Last update: 15 April

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Symposium 101

What is the Urban Sketchers International Symposium?

The Urban Sketchers International Symposium is an annual educational event organized by Urban Sketchers (USk), a nonprofit dedicated to fostering the practice of on-location observational sketching.  The goal of the Symposium is to celebrate and practice the art of on-location sketching in the host city. Each symposium offers valuable field-sketching instruction and opportunities for participants to meet new friends and learn more skills. Following our spirit of “sharing the world, one drawing at a time,” we aim to bring the Symposium to new cities and countries every year.

What happens in a Symposium?

Every Symposium is different as each host city offers different learning opportunities and experiences that are very unique to that city. Symposiums have an opening reception and a closing event for participants to meet other sketchers.  Depending on types of Sketch Passes, the activities vary.  Workshops, Demos, Lectures, Skit Sketches and Sketch Walks are spread over the event. At the venue there is an Art Supplies Market which is open to the public. It features art tools, books and materials from different local and international suppliers. There is also a Silent Auction, a Raffle Draw,  and daily Drink and Draw sessions. 

Please see the Glossary for more information on activities. 

Past Symposiums

There have been 10 Symposiums so far: Portland (2010), Lisbon (2011), Santo Domingo (2012), Barcelona (2013), Paraty (2014), Singapore (2015), Manchester (2016), Chicago (2017), Porto (2018), and Amsterdam (2019). Hong Kong was supposed to host in 2020. Due to the pandemic, it was postponed.

And now we are back with the 11th Symposium which will be in Auckland, New Zealand in 2023.

About The Event

When and where is the next Urban Sketchers International Symposium?

The 11th International Urban Sketchers Symposium will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, April  19 – 22, 2023.

Where is the Main Venue for the Symposium?

Above image: AUT’s Sir Paul Reeves Building, Jasmax

The main venue will be at the AUT Auckland University of Technology 

“One of the most awarded educational buildings in Aotearoa, AUT’s Sir Paul Reeves Building represents a step change in the design of tertiary education environments. It is designed to maximize the impact and depth of student learning experiences.”

Click HERE to see a map of the area.  

Where can I get news or updates on the Symposium?

To stay abreast with Symposium news, check 

Symposium Webpage

Symposium Instagram

Symposium FB Travel Hub group


When and how do I register for the event pass?

Standard Registration started on 12 November 2022, 17:00 NZT,  and is still open.  Register at the Eventbrite USk Symposium Auckland 2023  event page HERESign up for an account. It’s free.

To expedite the process, we recommend that you have all your information entered with your Eventbrite user account, including personal and payment information.

The only way to add a saved credit/debit card to your Eventbrite account is to select the option to “Save payment details” when registering for an event. 


What type of Symposium passes can I get?

There are two types of Passes: WORKSHOP PASS  and SKETCH PASS

All pass types include access to the opening & closing receptions, demos, Skit Sketch presentations and Sketch Walks.


Standard Registration started  on 12 November 2022, 17:00 NZT,  and is still open.

The Workshop Pass includes access to the opening & closing receptions, Workshops, Demos, Skit Sketch presentations and Sketch Walks.  The Workshop Pass will give you full access with 3 workshops with a great lineup of international instructors.

As illustrated below, you will see the all-access levels for Workshop Pass, with the corresponding fee structure. 

What is the event Schedule for the Workshop Pass?

We have published the Schedule HERE.

(click the link for a closer look or download)

View larger images:





Download PDF of Symposium Workshops lineup here

When do I select my Workshops?

The workshop selections are only for Workshop Pass participants.  Participants would need to select all 3 workshop choices during Registration starting 12 November 2022,  17:00 NZT.

 Please check this Step-by-step Guide to Registering for Workshops and Demo / Editing Workshop and Demo Selections

The last day to change your programming choices in Eventbrite is 19 March 2023. After that, you will be able to access your information, but unable to make any changes to your programming choices.

When do I select my Demo?

The demo selection is only for Workshop Pass and Sketch Pass participants.  Participants would need to select their choice of demo during Registration on 12 November 2022, 17:00 NZT.   The last day to change your programming choices in Eventbrite is 19 March 2023.  

Please check this Step-by-step Guide to Registering for Workshops and Demo / Editing Workshop and Demo Selections

Tips: Make a list of your preferred choices.  In case the ones you wanted are no longer available, you may immediately pick the next available one.

Note: There will not be a waitlist for Workshops.  You may check back again and alter your choice should the workshop you wanted becomes available again.

How long do I have to process my Registration and Workshops Selection?

The time limit on Eventbrite for Pass purchase and workshops selection is within 10mins. The average time to complete this is 3 minutes, according to statistics.

To expedite the process, we recommend that you have all your information entered with your Eventbrite user account, including personal and payment information.

Can I make changes to my Workshops & Demo selections after Registration?

Yes, see below.

What happens if my Workshop / Demo has been canceled?

If your workshop/demo has been canceled, you will get instructions via email to select another workshop/demo before 5 April. After 5 April, you will be assigned by the Symposium team to another workshop/demo that is open. Check the guide below to edit selections on Eventbrite.  

Guide to CHANGE Workshops & Demo selection on EVENTBRITE

The last day to make any changes to your registration is 19 March 2023.  Please check this Step-by-step Guide to Registering for Workshops and Demo / Editing Workshop and Demo Selections.

Where can I see my profile or ticket details? Why is there no Edit button on my ticket?

If you do not see your details on ‘your ticket’ this is most likely because you have signed into a different Eventbrite account from the one you used to purchase your pass (ie. your other Eventbrite account, or someone else who helped you purchase the pass). In this case, what you need to do is log back in with the account used to purchase the ticket and proceed to Edit your registration.

Note: Any edits to the registration maybe required through the Eventbrite user account used to purchase the Registration (by the proxy, and not by the attendee)


With the Sketch Pass, you will have a leisurely experience. You’ll meet everyone for the morning gatherings and then explore Auckland between meeting up with others for sketch walks during the day. You’ll be able to meet all the other sketchers during the receptions, demo, and social activities.

Why is the Sketch Pass chargeable when my local sketchcrawl is free?

With the official symposium Sketch Pass, you will get access to the Opening & Closing reception, demo by instructors, Skit Sketch presentation afternoons, up to 4 guided sketch walks and the event goody bag.

The costs that you will pay for any pass will go to the planning and organisation of the international symposium, including venue rental, furniture, catering for the receptions, engaging other services to support the event and all other overheads. There is the last Big Sketch on the last day, that is open to public. That is free. 

Why do we buy the pass now and register for the workshop later?

Due to overwhelming response from previous symposium registration regarding the default time limit to complete selection of workshops, filling out personal information, and processing payment, we have decided to lessen the stress of our participants by just offering the passes first, and then workshop selections later on 12 November 2022.   

What is the refund policy?

Urban Sketchers reserves the right to apply a $85 (USD)cancellation fee for all refunds. Due to the need to finalize facilities, supplies, and programming, no refunds will be offered after 19 March 2023.

Email for refund requests.

I missed the Early Bird Registration and saw all passes sold out. What should I do?

Don’t worry. Standard Registration starts on 12 November 2022, 17:00 NZT.

What if I proposed a workshop and haven’t heard before the Early Bird registration?

If your proposed workshop gets selected, you could claim a full refund later. If your proposed lecture or skit sketch is selected, you could claim an early bird rate for the pass you purchased.

Can I upgrade my pass type?

To upgrade a pass from Sketch Pass  to Workshop Pass  you must register again and cancel your original registration (subject to availability).

Email for a full refund. 

Can I buy a pass for someone else?

Preferably, no.  However if it is necessary, please provide information at registration, specifically of the person attending the event.  Passes sold are non-transferable. So, please ensure that the information provided is accurate.  

Note: Any updates or information will be sent by Eventbrite to the Eventbrite user account, used to purchase the Registration (to the proxy, and not to the attendee). Therefore, be sure to check the Eventbrite log in username.

Where is my ticket?
Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Send questions to


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Participants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the event. Participants under 18 years must attend with a guardian or receive special dispensation from the Organizers. Contact to discuss options for those younger than 18.


Can I have recommendations of hotels in Auckland?

There are many accommodation options in Auckland city within easy walking distance or short taxi ride from AUT, the symposium hub.  Our local Symposium Team  has compiled a list of suggested options ranging from 5 star to hostel.

Name Star Rating Distance from AUT Address Approx. price for standard room in NZ$ (as at Sept 2022. Prices will increase closer to the symposium) Discount for USk guests
5 star
Cnr Waterloo Quadrant & Princes Street Auckland 1010
4 star
380 Queen Street Auckland 1010
4 star
128 Albert Street Auckland 1010
4 star
71 Mayoral Drive Auckland 1010
4.5 star
401 Queen Street Auckland 1010
15-20% discount when booking directly via hotel website and using the code USK2023 for dates 16 - 26 April 2023
4 star
363 Queen Street Auckland 1010
4 star
500 Queen Street Auckland 1010
4 star
100 Greys Avenue Auckland 1010
15% discount when booking directly via hotel website and using the code USK2023 Dates 16 - 26 April 2023 Room types bookable will be Deluxe Studio King and Deluxe Family room with 2x double beds.
3.5 star
85 Wakefield Street Auckland 1010
3 star
20 Wyndham Street Auckland 1010
150 Vincent Street Auckland 1010
Crn Pitt Street & Greys Ave Auckland 1010
373 Karangahape Rd Auckland 1010
Dorms, twins, doubles $40 - $130
6 Hopetoun Street Freemans Bay Auckland 1011
Dorms, twins, doubles $40 - $110
10 Wellesley Street East Auckland 1010
Dorms, singles, twins, doubles $30 - $80

We do recommend booking as early as possible as hotel occupancy will be high during the symposium.

Click HERE to see a helpful map showing the suggested accommodation options and symposium hub.

Accommodation Offer

Our local Symposium Team has organised discount codes for USk guests at some hotels and is hoping to add more.  We will update this list if additional codes are secured. Stay tuned.

COVID Travel Guidelines

What is the current information for travelers?

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) has ended. With case numbers low, most COVID-19 rules have been removed from 13 September 2022.

Get the latest updates on COVID travel guidelines in New Zealand at

Travel Visas

Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand?

Passport holders of visa waiver countries and territories who are traveling up to 3 months do not have to apply for a visa before they travel to NZ but must hold an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority). Check if your country is on the visa waiver countries and territories.

You can apply for NZeTa online. Most NZeTA requests are processed within 72 hours. Many requests are processed more quickly but some may take longer. To avoid delays, we encourage you to request an NZeTA well in advance of your travel. Get more information about NZeTA

For more information on New Zealand’s visa options and requirements, visit :

Drink & Draw

What is a Drink and Draw? Who can join?

For our friends joining in Auckland, NZ, for their first international Symposium, Drink and Draw is not an official Symposium activity but a get-together amongst sketchers and friends after a Symposium day.  

There is no sign up required. It’s a public event. Please bear in mind that all food and  beverages are at your own expense.  Wifi is available. Cashless payment is preferred. 

Where is this year’s Drink and Draw Location?
Are there any special discounts?

Only on 19-22 April, show your USk Symposium Auckland 2023 Participant Pass for the special Symposium discount at our Partner Cafés–  10% off food and 20% off drinks at The Terrace Café and Gilli Cafe at 36 Lorne Street. 

Arriving in Auckland - What to Expect

What do I need to know before arriving in Auckland?

Urban Sketchers Auckland has carefully prepared and crafted some essential information, helpful reminders, and tips regarding travel, currency, transportation, food, connectivity and a lot more.



Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Send questions to


What is…

Workshops are one of the main components of the USk Symposium.
They are presented as a more formal educational experience with a smaller group (a maximum of 15 participants), allowing for personal interaction with students. Instructors are expected to do a short demonstration, have one-on-one interaction with participants, and check on them during their exercises.

Workshops are accessible only to registered Symposium participants.

Opening & Closing Events
We will kick-start the Symposium with an Opening reception, where the USk President welcomes all participants and some light refreshments will be served.

We wrap up the weekend with a Closing celebration. The evening starts with the Silent Auction, the Raffle Draw, and with some catering. To end the Symposium, we will also announce the next Symposium dates and host city.

The Opening and Closing Receptions are accessible only to registered Symposium participants.

Demo will be led by all instructors we have for workshops. Each Demo will be conducted for around 30-40 mins and on-location. Expected capacity at each Demo will be 20 persons max.

Demos are accessible only to registered Symposium participants.

Skit Sketch
Skit Sketch is a form of lightning presentation (like Pecha Kucha or Ignite) where presenters share their sketching stories through 20 slides on auto-advance, at 20 seconds each slide. Each presentation is no more than 6 mins 40 secs.

Skit Sketch presentations are accessible only to registered Symposium participants.

Art Supplies Market
Art Supplies Market will showcase all the symposium sponsors and supporters. The range of products will include art materials, tools and books. Some sponsors may host demos or talks about their product. Stay tuned to the Symposium webpage for more information.

Art Supplies Market will be at AUT and is open to the public.

Lecture presentations will be about 30-40 mins each, with a Question and Answer session at the end.

Sketch Walk
There are Sketch Walks during the 3 days of the Symposium. Sketch Walks are accessible only to registered Symposium participants. Refer to the Schedule for Sketch Walk timings. We end with a large Big Sketch on the afternoon of the last day. That is open to everyone who would like to join us.

Sketch Walks will be hosted and managed by USk Auckland. More information regarding Sketch Walks will be published soon. Please stay tuned.

Silent Auction
Every sketcher can donate their original artwork for the Silent Auction that will happen on the last day before the Closing Reception. Art works will be displayed with a bid card next to it for any interested parties to bid. At the closing, the successful bidder has to collect the artwork with the bid card and proceed to payment with the USk Treasurer. What everyone gets from this is a chance to own an original artwork of a fellow sketcher and funds raised from this Silent Auction will go into furthering USk’s other projects and endeavors.
All artworks for the Silent Auction should be submitted for cataloging. Stay tuned for announcements regarding when and and where to submit.

Raffle Draw
The Raffle Draw is also another fundraiser effort where tickets at the Symposium can be bought from the Fundraising team, for a chance to win something at the Draw. In the past, prizes had included art materials, equipment and books. The top prize for the Raffles Draw is a FREE Workshop Pass to the next Symposium.

Drink and Draw
Drink and Draw is not an official Symposium activity. It is an after Symposium get-together amongst sketchers and friends. The host city will recommend a location where sketchers and friends can hang out for a drink at the end of the day and enjoy some sketching time amongst friends.

Location for Drink and Draw will be announced later.
No sign up required. It is a public event and all food or beverages are at your own expense.

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