Wisdom, resilience and social change are the guiding themes of THINK WEST, a new festival created for and inspired by Melbourne’s diverse West, running for the first time in November 2016.

Devised by global culture enterprise, The School of Life, powered by Highpoint Shopping Centre and with a program being developed in conjunction with key arts, cultural, education, sporting and commercial organisations in Melbourne’s West, THINK WEST is a thought-provoking celebration of philosophy and culture, thematically curated around subjects that are relevant to life in the Western suburbs, and wider.

The THINK WEST festival will run across a variety of both iconic and underground venues in Melbourne’s West, with a program encompassing major events and panels featuring headline speakers such as comedian Meshel Laurie, human rights advocate Mariam Issa, TV personality Jamie Durie, and actor and writer William McInnes. Intimate workshops and classes on topics as diverse as reading, mindfulness and storytelling will also be held, plus cultural therapy sessions, walking tours and more.


“Wisdom, resilience and social change are evident in different forms all over the West and as a local resident myself, I see this every day. I am proud to bring THINK WEST to the community and inspired to work with so many local community organisations and Highpoint Shopping Centre to deliver the festival,” said Kaj Löfgren, THINK WEST Festival Director and Founder of The School of Life in Australia.

“For a long time Highpoint has been the place where people connect from all across the West. Highpoint is thrilled to be powering THINK WEST in partnership with The School of Life. This festival allows Highpoint to engage with our community in a meaningful way – both inside the centre with the festival taster program, and outside our walls in places that together, help make up the exciting social fabric of the West,” said Ben Gill, Highpoint Regional General Manager.

Maribyrnong City Council has also pledged its support for the Festival: “Council is very proud to support a diverse range of festivals through our Festival City program of extraordinary events. Festivals such as THINK WEST cultivate local and emerging talent and bring it to the forefront for our broader community to access and enjoy, and we are therefore delighted to welcome THINK WEST to the Festival City calendar in 2016. We look forward to what promises to be a thought-provoking fortnight of activities and events,” said Mayor Cameron McDonald.


Major events that are part of the THINK WEST festival program include:

  • A Night of Awe and Wonder at Melbourne Planetarium
    Gain a new perspective and reclaim a sense of awe and wonder with astronomer Dr. Tanya Hill and philosopher Dr. Patrick Stokes at Melbourne Planetarium.
    Saturday 12 November, 7pm at Melbourne Planetarium, presented in conjunction with Scienceworks
  • Meshel Laurie On Resilience
    Comedian, radio and television personality Meshel Laurie talks to The School of Life about cultivating resilience, embracing failure and how to bounce back from difficult situations.
    Thursday 17 November, 7pm at The Sun Theatre, Yarraville
  • Shai Reshef and Matthew Beard on “University of the People” and Universal Education Education Pioneer and President of University of the People (“UoPeople”) – the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university, Shai Reshef, talks to The Ethics Centre’s Matthew Beard about the philosophical and ethical implications of universal education.
    Friday 18 November, 6:30pm at The Substation, Newport
  • THINK WEST LIVE: Urban Wisdom featuring Meshel Laurie, Rebecca Barnard, Maree Clarke and Mariam Issa.

    Discover the local, traditional and contemporary wisdom of Melbourne’s west in this unique evening event. Co-produced by Footscray Community Arts Centre and The School of Life, great thinkers of the west will share their personal stories and ideas on how we can live wisely and well. Learn to embrace ageing with comedian Meshel Laurie, mourn well with artist Maree Clarke and cultivate resilience with human rights activist Mariam Issa. We’ll be guided through four key ideas, with musical interludes curated and performed by Rebecca Barnard.

    Saturday 19 November, 7pm at Footscray Community Arts Centre, presented in partnership by The School of Life and Footscray Community Arts Centre.

The THINK WEST festival runs until 20 November 2016 and comprise over 40 events.

Tickets to the ‘taster program’ and festival events are on sale now via thinkwest.com.au. Follow the conversation via #thinkwest.

About The Author

Katherine Ng

Katherine is not your typical Beauty Editor. Finance consultant by day and beauty and fashion addict at all other times, Katherine spends her hard-earned money helping the Australian and international economy with her never ending pursuit of everything pretty. A keen traveller, Katherine still holds dear her Melbourne roots with an overflowing wardrobe filled with black clothes, shoes and handbags. Katherine also has a deep love of food and wine, and you can find those adventures on instagram at @thegreedykat Email: kath@couturing.com Twitter: @kath_couturing Instagram: @kath_ng

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