Creative student collaboration creates sensory feast at VIVID 2022

William Blue Dining lit up at night with Billy Blue projection Torrens University

A custom-designed menu and an animated light projection will bring to life the story of the maverick and renegade William ‘Billy’ Blue as part of this year’s VIVID Sydney festival.

"Students from Torrens University Australia's William Blue Dining and Billy Blue College of Design have partnered with Destination NSW to create a visual and sensory treat and tribute to their namesake at Vivid Sydney this May and June," said Jerome Casteigt , General Manager Business and Hospitality.

“This unique collaboration reflects Torrens University’s commitment to providing students with real world experience. It means our students’ work  has the potential to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people.”

Felon… Larrikin… Maverick?… Arguably Australia’s first celebrity

After two years absence due to COVID restrictions, Vivid returns this year with the creative direction 'The Soul of Our City,’ diving deep to explore what defines the character of Sydney. It’s a perfect opportunity for Torrens University Australia to pay tribute to the namesake of both its design and culinary schools who seeded Sydney’s famous ferry service.

“William ‘Billy’ Blue was a convict who was renowned for his ingenuity and quick wit,” said Darryn Melrose, General Manager of Design & Creative Technology at Torrens University.

“We are often asked ‘Who the heck is Billy Blue’? Our aim was to create a dining and animation experience that answers that question and pays tribute to Billy’s life and legacy.”

Billy Blue College of Design students, academic and creative studio designers have created a unique light activation that will light up the sandstone walls of William Blue Dining at The Rocks.

Inside the award-winning restaurant, guests will indulge in a French-style menu, inspired by Billy Blue’s Caribbean heritage, designed, created and served entirely by the students.

VIVID creates an incredible opportunity to place our students in the limelight

"Working on the Vivid project has been really exciting,” said William Blue Dining student Lynsey Harding.

“Being closely mentored by the lecturers has given me the confidence to put my skills into action on recipe development and menu design. I feel like doing this as part of a high-profile project such as Vivid will really set me apart once I go out to industry." 

Billy Blue College of Design student Aleksandra Korinnaja, who has been involved in the animation, agrees.

“The opportunity to have my name on such a major project was amazing, but not many internship experiences give this much creative freedom and input,” said Aleksandra.

Putting knowledge into practice on a grand stage

Vice Chancellor Professor Alwyn Louw said this unique collaboration demonstrates how Torrens University challenges the traditional model of higher education.

“To succeed in the modern and ever-changing workforce, graduates need both the theoretical knowledge and practical experience that puts knowledge into practice.”

"This collaboration unites three of our key Torrens University Institutions - Billy Blue College of Design, Billy Blue Creative Studio and William Blue Dining. It places our work on one of the biggest stages in Australia – in the centre of Sydney during Vivid."

Vivid Sydney 2022 runs from Friday 27 May until Saturday 18 June. 

Each evening you can enjoy the entertaining Billy Blue animated projection “Who the heck is Billy Blue?” The dining experience at William Blue Dining will be open for the general public from 8 June, from 12-3 pm, and 6 pm – 10 pm. Bookings are now open.


William Blue Dining is Torrens University Australia’s award-winning student led restaurant located in The Rocks, Sydney where students are overseen by industry experts interacting with customers and tackling day-to-day challenges. The fine-dining restaurant environment offers emerging chefs and industry professionals a true taste of the industry.


Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia shapes the next generation of award-winning creatives. Courses are taught in an interactive and energetic environment, giving aspiring creatives hands-on, industry-level skills. Students also mix with high-profile industry names in preparation to launch trailblazing careers in the creative industry.

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