Showcasing the creativity of our future workforce

Art of the Possible image

University of Adelaide student Cornelia Jin's digital artwork submission in the inaugural Art of the Possible Festival. Cornelia is studying a Bachelor of Criminology.

A team of University of Adelaide students has produced a new festival, which fuses technology and art, for South Australia.

The inaugural Art of the Possible Festival (19–22 July 2021) celebrates the creativity that exists in everyone, from aspiring artists to scientists, and even astronauts.

Partnering with local and international organisations in arts, artificial intelligence (AI), and space, the festival highlights the bridge between technology, innovation and art, and includes exhibitions, events, speakers and concerts.

International partners collaborating with University of Adelaide students on creative works include: MIT, Bath Spa University, Berklee College of Music and New Space Journal in Washington DC. Along with local partners the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning, the Sia Furler Institute of Contemporary Music and Media and the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources.

The event has the endorsement of esteemed University of Adelaide graduate former NASA astronaut Dr Andy Thomas AO and South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills, the Hon David Pisoni.

"It’s wonderful to see an initiative where arts and sciences work together. I am excited that the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources is encouraging students to produce creative outputs as part of the inaugural Art of the Possible Festival," Dr Thomas AO said.

“The Marshall Government values the economic contribution of the creative and hi-tech industries to the South Australian community,” said Minister Pisoni.

“By merging future technologies with creative industries the Art of the Possible Festival is helping unlock the potential for the positive transformation of both art and science.” 

More than 100 submissions for the Festival were received from students at the University across mediums including music, digital art, creative writing and virtual reality, as well as in emerging fields such as AI art and journalism about ‘New Space’.

Festival Creative Director, University of Adelaide commerce and humanities student Hussain Chaudhry, said: “The Festival provides entrants with a platform to showcase their work, expand their portfolios and get their work out into the public.

“Our goal is to bring communities together and allow them to experience the creative potential of our student body.”

Mr Chaudhry is one of the students working on the Festival, as part of his studies. "It has been such an incredible journey co-creating a festival that is all about celebrating creativity through the lens of art and innovation,” he said.

“As a student-led start up, it’s been exciting to have opportunities to collaborate and learn from other organisations involved in innovation to bring the Festival to life.”

The Festival is led by Professor Thomas Hajdu, Director of the University of Adelaide’s Sia Furler Institute, offering students real-world experience in running a festival and operating a lean business start-up.

“The students manage every element from planning, design, content curation, sponsorship and marketing, with each student taking on a role in line with their career aspirations. It’s a very hands-on way for students to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills.”

Professor Hajdu also says it has been great to be part of an initiative that highlights the creativity of all students, regardless of their field of study.

“Year after year creativity is becoming an essential skill for the workforce. The World Economic Forum states that in 2022 creativity will be one of the top three skills needed for the workforce of the future, so it’s essential we encourage student creative endeavour.”Professor Thomas Hajdu, Director of the University of Adelaide's Sia Furler Institute

The Festival includes two exhibition spaces on campus. The Ira Raymond Exhibition space will host works across virtual reality, AI, and digital art. The Barr Smith Library Reading Room hosts works in music, literature and journalism.

In line with the tradition of the Barr Smith Library Reading Room being a quiet space of study and contemplation, each exhibit will have a unique QR code visitors will scan to listen to and read information using their smartphones and headphones. “Creating a somewhat ‘silent rave experience’,” Professor Hajdu said.

The virtual reality exhibit includes works from students who are part of ‘Realities Extended’, a new transformational program at the University of Adelaide delivering cutting-edge immersive technology and research services.

Steve Cook, Director of Realities Extended says: “I’m really glad and excited to be part of the Art of the Possible Festival. It’s a great opportunity to showcase, creative and innovative student work.”

“As part of a collaboration with Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom, our display includes articles sent into space and back to Earth, which are now represented in virtual reality for audiences to experience firsthand.”

As part of this year’s Festival, the Art Intelligence Agency, will host its second annual hackathon on campus at the University’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning. Here AI engineers and artists will work together, merging the worlds of AI and art with the intention of creating an original installation for Lot Fourteen.

Professor Hajdu, with Associate Professor Nickolas Falkner from the University’s School of Computer Science, and guests from MIT and Berklee College of Music, will discuss Adelaide's opportunity to become the first node outside the US to be part of the Open Music Initiative. The Initiative promotes the creation of open source standards to ensure proper compensation for creators and music rights holders.

What: Art of the Possible Festival

Where: ***Now an online Festival - register for events to receive live-streaming details***
North Terrace campus, University of Adelaide. Venues include Lot Fourteen, the Barr Smith Library Reading Room, the Ira Raymond Exhibition space, Elder Hall, Scott Theatre, and the Uni Bar. 

When: Open 10 am to 4 pm, Monday to Thursday, 19–22 July 2021

Cost: Nil

More information: To view the catalogue, event program and register for events visit:

Art of the Possible - space exhibit

L to R: Tristan Castle - Masters of Immersive Media Technologies student, with Matthew Hall - Computer Science, Major in Artificial Intelligence, and Art of the Possible Festival Creative Director, student Hussain Chaudhry - Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing, with a digital representation of the virtual reality space exhibit of treasured items which went into space with former NASA astronaut Dr Andy Thomas AO. 

Tagged in featured story, AI, machine learning, sia furler institute, Art of the Possible