The IDEAS Festival is a not-for-profit event hosted by the Educational Charity IEX. 


Thurs 12 April



Don't cry. Get in touch.



Is the work police do at a Crime Scene just like it is on TV or in the movies? Find out from an expert who has been there.

Discover the true different roles and responsibilities of Police at Crime Scenes and learn how to fingerprint.

Can you discover who has been there before?

Hands on fingerprinting experiments. Searching for Fingerprints and lifting them.


SC Marty Bagnall


Marty has been a Police officer for 15 years all in Nelson. Part of his role in the Police is as a Scene of Crime Officer (SOCO) and Forensic Photographer.

This means attending Crime scenes such as Burglary, Arson, Sudden Death & Fatal car crashes. Reconstructing a crime scene through evidence left behind helps us to identify the offender.



Does the temperature increase, decrease, or stay the same in the reaction between 2 chemicals?

In this practical laboratory session we will investigate exothermic and endothermic reactions.

Make loud bangs and release heat, investigate hand warmers and balloons that inflate themselves, measure temperatures and combine chemicals to learn how energy is involved in breaking and forming chemical bonds. 

Tristan Riley



Tristan Riley is a Science and Chemistry teacher at Nelson College.

He is famous for his enthusiasm and energy…

…and for blowing things up.  



Join the Otago Museum team and hold stardust in your hands!

Feel the power of a Big Bang as you explore star fusion and the creation of new elements.

From the first moments of creation to understanding our amazing planet, be prepared to feel adrenaline rushing through your body as we enjoy some incredible science demos that will inspire you to make our world a better place.

Amadeo Enriquez-Ballestero

What do you get when you mix Spanish passion with science? …Amadeo, a crazy passionate science communicator.

Amadeo became a teacher so he could help those that struggle with science in school. His goal is to have everyone enjoy science as that is ultimately what will make the world a better place. He mixes science, art and technology in all his programmes.


In this DOUBLE SESSION you will immerse yourself in the world of virtual reality. Play with the latest in cutting edge hardware and software used by industry professionals.

Explore a variety of virtual worlds from open environments to interior architecture. Learn the key fundamentals and techniques involved and construct your own compelling virtual experiences.

Jacob Barrow

With over a decade of Visual Effects experience, Jacob combines his artistic talents with passion for cutting-edge technology to create compelling 3D animations and imagery. He has worked on many films including Avatar, The Hobbit and The Avengers, he is currently focusing on virtual reality and interactive media. Jacob creates innovative virtual experiences for national and international clients.



What does a bioluminescent creature that lives in the deepest part of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think!

Meet some of the weird and wonderful animals in the world of bioluminescent deep, including some sharks!

Learn about angler fish, viper fish, firefly and squids. Scientists estimate that bioluminescence evolved more than 40 times so you can be enlightened.

Melissa Márquez

Melissa Cristina Márquez is a marine biologist and wildlife educator who studies sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras (Chondrichthyans).  She created The Fins United Initiative to provide access to free, scientifically accurate materials. A TEDx speaker and active science communicator, she also enjoys painting shark skin patterns, provides career guidance and has a Spanish-speaking podcast (ConCiencia Azul) here she discusses marine science issues.



This DOUBLE SESSION is a fun and easy gateway into the world of special effects makeup. Create your own scars, scabs, cuts, bruises etc. Explore basic techniques, tips/tricks and safety to create the best make-up scare you can. Learn the basic knowledge required to open up pathways interest in SFX makeup as a successful hobby. Let your imagination go wild with lots of free room to create the goriest and most creative looks you can.

Annie Davies

Annie has a great passion for SFX makeup and has been doing it as a hobby for 4 years.

Currently a Year 12 student she is building experience towards becoming a SFX makeup artist and one day work at Weta Workshop. She has an affinity with all areas of the arts and has developed that into the love of SFX she has today. 



Time to have fun with compressed air.

Compressed air is important for a transfer of energy in many processes. Gases can be compressed and when released will provide some very interesting results.

We will experiment with bottles, balloons, rockets, balls and other containers that hold compressed air.

Sterling Cathman 

Sterling is a specialist primary science teacher has been working with kids and teachers for the past 10 years in schools around NZ. He teaches science to all age groups from new entrants to Y8. Sterling is also the Director of Mr Science Ltd, whose main focus is on Innovation in Education!  They create fun educational activities that make it easy for teachers to teach science.



Consider yourself a Brainiac?  Put your grey matter to the test and see if you can separate brain fact from brain fiction.

Enter the world of optical illusions and learn some mind-bending tricks to experiment on your family and friends.

Also learn about cutting-edge methods used in neuroscience to get a sneak peek into our brains at work.

Meg Spriggs

Meg is passionate about improving the health of the ageing brain. In her research, she uses neuroimaging to search for changes in brain structure and function that may one day assist in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. She is now undertaking a PhD with Brain Research New Zealand at the University of Auckland.



