Top five events to catch at Open State

By Melissa Keogh

The future. What will we eat and where will it come from? Will bugs save the planet? Will the robots take over? What will become of planet Earth?

Some of the brightest brains will gather in Adelaide later this month for the Open State Festival from September 28 – October 8 to ponder what the future will bring.

The festival features more than 100 events and workshops exploring the themes of future planet, cities, democracy, enterprise, humans and food.

Last year’s Open State attracted more than 25,000 people who rocked up to 65 events, bringing in $11m in economic value for South Australia.

The Open State hub is in Victoria Square but events will pop up at venues across Adelaide.

So, without further ado here’s our guide to the Top Five Open State events.


1. Bugs for dinner?
Stay with us.

Bugs are not only nutritious, but they are sustainable and research shows that they could hold the key to managing population growth and demands on natural resources.

Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects for food and at this family friendly bug eating expo you can meet Australia’s passionate bug eaters.

Attendees will learn about the financial, environmental and health benefits of eating insects and how creepy crawlies can be farmed sustainably.

You can sample a range of insects, insect based products and even learn how to match insects with wine.

Another bug event, an interactive forum, will go ahead earlier in the day from 9.30–11am (tickets $15).

When: October 2, 5–6.30pm
Where: Open State Dome, Victoria Square
Tickets: Free

Blog770pxRobot brains v human brains open state

2. Robots, Robots, Robots
What are your concerns and curiosities about robot brains?

Dr Jordan Nguyen and Dr Fiona Kerr will lead the Robot Brains V Human Brains Q&A that will explore how robotics can help us understand more about humans.

Attendees can learn how robotics teach us more about ourselves and where the robotic evolution is headed? Is a world with robots as intimidating as it sounds?

Dr Fiona Kerr is from the University of Adelaide and is a head thinker in cognitive neuroscience, human connectivity and the impact of technology on us mortals.

Dr Jordan Nguyen completed his PhD in biomedical engineering at Sydney’s University of Technology.

Drawing on a past experience of almost breaking his neck, Dr Nguyen developed a mind-controlled smart wheelchair for people with high-level physical disability.

When: October 2, 11.20am–12.20pm
Where: Open State Dome, Victoria Square
Tickets: Free

Blog770pxPreparing the digital workforce of the future cropped_open state

3. Work of the future
It’s no secret that the general workforce is transitioning to a more global, technology driven economy.

New, unheard of jobs are being created and young Aussies must reshape their mindset and current systems to keep up.

South Aussie Emily Rich will join fellow speakers Andy Barley and Bronwyn Lee at Preparing the Digital Workforce of the Future.

The trio will explore the research being undertaken to prepare young people for the future workforce and what skills they need to thrive.

When: September 28, 9.30–11am.
Where: Open State Dome, Victoria Square
Tickets: Free


4. Dumb diets
Three South Australians Dr Fiona Kerry, chef Simon Bryant and wine expert Paul Henry will lead this session to ponder Is your Diet Making You Dumb?

We already know that what we eat impacts us physically, intellectually and psychologically.

But is how we eat and who we eat with just as important as what we eat?

When: October 3, 3–4pm.
Where: Open State Dome, Victoria Square
Tickets: Free

Blog770pxTheWomensParliament open state

5. Girl power
South Australia has had a pretty good run in the gender equality stakes.

In 1894 in SA, women were granted the right to vote and stand for Parliament – the first legislation of its kind in the world.

But there is still things to be done, particularly with the representation of women in parliament.

The Women’s Parliament will debate and discuss economics, legislation, business, export, education, health, human rights, indigenous rights, arts and culture, social change and welfare.

When: October 5, 9.30–11am.
Where: Hawke Building, UniSA City West
Tickets: Free

This month’s I Choose SA for Industries stories are made possible by sponsor, the University of South Australia.