This Way Up 2024 festival highlights announced ~ early bird tickets now on sale, ends June 30

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This Way Up 2024 festival highlights announced ~ early bird tickets now on sale, ends June 30

The Australasian Writers and Art Directors (AWARD) has announced that This Way Up, Australia’s only pure-play creative festival, will return to Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art from 13-15 August.


Rallying innovators, critical thinkers and emerging talent across three days of prestigious events, ‘creativity’s breeding ground for worthwhile opinions’ will challenge every attendee to play a more active role in debating the pressing industry issues of the day, spotlighting creativity as a key driver of business and career growth.

AWARD Chair, Mandie van der Merwe, reflected on the previous year’s success, noting it has inspired greater aspirations for the 2024 festival: “This Way Up is renowned for attracting top-tier creative leaders, both local and international, and marketers and clients who are committed to sharing their perspectives and driving creative thinking forward. Our focus is on having the right people in the room, those who enrich and expand the conversation in every direction, but mainly up.

“The carefully curated program is designed to propel the discussion, offering attendees a chance to engage with a raft of ideas and leave inspired by the limitless possibilities of creativity.”

Highlights of the festival include:

Speaker sessions

AWARD has announced two internationally celebrated creatives Liz Taylor and Damon Stapleton, are the first keynotes for This Way Up in 2024. Taylor, Ogilvy’s Global Chief Creative Officer and 45th AWARD Awards Jury President, made history as the first woman to be named top CCO in The Drum’s 2023 worldwide rankings, while Stapleton, visionary CCO and Founder of The Monkeys Aotearoa, and MD, Accenture Song, is one of the most acclaimed creatives in the region.

Unmissable panels with the brightest minds in creativity: Hear from CCO and CMO teams who have thrived thanks to long-term creative partnerships and explore the careers of some of the industry’s most respected luminaries. Speakers include Mim Haysom, EGM Brand and Customer Experience, Suncorp, Andy Fergusson, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett, Brent Smart, Chief Marketing Officer, Telstra, and Micah Walker, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire, plus Dave Bowman, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis Groupe ANZ, Tara McKenty, Head of Innovation and Co-ECD, BMF, and Steve Coll, Chief Creative Officer, M&C Saatchi.

AWARD Hall of Fame black-tie dinner

On Tuesday 13 August, AWARD will host an exclusive gala dinner to celebrate this year’s Hall of Fame inductees – pioneers with a celebrated body of work who have defined a generation of advertising, the very few the industry can call legends. Inductees are usually nominated by the AWARD membership; however, for the first time in AWARD’s history, Hall of Fame nominations have been accepted from the broader industry, with close to 100 trailblazers nominated so far.


After its sellout inaugural year in 2023, AWARD Uni returns with a refreshed course syllabus curated and facilitated by Jonathan Kneebone (Co-Founder, The Glue Society), Mandie van der Merwe (CCO, Saatchi & Saatchi), Julian Schreiber (Partner & CCO, Special Australia) and Sarah McGregor (ECD, Denstu Creative). Designed for mid-weight creatives, two modules of a six-workshop program will take place at This Way Up, equipping delegates with practical hands-on experience, critical thinking and the confidence to maximise their day-to-day and long-term career potential.

The Gold Pencil Award Party

Join AWARD for one helluva festival wrap party on the evening of Thursday 15 August. The MCA’s Foundation Hall provides an incredible backdrop for the announcement of the most prestigious creative accolades of the year; the 45th AWARD Awards’ Gold and Special winners and AWARD School 2024 National Top Student. Expect live entertainment, food and drinks, and knockout views of Sydney Harbour. The Gold Pencil Award Party is the hottest creative ticket in town in August and you’ll get the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names and brains in creativity.

Early bird tickets are on sale now until 30 June. Book now.

This Way Up is supported by Meta, Google, LinkedIn, OMA and the CRA.