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Celebrating Parramatta North: Arts, Culture & Innovation in Western Sydney

Jenna Roberts
May 28, 2024

Parramatta North, home to the Western Sydney Startup Hub was bustling over the last week with a celebration of history, arts, culture, innovation and community, organised by the NSW Government.

The festival kicked off with Heritage Day, uncovering the compelling stories and rich history of the area, from the Burramattagal people of the Dharug Nation to the convicts that arrived in the 1820s.

The day began with a Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony, honouring the original custodians of the land. Following this, the event included free storytelling sessions, guided tours, Modern Koori Fusion cooking demonstrations, and an interactive screen featuring a historic timeline at the Western Sydney Startup Hub.

Havenstone buzzed with visitors who enjoyed a coffee and bite to eat from its heritage-listed café, while the precinct bustled with family-friendly activities, performances, market stalls, and food trucks.

Whilst reflecting on the past, we also looked towards the future during the festival with a series of panels, discussions and performances that highlighted the breadth of innovation and potential, shaping the area's future.

Speakers from local businesses participated in a panel discussion on Innovation in Western Sydney, including Hannah Dewick, co-founder of Connector Co. Connector Co is a healthcare startup who recently held their launch event at the Western Sydney Startup Hub, and returned to share their startup story and personal motivation that drives their passion for the health industry.

Transport for NSW also talked about urban design, featuring the Parramatta Light Rail project which is soon due to be completed, whilst Western Sydney University spoke about healthy, resilient and sustainable communities.

We also got to hear Spacecubed member and pianist, Judith Tan perform impressive live music at the pop-up bar whilst event goers enjoyed a drink to relax in between sessions.

Lailei Huang and Shuoyan Zhu from AIEA, who have been awarded Spacecubed's Impact Scholarship also showcased the rise of Artificial Intelligence out of the Western Sydney Startup Hub, where they have been working hard on developing their business out of our coworking space.

Thursday featured an interactive talk on ‘Seeing isn't Believing: An Immersive Exploration of Generative AI and Deepfakes’. After the informative presentation, the audience were invited to trial mind-blowing and realistic AI software. This entertaining conclusion to the evening allowed the audience to take turns transforming into celebrities, showcasing how you can’t believe everything you see online.

Then, on Saturday the public had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality, with 3 sold-out workshops taking place in our Main Hall allowing those of all ages to experiment with the technology. Attendees also got to experience designing the Parramatta river through a MR headset, and were able to bring still images to life through AI.

Made in the West also held various workshops for children with the aim to inspire the next generation, where they were able to showcase the rise of creative filmmakers in Western Sydney, followed by a networking evening at Western Sydney Startup Hub.

Throughout the course of the festival, Spacecubed member Christina Huynh was also able to showcase her talent by transforming a once ordinary wall into a beautiful mural as visitors got to watch her paint live. The colourful project is now complete, and you can see the artwork opposite the Main Hall of the Western Sydney Startup Hub!

If you missed the chance to attend Celebrate Parramatta North, there are plenty of events coming up at the Western Sydney Startup Hub this June and beyond, including our Podcast Studio Launch & Panel Discussion and the Plus Eight Pre-Accelerator Pitch Night. Discover all our upcoming events here!