that matter, to have a seat at the table and to hear from the people who live in the region about the region. The Festival allowed us to think deeply about what is happening locally and what we want our future to look like.
Dr Karl started the Festival, peppering the audience with questions, realisations and predictions of the future. While Dr Karl was brilliant, the real heroes of this session were the approximately 500 school students in attendance. Their readiness to jump onto ideas, join the conversation, ask questions and imagine a better future was inspiring.
Dr Niraj was another explosion of thoughts, ideas, maths and science, and this presentation left us with a lasting image of what our shared future could look like. However, these were just two of the more than 40 presenters, presenting on over 12 different topics. Each session allowed the audience to glimpse an inspiring future. However, this future also needs us. It needs people who are open to thinking about what they want their future to look like, how the region can support that vision and are willing to inspire others to follow.
The Festival of Big Ideas was an opportunity for the region to take a huge step forward! Often we do not feel confident enough to express an idea for fear of being ostracised or ridiculed if we dare to disagree with the dominant narrative. The Festival showed us that it was OK to question and debate and that these skills will be learned and used significantly in the future!