Adelaide Festival of Ideas 2021
By Adelaide Festival of Ideas
Guest curators Kirstie Parker, Isobel Marshall and Prof John Carty assembled a cracking lineup of distinguished leaders and trailblazers to discuss social impact, sustainability, innovation, culture, equality and our place in a shifting world.
Adelaide Festival of Ideas 2021Aug 18, 2021
What if there is a Planet B?
A new space race is underway to lay claim to the cosmos for profit and power — even as our own world struggles to cope with the legacies of colonialism and capitalism. In light of humanity’s questionable strike rate for taking care of just one planet, what can history, 'space junk' and Antarctica tell us about developing a more considered approach to the heavens? And how can we ensure the wonders of the universe are more than an unregulated utopia for billionaire capitalists?
Speakers include: Dr Alice Gorman, Dr Lisa Bailey and Tim Jarvis AM.
Last year saw CBDs around the world become ghost towns as the coronavirus forced huge sections of their workforce to stay home. For many workers and employers, cutting out the commute and steering clear of major cities rewrote the rules of the workplace, unlocking unseen advantages and fresh challenges. As restrictions ease, how can we use these lessons to improve the way we think about suburbs, cities and populations, and what role will small to medium cities and towns play in this new future?
Speakers include: Dr Norman Swan, Andy Keough, Sandy Verschoor
Social media has fundamentally reshaped the way many of us engage with our friends, our communities, and our world. But it also affects how we view ourselves, from the way an Instagram filter frames our face, to the carefully curated versions of our lives we share online. It allows us to speak our truths, while unleashing torrents of abuse; we are censored, but also left exposed. How can we reconcile these contradictions, and find a way to be ~very online~, without sacrificing our health, happiness and agency? In collaboration with the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender and Robinson Research Institute.
Speakers include: Taryn Brumfitt, Clementine Ford, Prof Megan Warin and Cambrey Payne. MC Tory Shepherd.
Voice, Treaty, Truth
In May 2017, at the Uluru Constitutional Convention, First Nations delegates from across the country met at Uluru and endorsed a landmark call to action that sounded across the continent – the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Statement is the culmination of 13 Regional Dialogues – a historic deliberative consultation process with 1200 First Nations people on the question of what constitutional recognition means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It calls for a strategic and sequenced reform proposal: Voice, Treaty and Truth with the first step being a Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the Australian Constitution. Four years later, the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk with First Nations people to create a better future is being accepted by thousands of Australian people and organisations – even if successive governments have been reticent to hear its call.
Join Professor Megan Davis, constitutional lawyer responsible for designing and enacting the deliberative dialogues which culminated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and Sammy Wilson, first-born grandson of Paddy Uluru, the senior traditional custodian of Uluru throughout the fight for land rights in the 1970s, to reflect on where the statement came from, and where it can take us.
Speakers include: Arrin Hazelbane, Prof Megan Davis. Sammy Wilson, and Sally Scales. Chaired by Kirstie Parker.
Hugo Memorial Lecture: This is demography manifest
How do we make sense of a population as spread out and diverse as Australia? For years, we’ve looked to demographers to carve up, label, and stratify the public into groups and categories, in the hope that these overlapping identifiers might help us understand the shape of the nation. Such complex data rarely makes the front page, but can inform policy decisions that affect all of our lives. So how does it all work, and how can demography help us understand contemporary Australia?
In collaboration with the Stretton Institute and Don Dunstan Foundation.
Speakers include: Prof Adam Graycar and The Hon Dr Jane Lomax-Smith AM
From the Ground Up
For thousands of years agriculture has played a transformative role in human society and the planet we live on. Over the past century, an exponential growth in the space, energy and resources required to feed billions of hungry mouths has pushed many of our ecosystems to the brink. But could agriculture also pose the solution? Can we feed and nourish our soil and biosphere, and ourselves at the same time? And how can all of us — growers, makers and eaters too — all do our bit to make sure the planet doesn’t pass its use-by date?
Speakers include: Costa Georgiadis, Graham Brookman, Simon Bryant, Prof Timothy Cavagnaro
For decades Australia has watched footballing legends from Nicky Winmar to Adam Goodes put their on-field careers on the line to tackle the racism present in our sporting codes, often at great personal cost. But as clubs like Collingwood are finally forced to confront the systemic prejudice in their organisation and communities, are we on the cusp of a turning point? And how can we ensure the footballing establishment’s long-awaited reckoning secures longterm change for players and fans of colour?
