Vivid Ideas aims to light a spark in your brain and broaden your perspectives. 

If you’re just as keen to get thinking as you are looking when Vivid Sydney rolls around this year, here’s our pick of three Vivid Ideas events that will get you thinking about the world and your place in it. 

Gretchen Carlson and Lisa Wilkinson on Speaking Out

Gretchen Carlson is credited with laying the foundations for the #MeToo movement, but she wants that hashtag to only be the beginning of something greater. Aided by Australian media star Lisa Wilkinson, Ms Carlson will speak of her experiences and explain how society can shatter the culture of silence that women have been forced to endure for so long. Ms Carlson’s story inspired the movie Bombshell, where she is portrayed by Nicole Kidman, but this talk offers a chance to connect more intimately with her and her experiences. Ms Carlson emerged victorious in a landmark case that changed US legislation to protect survivors of sexual harassment and assault, making this a unique chance to see a social leader speak truth to power.

The Gospel According to Paul

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating was never keen on writing an autobiography, but Jonathan Biggins wanted to write one for him. Now Mr Biggins is delivering this autobiography on stage, allowing Mr Keating’s stories to be told with a theatricality and showmanship that match his own. Audiences will hear about our former leader’s highest and lowest points, on his journey from leaving school at 14 years old to becoming Prime Minister of Australia. You can even expect some musical numbers as NSW Parliament House comes to life in an ode to the witty former Prime Minister. Mr Biggins is one of the creators of the acclaimed Wharf Revue among other works and The Gospel According to Paul has already toured the country to endless acclaim.

The Future of Drugs

The sometimes-taboo topic of illicit drugs will be tackled by a range of leading health professionals and advocates who will delve into decriminalisation, legislation and medicalisation of illicit drugs. Professor of psychopharmacology Iain McGregor and his colleague Dr Samuel Bannister will discuss the benefits of medicinal cannabis across a range of medical problems and how Big Pharma is shifting towards the use of psychoactive plants and drugs. Dr Margaret Ross from St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne will talk you through her clinical trials on the use of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms. The session will be moderated by Jenny Valentish, a journalist, author and advocate who has long worked across mental health, addiction and substance abuse. 

Take me there

Where to stay

Sydney’s major hotel brands like to join in the fun of Vivid Sydney and set you up for your Sydney stay. 

Mercure Sydney will set you up for two nights in its four-star property from $279 per person, including daily breakfast, a Sydney Harbour lights cruise and dinner for two at City Extra Circular Quay.

Holiday Inn Darling Harbour has a similar deal running with $379 per person for three nights at a premium four-star hotel. You’ll again get breakfast and the lights cruise, as well as a guaranteed room upgrade and two-course dinner.

Park Regis City Centre also offers a three-star option, with a two-night stay for just $189 per person, with the lights cruise and a room upgrade rolled in as well.

You can find these deals on the official Vivid website.

Where to eat

One dining experience that’s hard to turn down over Vivid Sydney is the many companies offering dinner cruises over the harbour, allowing you to enjoy your meal as the city lights up around you. Check out companies like Captain Cook, Majistic Cruises, Clearview Sydney Harbour Cruises and more for this experience. 

For other premium eateries with a view of the action you can sip a cocktail or enjoy an oyster at the iconic Opera Bar, enjoy classic Australian cuisine at Barangaroo House or go for ultra luxury 36 floors up at Altitude Restaurant. 

Other top picks close to the major attractions include the fresh Australian produce at Mode Kitchen & Bar, the modern Cantonese menu at Mr. Wong and the 1912 pub-turned-modern dining institute, The Glenmore Hotel. 

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Why not treat yourself at Mr Wongs?

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