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Wintec’s Hamilton Campus Hosts #Spark17 in August

Wintec’s city campus in Hamilton will once again be lit with creativity when #Spark17, the 19th annual Spark Festival opens in August.

Organised by Wintec’s School of Media Arts, the festival unites industry leaders from around New Zealand and the globe, providing opportunities for attendees to hear from, and meet specialists in the music, media, arts and design industries.

Speakers will share cutting edge trends, insights about the industry and provide encouragement for students in the arts sector during a dynamic week of learning and networking.

According to Spark Festival director, Megan Lyon, “The presenters we’ve gathered for #Spark17 reflect what’s going on at the cutting edge of the creative industries and the festival format will enable sharing ideas and insights in a unique way. In my opinion there’s no substitute for live presentation or performance. We’ve also got lots of practical workshops in the programme to help feed and inform creative endeavours.”

This year’s festival will showcase the work of New Zealander Kris Sowersby, the type designer responsible for the sans serif typeface National and the serif typeface Feijoa. Some of his newest fonts feature in the brand identity of #Spark17.

Another highlight is a conversation between Rhana Devenport, Director of the Auckland Art Gallery, and the Australian artist simply known as Nell. Nell’s work will be on display in an exhibition at Wintec’s Ramp Gallery, for the duration of the festival.

#Spark17 will also feature many home-grown creatives including singer-songwriter Hollie Smith, who will open the festival with a performance; Luis Viale and Bren Imboden of design agency Makebardo; Kristine Crabb of the clothing label Miss Crabb; and a live podcast by On the Rag, brought to you by The Spinoff. Also in the lineup is Journalist Melissa Davies; Critic and writer Anthony Bryt; Te Mahuki’s Tui Te Hau and artist Judy Darragh.

Spark Festival runs a programme of small-group workshops alongside the main presentations, in which attendees work closely with the practitioners to learn practical skills and receive feedback about personal projects and ideas – all at no entry cost.

This year’s workshops include a typographic illustration lesson with graphic artist Sarah Maxey, a practical exploration into fashion design with Kristine Crabb and a chatbot prototyping session with Jason Little and Johanna Roca from For the People (Sydney).

Wintec’s support of the Spark Festival for nearly two decades has ensured Hamilton registers on the national arts calendar, while giving something back to Hamilton’s students, the public and creative industries.

The programme runs from 14-17 August with presentations and panel discussions happening at Wintec’s Gallagher Hub and workshops in assigned rooms around the city campus. Exhibitions, events and an after party will all take place in various city locations – to see a copy of the Spark Festival programme, visit for more information, location details and a map.


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