Speakers include: Bruce Djite, Gavin Wanganeen, Pauly Vandenbergh, Shelley Ware, Tanya Hosch and Taryn Lee.
Are We All in this Together?
In our public discourse, the most pressing issues facing our society are often left to high profile pundits, politicians and celebrities. What’s often missing from televised panel discussions or festival stages are the voices of those most affected by decision-makers far removed from their lived experience. In this special Adelaide Festival of Ideas event, we’ll hear from members of our community whose stories and perspectives are rarely heard — but demand to be listened to.
Speakers include: Sarah Gun
Artists without Borders
The lockdowns and border closures of 2020 had a devastating impact on arts sectors around the globe. As flights were grounded and touring schedules mothballed, the industry faced an existential need to adapt — with many artists finding ways to be more connected and accessible than ever before. In a post-COVID world, how can we put these lessons into practice to create a more sustainable and globally connected arts community for creatives and audiences alike?
Speakers include: Rachael Azzopardi, Lee Cumberlidge, Chris Petridis, Jerome De Baecque and Mathieu Grainger
Adelaide Festival of Ideas Dedication
We dedicate this year’s Adelaide Festival of Ideas to a prominent Australian who has left a mark on our cultural climate and public discourse. In 2021 we recognise former minister, long-serving parliamentarian and champion of education and the arts, Dr Diana Laidlaw AM. From her decades in the Legislative Council working across a range of portfolios from Arts to Transport and Urban Planning, to her ongoing support of the non-for-profit sector and recent work as an artist, Laidlaw has been an advocate for inspiration in whatever form it takes.
Please raise a glass with us as we celebrate an extraordinary South Australian
Speakers include: Hon. Dr. Diana Laidlaw AM, Greg Mackie OAM
Let's Get Digital: Art in Contemporary Society
It’s been a long time since ‘visual art’ meant simply a painting, or a sculpture. Today, artists around the world are embracing digital mediums and technologies to unlock imaginations and create new and exciting experiences for audiences. Hear from a handful of the leading Australian artists featured as part of Illuminate Adelaide’s inaugural program, as they discuss how digital practices have affected the way they make and share their work.
Speakers include: Atong Atem, Robin Fox, Tim Gruchy, Leigh Robb (MC)
The Art of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has held an ominous position in popular culture, but as machine learning crosses over from science fiction into reality this emerging field of study offers intriguing possibilities — and plenty of challenges. Hear from some of the South Australian thinkers who are breaking new ground in empowering artists to use machine learning to tease out the edges of human knowledge and creation.
In collaboration with the Sia Furler Institute and Australian Institute for Machine Learning.
Speakers include: Prof Thomas Hajdu, Prof Anton van den Hengel, Dr Jamie Sherrah, Dr Johan Verjans, Dr Paul Dalby, Prof Simon Lucey
Towards the Light
Despite overwhelming public support, voluntary assisted dying remains a polarising issue for our political leaders, who navigate a delicate mix of deeply held religious, ethical and medical viewpoints. As a 17th attempt at legislative reform makes its way through parliament, is the tide about to turn for voluntary assisted dying in South Australia? And if so, how did we get here — and where do we go now?
Speakers include: Sam Lara, Dr Susan Close MP, Hon. Kyam Maher MLC, Helen Walker. MC Tory Shepherd.
There are some big cultural changes afoot inside kitchens and beyond, as the food world looks for smarter and more sustainable systems of production and consumption from the restaurant to the supermarket. Join our panel of freshly foraged experts as they sink their teeth into some of the most exciting and complicated conversations about how we eat. Speaking of food, we’ll also keep you warm and fed with a cup of soup from chef and panellist Ben Shewry. In collaboration with the Stretton Institute.
Speakers include: Ben Shewry, Damien Coulthard, Prof Rachel Ankeny, Rebecca Sullivan.
Profit for Purpose
Can capitalism have a conscience? The last decade has seen an explosion of new Australian startups that seek to make a difference while also turning a profit. But how can an ethically minded business with one eye on the bigger picture thrive in a globalised marketplace often steeped in exploitation? And what sets a true ‘social enterprise’ apart from plain old marketing to newly woke consumers? Hear from some of Australia’s leading socially-oriented entrepreneurs seeking to rewrite the rules of running a business — without ruining the world.
