FESTA 2018: A public festival of architecture, design & food

FESTA, the biennial weekend celebration of urban creativity returned to Christchurch Labour Weekend, 19–22 October 2018!

Thousands of Cantabrians as well as visitors imagined and experienced how the city could be different through a headline event that was live for one night only (and brought 12,000-14,000 people back into the city), and through projects and live events presented as part of the associate programme over the course of Labour Weekend.

Our 2018 programme comprised 50 plus events that explored the connections between food and the city.

The headline event: FEASTA! A spectacular celebration of architecture, community and food.

Christchurch has always had a powerful relationship with food and to celebrate this ongoing love FESTA threw a street party – a public feast of architecture, design and food. On Saturday 20 October artists, musicians, community groups, businesses, over 130 architecture students from across Australasia, as well as design and architecture professionals, came together to create a spectacular celebration of food and city-making, live for one night only. This collective reimagining of Christchurch took place in the city’s new public spaces.

FEASTA! fired up appetites and imaginations with installations, artists, performers, family activities, musicians, community groups, businesses, and lots of wonderful things to eat and drink.

This was a free, public event – open to all.

The Wider Programme

The associate programme built on the theme of feasting, exploring the interconnections between food and urbanism through workshops, talks, pop-up projects, family events, tours, live performance, artworks and more.

These ranged in scope from Dates with Plates to Food to Thought and took place at 27 different venues in the city over the weekend, beginning Friday (19 October) morning at 9am, and ending Monday night (22 October).

Food connects places, people and ideas and is an integral part of the urban fabric. From the domestic sphere to the workplace, from street scape to public space, it shapes our urban environment and has the capacity to enrich it. The food system (growth, distribution, consumption, waste) interacts with, and impacts, a range of areas: health, land, water, transport, economy, waste, identity, culture, environment, amenity, employment and equality to a name a few. It presents us many challenges in the twenty-first century, but also many opportunities – it is a great connector.

FESTA is a crowd-created festival – it was through the contributions of many that we were able to put on an urban-scale festival for Christchurch. Our programme explored the following:

  • Its role in smart cities
  • How it shapes the urban environment (now/historically)
  • The way we interact with the built environment through food
  • Its influence/reflection on different areas and architectures (from mall and food desert to urban farms, picnic spots and farmers’ markets)
  • Food resilience and food ecologies
  • Sustainability
  • Food insecurity (accessibility of healthy food)
  • Proximity to source
  • Its potential for participatory design
  • Food knowledge centres
  • Kaitiakitanga, mahinga kai, manaakitanga
  • As a catalyst for community development
  • Practices and traditions associated with it
  • Managing its waste streams
  • Collective imaginings of where and how you wish to share food
  • Land use etc.
  • Celebrating community based-food experiences and knowledge in suburban centres
  • Nutrition and public health


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