The truth is our world and our people are aching. Climate Change, severe hunger, extreme poverty.. the list is long and the pain is deep!

…but there’s good news;  Hope is breaking through and you can be part of that change. Together, we’ll explore the world we live in, its’ beauty, the extreme challenges and the unique role you have to play in it all.

Alex Hitchmough 

Alex joined World Vision after working overseas with NGO’s in Cambodia and rural Timor Leste alongside youth volunteers on a variety of outreach and development initiatives.  Alex is passionate about the influence of young people and loves the collaborative and open-minded approach of the next generation. She loves her current role in the World Vision Schools Team working with young kiwis and these days, Alex calls Christchurch home.  



How would you describe yourself to others?  How do others see you?
What is your personality colour? Red, blue, green or purple?  What career path might best match your personality?

Have fun finding out about your personality style, that of those around you and how you work together. So how can you prepare for tomorrow’s careers with such a volatile, confusing and sometimes bleak outlook?

Raewyn Laurenson

As well as teaching, Raewyn is currently enrolled in her Phd with the University of Auckland about counselling and coaching in the workplace. Her qualifications include M.Ed (Hons) (Couns) B.A (Hons) Dip Teaching. 

Prior to joining NMIT, Raewyn’s background included private practice in workplace counselling, coaching and supervision and working in executive recruitment in Australia and New Zealand.



What is it like examining peoples’ eyes, and generally being an eye doctor about town?

Hear about Antony’s journey into eye medicine and learn what he does and why he enjoys it so much. This session includes the use of images, video and maybe live demonstration!  

See some laser zapping, cataract removal and explore what is going on inside your eye.  Also discover some advances to help people with poor vision and how you can care for your eyes.

Dr Antony Suter

Antony studied medicine and travelled a lot before settling in Nelson with his family.
He juggles eyeballs (usually not literally) as an Ophthalmologist at Nelson Hospital and in private practice, helping people by operating on their eyes and caring for the various conditions which affect their eye comfort and vision. Antony is an expert with light, lenses, lasers, tiny sharp knives, the smallest needles used in medicine, and fortunately, local anaesthetics.



The simplest description of Ice cream is that it is a finely divided dispersion of  ice crystals, fat droplets, sugar, and air bubbles.

In this session you will discover how this combination becomes something as yummy as ice cream is and you can explore the science of freezing which brings about the magical transformation.


The team of Culinary Arts tutors have worked all over the world in cafes, restaurants, superyachts, luxury hotels and resorts but they have all discovered that Nelson is a wonderful place to live and to bring up children.

Past roles have included working as a senior chef in a Michelin star restaurant in London for Gordon Ramsay and working for Rick Stein’s Seafood School in Padstow, England. Also teaching cooking programmes in primary and high schools Now they are ready to share their exciting ideas and skills with you.



An amazing opportunity to experience the brand new ‘Kongsberg ships navigation bridge simulator’ used during all nautical training programmes.

You will be using real navigation equipment and gain development of situational awareness. Navigate your vessel through a variety of challenging situations and weather conditions.

Which scenario will you have?

Stuart Whitehouse

Born in the UK, Stuart grew up around the sea and was always a keen sailor which eventually led to his career in the superyacht industry. After 6 years in the Caribbean/Atlantic he got to explore NZ, the South Pacific and sailed back to Europe via Thailand, Myanmar, The Maldives and the Red Sea (and yes dodging Pirates off Somalia)!

Stuart then worked for 3 years as an instructor at Outward Bound New Zealand before taking up his role with the Superyacht programme at NMIT. 



Come and discover more about the magical world of masks.

This fun and artsy session is perfect for you if you love to create!

Explore your imagination through the art of creating your very own mask masterpiece. This session will be jam packed with glitter, sequins and feathers, so come ready to unleash your inner artist!

Grace Dennis & Gracie Bean

Both Grace and Gracie have a passion for practical arts and hope to continue their hobby through university. Grace loves art and is studying three art subjects – she is always on the go and seeking the next exciting opportunity.

Ever since Gracie was little she has had a love of the arts. She also loves science and aspires to pursue a career in medicine in the future.



Who makes the law and what drives this?

How does the law respond to new issues?

How are fundamental rights protected?

How do ethics influence the law and the way it is implemented?

How are ethics protected and compromised?

Explore and discuss this through some examples and find out what you can do to make a difference to the future of
NZ and the world and you could experience a live link up to Parliament!

Sue Grey


Sue studied science and environmental management before law. She specialises in emerging issues which are often high profile and combine her love of science, law and public interest. 

Sue has led cases in all levels of the NZ courts, spoken publicly around NZ on a range of issues and is regularly asked for media comment.  A self-employed mother of three, Sue enjoys travel and a range of outdoor activities.


Did you ever hear that story about... your life? Was it boring? Exciting? So-so​​​​​​​?  

When we find the meaning behind stories, we make them great.  

Your life is a story. You get to create it, live it, and brag about it. If it sucks, change it. 

We’ll discuss how to live your story well. Then we’ll discuss how to go make some more amazing stories...

Cassa Grant

Cassa is a writer, a speaker, and a story strategist for sustainable companies. She has spent her life working and traveling around the world. Most recently, she worked in Antarctica for five years. 

 She loves great stories, and she really loves the interesting people who tell them. Cassa also likes helping people tell better stories about themselves by figuring out how to live with intention.



PrepAIR to learn and play! We will be exploring the physics of air and energy.

Pressure, clouds and more, learn about the invisible mixture that is all around you.

Discover how to shrink and expand marshmallows using the powers of physics, use energy to make a mess and so much more.

Alexia Landry & Estella Grant


Alexia and Estella are students with a passion for science.

Alexia’s favourite subject is physics and she is planning on studying physics at university.

Estella is thinking of studying engineering in university. They both think that physics is a very important subject as it is the study of how the universe works, and there is so much that is still unknown.



You’ve seen the stars in the sky…

You may have seen glow worms in caves…

What if you could hold living
light in your hands?

Get up close and personal with glowing bacteria, learn how scientists use this light to find new medicines, and find out what happens when bacteria are given energy drinks!

Hannah Read & Priyali Patel


Hannah and Priyali are microbiologists and bioluminescence enthusiasts who work with glowing bacteria to find new medicine and make poop glow.

They are scientists (Research Fellow and PhD Candidate) from the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab (University of Auckland) and Brightenz, a company which aims to demystify science for everyone and to put science in unexpected places.



Discover how working with a Hyperbaric oxygen chamber speeds up  the wound healing process.

Have a look at some pretty  gory  pictures including some fascinating fleas doing some hatching  with the larvae wriggling round in your carpet and furniture. Play ‘What’s wrong with this picture?' Examine x-rays and see if you can tell  who’s bones they are and what has  happened to them.

Annette McFadgen


Annette started her working life with a basic training in office procedures. She went from there to learning to drive a truck. Next came her OE  as a Nanny and Horse riding instructor.

On returning to NZ she saw an advert for a Vet Nurse which she thought sounded like an interesting  job… and it was!

Annette is still doing it 20 years later and there is no such thing as a  boring day.



Acting is a fun and safe way to express yourself and most importantly, have fun!

It tests your abilities to think on the spot and communicate with others. This session aims to inspire you to go further with the basic acting knowledge you gain.

Learn how to improvise, interact with one another and take on a character - all of which will set a strong foundation to begin your acting future.  If you love it, do it

Caitlin Brennan


Caitlin became fixated with acting and singing as a child and hopes to pursue a career in acting. She is a Grade 8 Trinity College London Musical Theatre student, co-runs Theatresports at Nelson College for Girls and has received Excellence in Acting awards in competitions. Caitlin is fascinated by how exhilarating and rewarding acting is and loves sharing the story she is telling the audience members. Nothing makes her happier than when she is performing.



Do you love creating with invisible ink and painting on jelly?

In this session art and science get together with a difference! Design then draw using a solution of natural and completely harmless glowing bacteria.

When it grows-up (overnight) you will see how your creativity and living, glowing, microbes have made live science art. What will your Beautiful Bug painting be?

Linda Rogers


Linda facilitates learning excitement and energy!

If it doesn’t glow, fizz, explode or bubble it had better have some other major quality worth learning about! 

She’s been teaching forever but she now knows that ‘really’ teaching is about helping students to innovate, explore and discover.  She is loving doing just that with her amazing new Nelson/Tasman Qi Education  programs.  



Discover the spectrum of light – from infrared to ultraviolet… and everything in between.

Explore visible light with coloured shadows and investigate the spectrum of different light sources.  Can you discover the elements found in the mystery star?

We will also find the edges of visibility using our ultra violet lamp and infrared camera.

Andy Wang


Andy (Xindi) Wang is an outreach coordinator for the Dodd Walls Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technologies.

When he's not working, you might find Andy rock climbing or painting miniatures. He completed his BSc(hons) and BA at the University of Auckland, studying chemistry, mathematics and philosophy, and now spends time thinking of cool, simple science experiments so everyone can get stuck into some scientific investigations.



In this session we will explore and experiment with technologies such as artificial intelligence and brain computer interfaces which are changing the way we interact with computers. We’ll be playing with some code and thinking about how the way we work with computers is changing so much it’s beginning to challenge our thinking about what makes humans human.

Chris Clay


Chris is originally from the UK and well known for having had many jobs. Now he provides seriously cool experiences that help people think about education and it’s role in creating the future. Named Microsoft’s International Innovative Educator in 2011, Chris works in science, technology and how we use education to create desirable futures. When he’s not doing this he’s building just about anything from cardboard and tickling his 2 kids.