About Open State

Open State 2017 was a festival of innovation, collaboration, ideas and enterprise that explored how we can work together today to build a more vibrant and prosperous future South Australia. The festival was held over 11 days from 28 September to 8 October, and was attended by more than 17,500 people, celebrating South Australia as a place open to the world’s best ideas and a leader in collaboration to solve complex problems. 

During Open State 2017, 171 events were held across the six themes – Future Human, Future Enterprise, Future Democracy, Future Planet, Future Cities and Future Food – nearly tripling the number of events held the previous year. Events ranged from talks, panels, showcases, demonstrations, workshops, tours and other community activities. Many of these events were livestreamed and recorded, and can be watched here

Open State provided collaboration opportunities between community organisations, education institutions, government agencies and the private sector. More than 280 partners were involved. The Open State structure and collaborative approach to partnerships provided a catalyst to move citizens’ ideas into action and create a more participatory and prosperous South Australia. 

Transformational ideas were at the core of Open State. The festival brought together some of the best international thought leaders with national and local expertise. 243 speakers participated in Open State 2017 – 37 were international, 69 national and 137 local. Click here to have a look at some of the inspiring individuals who spoke at the festival. 

Open State also aimed to support and showcase local social enterprises, and achieved this through partnering with organisations such as GOGO Events, Harvest Fair and Hutt St Centre’s Beans Talk Coffee Cart

Open State committed to a ‘panel pledge’ – ensuring equal representation of men and women in the festival. Event partners were also required to commit to the pledge. This was achieved, with 121 male speakers and 122 female speakers involved in the 2017 festival. 

Open State had a strong and successful presence online in 2017, creating wider community engagement and bringing conversations to the global stage. In 2017, the Open State Twitter account reached 2.9 million accounts and achieved 34.6 million impressions, with a total of 15,761 tweets. These figures were a significant increase on 2016, which saw 1.8 million accounts reached and 18.6 million impressions. 

On Facebook, Open State had an audience of 812,350, a reach of 265,000 and achieved 50,722 video views in 28 days, up from a reach of 113,864 in 2016. 

2017 also saw the festival move to the heart of Victoria Square (from its previous home on North Terrace in 2016). The area included the festival’s two major pop-up event venues – the Hub and the Dome – an Information Tent, a pop-up Imprints Booksellers store, FAD tremma installation, food trucks and coffee carts. The prominent and accessible location of the Open State precinct meant the festival was more open and welcoming to members of the public. 

By opening the doors to new ways of thinking and doing, we learned more about what the future may hold for South Australia and how we can work together to implement our best ideas.