Posted: Monday 15 August, 2016

Get along to Adelaide Festival of Ideas

The Adelaide Festival of Ideas (AFoI) is a treasured South Australian public event that this year sits at the heart of Open State. Since its inception in 1999, AFoI has been Adelaide’s signature celebration of the importance of ideas in an active democracy. The first of its kind in Australia in 1999 and one of the first in the world, AFoI provides thousands of people with access to thought leaders across a range of specialist topics.

We live in a world that is saturated with opinion – on-air, on-line, on-screen and on-paper. Despite the proliferation of platforms for the exploration and exposition of new ideas, people still crave face to face ‘town-hall’ public conversations.

By bringing together a range of creative thinkers and do-ers from varied areas of human endeavor, we provide a space where the inquiring mind can be stretched and challenged.

It has been especially satisfying to see people of diverse generations coming along to enjoy the experience. While there may be topics of greater interest to particular generations, there is something for all – and so much of relevance that crosses generations.

Another feature that distinguishes the AFoI from other events in the ideas space is that it is mainly free to the public.  We treat our audience as citizens and not as consumers. This concept is core to the event’s DNA and is enshrined in its constitution. As our Program Development Convenor, Emeritus Professor Ian Gibbins said, our festival may be free, but its content is priceless.

The AFoI provides South Australians and visitors alike with access to speakers who are passionate about their subject matter. In 2016, there is a special connection with Open State, and so a number of speakers from other Open State umbrella conferences will share their ideas with AFoI audiences.

Across the weekend of 21-23 October, a cluster of venues, all within easy walking distance of each other along North Terrace, will be home to the 2016 AFoI. Thanks to the generous support of the University of Adelaide, Bonython Hall and Elder Hall will form the heartland, along with a range of nearby smaller venues, including the State Library of SA’s Hetzel Lecture Theatre.

The overarching theme for the 2016 AFoI is Make or Break: doing nothing is not an option. This sits comfortably with Open State’s interest in doing democracy better. Exploring citizen voice and the notion that government cannot have all the answers is, in essence, what the AFoI celebrates.

Our full program will be released by mid-September, so register for our free e-news and be among the first to start planning your own AFoI adventure.