CJ Holden had a dream about how he’d like to future proof Australia.
To create a festival-like conference that champions peer to peer learning.
Hailing from a background of working in events with a focus on cutting-edge trends overseas, CJ was keen to come to Australia to create an event that celebrated ‘the power of shared ideas’.
It was a conversation with consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier that got him thinking… Adam said, ‘Why don’t you create your own event? And that was the catalyst for my accidentally entrepreneurial journey.’
Held at Elements in Byron Bay, Space is a place that CJ says is where ‘you meet unlikely people and have unexpected conversations.’
Conferences, in CJ’s opinion, need an overhaul. They need to be fun. Dynamic. And they really need to be moving conversations to the next level.
‘Most corporate events are all suits and ties,’ says CJ. ‘It’s about speaker to audience – it’s always a one-way communication – it’s an old model. I didn’t want to replicate that. I wanted to do something fresh, so I chose Byron because it allows people to disconnect and go offline.
‘We are creating more of a festival audience where we want guests to be present in the conversations as they are having. It’s about meeting un-likeminded people, and having conversations with people who are outside your universe!’
Ok, so what does that actually look like?
‘I want to encourage peer to peer learning’ says CJ.
‘So at Space there are officially no speakers. But technically there are 250.
‘Every attendee has to be an active participant and design their own session. They co-create a schedule the week before the event and then over two and a half days they will present it in what will be like a festival environment.
‘You choose your own adventure. We remove titles, places of work. Every single session you go to you don’t know who’s running it – you will turn up because of the power of the title. Anyone can apply. This is not a CEO retreat. It’s not a marketing or advertising conference. It’s not innovation. It’s about finding people who are passionate about Australia and want to be a force for change.’
The event is happening 23–26 May with applications already rolling in. Those applications include an Astronaut candidate for Mars One, the lead singer from the Preatures, a Happiness Hacker, A SheEO global initiative to transform how we finance solutions for humanity.
‘We are currently just over 165 approved attendees and we would like to get to 250 – that’s where we will cap it– I feel quite passionate about having a group of people in a co-operative and collaborative setting – I am blown away by the diversity and thinking,’ said CJ.
‘People are not their jobs, I am interested in finding out how they are going to connect with others.’
Space still has some p l a c e… so to be part of this innovative think tank of collaboration and connecting, go to spaceseries.com.