Vivid Sydney. Get ready for 2016! Part 1. Sydney University Vivid Display

Well, what an amazing ride Sydney’s Vivid festival was. While arguably not as good as the previous year, depending on who you speak to, Vivid Sydney’s 2015 event was still a refreshing and artistic light show organised by both amateurs and professionals. There was something for everyone.

For me, seeing Intel’s drones on display in Martin Place was the highlight, but then I like anything robot-like!

I also like artistic manipulation of geometric shapes, so creative use of shadows in light forms to change the shape of a building, or structures closely resembling dodecahedrons or tetrahedrons, or even some basic prisms, will get my attention.

There were so many pictures and so much to discuss, that I’ve decided to do three separate picture posts, plus a video post.

I didn’t make it to Chatswood’s first Vivid display so I’ll hopefully do that in 2016.

First stop. Sydney University.


For the past few years I’d gone to the Rocks area, The Opera House, Martin Place and Darling Harbour to check out Vivid Sydney. This year I decided to check out Sydney University.

It had been years since I’d been there and they had put up a few new buildings which looked great. I used to be invited to functions by friends studying there and it was always good to explore, attend an event in the quadrangle, check out the graffiti tunnel, have a drink at manning bar or a coffee at the cafe underneath, and just chill in the university atmosphere.


My best memories of the place involved attending student parties and being carried away by the fun and sometimes the insanity!

One day I might even get the chance to study there!

So, coming back for a Vivid Festival there was pretty exciting. I was not disappointed.


Projected on the side of the main building, an hour long display of special effects videos made by students was played in the shape of the building itself. Some were under the banner intercellular while others had space and ocean themes.


My favourite was the use of shadow and lighting to change the shape of the building and make it look like it was collapsing or falling apart. I find any play with the structure appealing. The accompanying music also made it worthwhile.


Sydney University had set up a mini grandstand for people to sit on and watch and it was already packed before the 6pm showing had begun.


Nearby was a huge sign that simply stated ‘Beer’ that was worth checking out and it was great to see a brewery taking part in the university festivities. There were of course meat pie and pizza stalls.


Othere displays included a spherical hive with dry ice being pumped into the middle of it,


a box of white cubes with a regularly changing display,


and a glowing pyramid structure.


If you wished you could also sign a hand and place it in the grounds. From a distance the hands looked like a field of tulips.

Sydney University’s Vivid contribution usually finishes a week before the rest of the Vivid events, so if you have a spare hour or two in 2016, try and check out their event first.


Afterwards we walked around the middle of the quadrangle, went out the back to check the latest in the graffiti tunnel and also walked by Manning bar to see if everything was how I remembered it. Yes, it was.

We left and walked over the bridge to the Seymour Theatre to find out about the other event they were holding. A vivid music festival. There was another Vivid light installation with a computer keyboard you could play with outside, and inside was a queue of people getting ready for the next music display. $15 entry seemed worth it, but we didn’t have time so we’re sure that would be something to enjoy next time.

If you’ve done Vivid Sydney a few times and want something different, check out Sydney University when they do their event next. It’s a nice change and your chance to check out the most well-known university in Australia.

Click on the links below for the other parts

Part 1: Vivid Sydney. Get ready for 2016! Sydney University Vivid Display

Part 2: Vivid Sydney. Martin Place Sydney Vivid Display.

Part 3: Vivid Sydney. The Opera House. The Harbour Bridge. The Rocks.

Part 4: Vivid Sydney. Darling Harbour and Vivid Sydney compilation video featuring Sydney University, Martin Place, The Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks and more.


  • Neil A is an author, blogger and tutor, with a variety of books on Amazon. Check out his children's series here: