Liquid crystals are the pervasive display technology in devices ranging from wristwatches to ultra-high resolution televisions. In the last century, this special class of matter has made a remarkable transition from scientific curiosity to ubiquitous to everyday life. The distinctive properties that enable the utility of liquid crystals in displays has also motivated extensive research relating to the general topics of optics (photonics), mechanics, and biomedicine. The utilization of liquid crystals in these areas are examining a diverse range of materials including low-molar mass, polymeric, and composites thereof and range from molecular synthesis to device physics. The goal of this symposium is to contextualize recent advances in liquid crystalline materials with a particular emphasis on research extending the utility of these materials beyond displays into applications such as artificial muscles, microfluidics (lab on chip), chem-bio sensors, optical elements, nanofabrication, smart windows, metamaterials, mechanical actuators, and energy saving/generation/harvesting.