Speakers include: Sarah Gun, Kari Allen, Andrew Nunn, Eloise Hall, Isobel Marshall
As Australia heads towards a future with a growing ageing population, the ways our economy, workforce and society have been geared for half a century will face unprecedented pressure. But is this an existential challenge, or an opportunity to build a better and more caring society? How can we make sure all older Australians enjoy fulfilling lives, and build a nation where no one — young or old — is left behind?
Speakers include: The Honourable Catherine Branson AC QC, Maggie Beer AM, Raelene Wlochowicz, Richard Bruggemann. Chaired by Greg Mackie OAM.
Opening Night: Making Friends of Enemies
In a world marked by ever-widening division, what could be learned if instead of reacting in anger we reached out in friendship?
In our opening night address, chef and restaurateur Ben Shewry asks whether kindness might be the compass we need to find a way forward in a polarised world. Join us for a Welcome to Country from Jack Buckskin, before University of Adelaide Chancellor The Hon. Catherine Branson AC QC and our three guest curators Kirstie Parker, Isobel Marshall and Prof John Carty share some of the big ideas that underpin our 2021 festival program.
Net Zero America
A ground-breaking study of decarbonisation pathways for the US – Net-Zero America: Potential Pathways, Infrastructure and Impacts - was released in mid-December by Princeton University.
Australian Dr Chris Greig, the Theodora D. and William H. Walton Senior Research Scientist at Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, who co-led Net-Zero America will present the findings and contrast the challenge for the Australia and our trading partners.
Net Zero America (NZA) stands apart from previous studies in examining various pathways to net zero that include different proportions of renewables, different degrees of electrification, roles for nuclear and fossil fuels (with CCUS) that vary from zero to significant, and use of carbon land sinks and bioenergy with CCS (to provide negative emissions). It analyses the implications of decarbonisation (e.g. for land-use, project development, employment and financing) in unprecedented detail and granularity.
It shows that net zero by 2050 is affordable, though will encounter significant risks, including social licence challenges. The scale of energy-sector capital investment required is unprecedented, but the impact on the cost of energy services, as a share of economic output, is expected to be minimal.
Net Zero America was funded by major energy companies and included national environmental organisations on its oversight committee. It has received widespread coverage by US and international media and has been well received at all levels of government and across the private sector, including this praise from John P. Holdren, former Presidential Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the study’s foreword:
Net Zero America...sets an entirely new standard in this genre.... Everybody seriously interested in the crucial question of this country’s energy-climate future—not least the new Biden-Harris administration—needs to understand the findings of this extraordinary study.
Speaker: Dr Chris Greig
Virtue Australia Foundation presents Kidman Lecture: Balancing on a Tower of Chairs
Balancing on a tower of chairs is not easy. It requires decades of training, self-discipline, teamwork, trust, mental acuity, physical strength, long term goals and more. Coming to terms with the rise of China requires many of the same qualities and skills but our political acrobats sometimes lack the requisite training. Carrillo Gantner, whose career in the performing arts has included decades of productive engagement with China, will reflect on some of the lessons learned and how they might apply more broadly to enhance the challenging Australia China relationship.
Speaker: Carrillo Gantner AC
Pizza In Space
Everyone knows that when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore. But trying to make a pizza pie on the lunar surface? That’s a more complicated equation. 52 years after Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon only to find the dining options to be disappointingly limited, we’ve convened a crack team of space experts to unbox the many layers of technical and philosophical challenges that will stand between the next generation of moonwalking astronauts and Friday night beer and pizza. In collaboration with the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources.
Speakers include: Dr Amit Srivastava, Dr Lisa Bailey, Dr Tim Parsons, Prof John Culton and Rebecca Kuster.
RAA presents Powering the Future
For years South Australia has been a national leader in embracing renewable energy, transforming our power grid in ways that were almost unimaginable a decade ago. But this success has not been without challenges, from policy uncertainty at a federal level to damaging myths that have often flourished across the media and chamber of parliament. As we look toward a new decade, how can we navigate the renewed urgency of the climate crisis, and the technical and political challenges of a post-carbon future driven by clean energy? In collaboration with the Stretton Institute and Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources.
Speakers include: Sam Craft, Kristin Raman, Prof Ashok Khurana, Peter Siebels, Chris Greig and Prof Michael Goodsite.
Talking Point - Community and Education
Join Laura Kroetsch and a panel of surprise guests for a lunchtime conversation that dives headfirst into the most pressing issues of the day.