VERGE DIRECTORS DEVIATE
USU’s Verge Festival is a 10 day, student arts and culture festival held at Sydney University’s main campus. The largest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere, this year’s theme is ‘deviate’ and will bring the University community together to experience the breadth and variety that student art embodies.
Kate Spira, a final year Commerce/Arts student, and Thomas Murphy, an Arts graduand, are this year’s Verge Directors tasked with the exciting, albeit huge, job of organising this incredible festival. Now in its twelfth year, Verge is about encouraging students to create art in a way that is meaningful to them. “We want it to be organic and natural,” says Kate. “It’s about being on the fringe and pushing the envelope rather than focusing on getting big names to exhibit or perform on campus. Students, after all, can create the best possible environment for each other, and that’s the whole point of the festival. Artists have the freedom to create what they want without restriction, for everyone’s enjoyment.”
With events like a sculpture walk, playing video games in a makeshift arcade in a shipping container and a cake decorating competition, Verge will deviate from the preconceived ideas of what student art is, and what it offers. But, organising a festival isn’t all fun and games; it’s been a steep learning curve for both directors. “Coming into an environment like this, without any previous experience, you have to find things out for yourself,” Kate says of her experience as a Verge Director. Thomas adds “you get thrown into the deep end, which is a good and a bad thing because you’re willing to take risks.” He adds that the most important thing that he’s learnt is “the importance of fostering the student artist community and how to make art viable.”
Kate and Thomas came up with this year’s theme together whilst applying for the Verge Director positions last year. Thomas believes the theme encourages new ways of thinking about student art. “We wanted to ‘deviate’ in terms of the way people think about the arts on campus and that’s why we have encouraged more original student art ,” says Thomas. Kate adds that “the focus on sculpture, and different types of art like cake decorating, video games and UV painting show how student art can deviate from previous expectations and experiences.”
The opening night party, LightHaus, is a UV party where students will receive free t-shirts they can decorate with neon paint and wear their creation in a social setting, so it’s about giving everyone the chance to be an artist in their own right. The other major evening events incorporate culture and art such as a Game of Thrones trivia night and Schapelle! The Musical, which is written and performed entirely by students. The closing night party, The Gathering, is held at Hermann’s Bar this year and is the ultimate chilled-out house gathering. Think beer pong, couches and comfy chairs. “It will be a massive yet chilled, fun house party, just like the one your parents never let you have,” says Thomas.
Kate and Thomas encourage anyone interested in arts, culture and gaining real-life experience to apply for the 2015 Verge Director roles . ”No other organisation gives you as much responsibility and autonomy as the USU does, allowing you to achieve whatever you want to achieve while also learning how to run a festival,” says Kate. “Indeed, the learning curve may have been steep but it’s been worthwhile simply for allowing students to realise their creative dreams.”
Verge Festival is held on campus from 8-17 October. Check out the full list of Verge Festival events.