Posted: Wednesday 10 February, 2016
How Adelaide’s Festival of Ideas started a national trend
Excerpt from The Australian, Life – November 21, 2015
Adelaide might be anxious about building submarines, but it’s way ahead in the building of festivals. Writers’ festivals, film festivals. Arts, fringe and cabaret festivals. Children’s, food, music and fashion festivals. OzAsia and WOMADelaide.
But my favourite’s the Festival of Ideas. Spawned and staffed by luminaries associated with the Adelaide Writers’ Week, Rose Wight and Greg Mackie, its focus isn’t on the sainted novelist so much as the philosopher, environmentalist, scientist, polemicist and activist.
Following its overnight success in 1999, ideas festivals took off across the country. I took the format to Brisbane — and some buggers in Sydney announced a Festival of (Dangerous) Ideas, whatever they are. And, of course, there were the TED Talks out of North America.