Seven reasons why Melbourne is the smartest city

Melbourne is a city of big ideas and creative thinking. Everywhere you look there’s a new way to up your smarts – and have fun along the way.  Here is how to get started.

We have a whole festival devoted to the future

Did you know Melbourne has a whole week dedicated to the future? Running from 20 to 26 May, Melbourne Knowledge Week will explore issues affecting the Melbourne of tomorrow: from sustainability and innovation to technology and health. The extensive program brings people together through games, workshops, performances, urban expeditions, conversations, maker spaces and parties.

flinders street station with flashing lights around it

Melbourne Knowledge Week is a whole week dedicated to the future


This year industrial design agency Moth Design transforms North Melbourne’s Meat Market into the 2019 Melbourne Knowledge Week Festival Hub. From keynote speeches to flagship events, this is the place to be. Check out the Utopian Foods café and bar where you can sample future food trends, including insects, hemp products and regenerative meats. If that doesn’t make your head spin, try the Melbourne City DNA exhibition where data comes to life through augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D visualisation and interactive maps.
A little girl looking at a robot

Melbourne Knowledge Week

Conversation is an art form

Melbournians love a good conversation – and there’s plenty to talk about at Melbourne Knowledge Week. Forget eating al desko, head to The Wheeler Centre where they’re asking ‘So what if…’ across a series of provocative Lunchtime Talks, like So what if AFL can cure democracy or So what if Melbourne was underwater? Over at the MKW Hub, Madeleine Dore will ask you to put your phone away and gather round the fire pit for Sunset Talks. Or enjoy the company of Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens at a special live recording of their podcast The Minefield.

Laneway Learning is a thing

Want to learn interesting stuff without the lengthy commitment and high costs of formal lessons? Laneway Learning is a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates relaxed, inexpensive (usually under $20) one-off evening classes led by passionate people. Venues include  Madame Brussels and Cartel Roasters as well as the Stephen McLaughlan Gallery in the Nicholas Building. Brush up on your grammar knowledge or discover the power of positive re-thinking.

We are an UNESCO City of Literature

Melbourne has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature since 2008. Key to this prestigious designation is The Wheeler Centre, a hub for books, writing and ideas, hosting hundreds of public events every year. During May there’s a heap of high profile writers and thinkers in town for the Mayhem season (running until 15 May), including Paul Holdengräber and Pulitzer Prize winner Andrew Sean Greer

The School of Life has a home here

It used to be an abstract concept, but since 2008 The School of Life has been a real place. Their Melbourne ‘campus’ is designed for conversations that help lead to more fulfilled lives and a better world. Buy a book, a decision dice, or a 15-minute timer to help you set aside some me-time. Find out about upcoming classes, workshops, retreats, intensives, secular sermons and therapies inspired by the humanities, from philosophy to visual art.

Two women sitting at a table in a cafe drinking coffee, with a bookshelf behind them

The School of Life

We have a salon devoted to First Nations history

Between 2 to 12 May, YIRRAMBOI Festival celebrates two thousand generations of continuous living culture across more than 100 events, all presented by First Nations creatives. Free activities include the History Salon where  inspiring creative leaders like Tiriki Onus will honour traditions and share the wisdom of their experiences. Gather, listen and learn.

Our libraries are next level

Libraries are not what they used to be. Library at The Dock, a cool 21st century building, offers books as well as a recording studio, creative editing suites, community meeting spaces, study areas, a performance venue and gallery space. Their public programs include classes in video games creation and professional circuit design, kids coding sessions, comic book workshops, Raspberry Pi hacking sessions and much more. 

Two people pointing to a screen on a desk in a library

Library at the Dock