Spark Fest, Asia’s First Sexual Wellness Festival
SPARK Fest Asia has announced its inaugural standalone edition of SPARK Fest 2018: Asia’s 1st sexual wellness festival, taking place on 19 May 2018 at The Hive Lavender.
SPARK, which stands for Sexual Pleasure and Relationship Konversations, is founded by TEDx speaker, sex & relationship counsellor Erin Chen, and Yoga Instructor Sinnead Ali. They hope to encourage people to #lovemoreconsciously. The duo aim to #BreakTheWall and provide a curated space that brings conversations about sex, pleasure and relationships into the open.
This year’s SPARK Fest is powered by STRIP – Ministry of Waxing, and will feature Konversations, a series of expert panels and talks, art installations, an exciting marketplace with good food and live music, as well as workshops for visitors to participate in. In parallel, SPARK will also be hosting Asia’s first Sextech Hackathon, where we bring together a community of innovators and problem-solvers from all walks of life under the mentorship of our international panel of sextech experts.
Erin Chen, Founder of SPARK Fest Asia shares, “In my practice as a sex and relationship counsellor, there have been many instances of individuals, couples and even parents with questions about sexual wellness. They often do not know who to turn to for answers, due to the taboo nature of sex in Asia. It is time for us to #BreakTheWall and redefine sexual wellness as a topic that is part of healthy, happy living. At SPARK Fest, we are taking a balanced and holistic approach towards providing a safe environment for all genders to ask questions, have conversations about sex and foster the growth of society and the industry in a forward manner. After all, how do we change something for the better if we can’t even have a conversation about it?”
JWT Intelligence Group’s The Future 100 Report, which identifies the most compelling trends, themes and phenomena to watch annually, has recently identified the normalization and rebranding of sexual wellness as one of the top emerging trends in the Health industry.
SPARK FEST—THE FESTIVAL
As part of the initiative to kickstart SPARK Fest, they have invited 12 people from different walks of life to participate in #BreakTheWall, a five-part Facebook video series to talk about sex. Topics include some of the best and worst advice they have received, how they hope future generations will learn about sex, and more! The team also hit the streets to find out more about how Singaporeans feel about sex.
Watch the first instalment here: Taking the conversations offline, SPARK Fest will be featuring Konversations, a series of expert panel discussions by over 20 professionals from the wellness, sextech and media industries. The topics have been curated in part as a response to the growing conversations around #MeToo, the increase in awareness and speaking out against sexual harassment, and the desire for parents to teach their children differently on how to respond to potential situations.
Ultimately, The Konversations is about empowering people to create the intimacy and happiness they want to experience in their sexual experiences and relationships. The Konversations will be headlined by speakers including Sam Zhao, Founder of Yummy (China), Sanderijn Van Der Doef , Sexologist & Youth Sex Ed Expert (Netherlands), Anita Kapoor, Host, Activist and Author (Singapore), Mattias Hulting, Founder of Smile Makers (Sweden & Singapore) and Dr. Julinda Lee, Gynaecologist (Singapore).
SPARK Fest Asia will also be organising Asia’s first Sextech Hackathon from 18-20 May 2018 where people of all job descriptions with an opinion or idea on sexual wellness are welcomed to come shake things up.
Sextech is defined as technology, and technology-driven ventures designed to enhance, innovate and disrupt in every area of human sexuality and human sexual experience. This could mean addressing challenges from access to quality sex education, long-distance relationships, disability and sex, to closing the pleasure on third age sex. The human sexual experience is broad and diverse. According to the Guardian, sextech is a $30 billion USD industry growing at 30% a year, potentially outpacing high growth sectors like drone manufacturing.
Through the hackathon, SPARK Fest Asia hopes to encourage the next generation of local innovators and problem-solvers to come on board to solve challenges in the world of sexual wellness. “Similar to other STEM movements, we are especially hoping to see more female and diverse leadership in Asian sextech ventures. With examples like Unbound (USA), which has just raise 2.7 million USD, Dame Products (USA), and Intimate.io (AUS), women and diversity have proven to bring about creative innovations and disruptions in this area – and we need that element of “out of the box” thinking in Asia as well,” says SPARK Fest Asia founder and Women of SexTech member, Erin Chen.
The opening night of the hackathon will be held at the Straits Clan, where participants and Straits Clan members will hear from international speakers on the various challenges and opportunities in the sexual wellness industry. Hacking and pitching will take place on the following days at the Hive Lavender, a co-working space for creatives and makers, as well as the location of the SPARK festival.