14 places to meet creative people in Auckland

by Kate Richards / 02 August, 2016

Above: Semi-Permanent.


I’m not a particularly creative person; you may even go as far as to call me square. Auckland is, however, home to thousands of people – young and old – for whom imagination and innovation know no bounds. If, like me, you’ve been actively seeking ways to seem more interesting, you will be pleased to know there are loads of awesome art and tech events across the city every month. You may also be pleased to know that many of these events cost very little to attend.

  1. The Watercooler: The Watercooler happens once a month. The live storytelling event's aim is to demonstrate how stories connect us and to give moody creatives a chance to get some things off their chests. You can apply to be a part of The Watercooler, which is great if you’re a moody creative looking to get some things off your chest. All previous talks are available to listen to online, so if you can’t make it to the actual event, there’s also a chance to catch up. Basement Theatre, 8:30pm, August 4.

  2. Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School: Not all of us have moved on from drawing in stick form. The good news is that live drawing class Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School has set up monthly residence at the Wine Cellar on K’ Road. Burlesque performers invite you to draw them in a non-judgmental, safe space. All are welcome for wine and a spot of drawing – $10 on the door. Next session: 7pm, August 2.

  3. Creative Mornings:  The Auckland chapter of this international free lecture series (with coffee!), features a new speaker each month on a topic decided globally. Past themes have ranged from love to failure to heritage and rebellion. Keep your eye on their website for details of the next installment, and get in quick - demand is always high. 

  4. First Thursdays: Since 2009, “on the first Thursday of three months a year”, K'Rd has hosted a pop-up event for artists, artisans and musicians to showcase their work. It’s basically a big old street party where you can mingle with like-minded people. Next event 6-9pm, August 4.

  5. Semi Permanent 2016: The local edition of the annual, international, two-day design conference with panel talks, art installations, film screenings and after-parties for, um, networking. Catch speakers from South Australian winery Wolf Blass, social media giants Google and Twitter and design studio Graphic Thought Facility, for starters. Tickets $230 upwards, August 12-13 at the Aotea Centre.

  6. LATE at the Museum: If the current socio-political climate has you in a bit of a funk, this four-part event series is for you. In partnership with Metro, LATE features panel discussions ranging from grassroots activism in the internet age to feminism in New Zealand, plus live performances and late-night exhibition openings. First event 6pm, August 9, tickets $20.

  7. Design Assembly: Design Assembly is a collective of graphic designers brought together by founder Louise Kellerman. Their regular programme of events aims to connect Auckland with the global design conversation. Next on the schedule: Kathryn Burnett on how to kick-start your own creative process - half a day of lectures and practical application might just be all it takes to become an innovative genius. Tickets start at $149, 9am-1pm, August 19.

  8. Scribble AKL: They describe themselves as a “creative conversations club”. Scribble runs events around the city on a bimonthly(ish) basis. It’s hard to box them, because they get up to loads of different things. That’s the point really – it’s unique and cool and fun. Follow them on Facebook for new event alerts.

  9. Auckland Zine Fest: Zines are in, and this annual festival celebrates their diversity. The whole thing is run by volunteers and is entirely non-profit, which means everyone can get involved.

  10. Women’s Collective: Lectures by women for everyone. Next up is US poet, artist and activist Cleo Wade on August 11, followed on August 15 by former NZME head Jane Hastings on the changing face of business. Seafarers.

  11. Designers Institute talks and Open Studios: In session 5, the fifth and final talk in the Designers Institute series, Jasmax Architects examines how digital technology has impacted creative industries. Free for members, numbers limited – Seafarers, 6pm, November 30.

  12. Spark Lab workshops: Again at Seafarers, these business-focused tech meetups take a practical approach with the aim of engaging people technologically in the ever- changing business landscape.

  13. Colab events at AUT: If emerging technologies get your synapses firing, check out Colab’s workshops, exhibitions and events such as the weekly maker nights on Wednesdays, where you can work on your own project, exchange ideas and collaborate.

  14. Social Media Club AKL: Loads of free events where you can enjoy a beer and get clued in on social media. Next up is a chance to unravel and critique the online presence of candidates in Auckland’s mayoral election. 6pm, September 22, Vodafone building downtown.

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