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Revived Festival of Ideas announces 2021 line-up


A rebooted Festival of Ideas will feature journalist Stan Grant, ABC medical correspondent Norman Swan, a focus on food, and a panel of Australia’s “significant elders” talking about their hopes for the future.

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The festival, last run in Adelaide in 2018, has been resurrected as part of the Illuminate Adelaide winter festival in July, with the University of Adelaide hosting the line-up of 27 events.

The roster of speakers, announced today, is headlined by journalist Stan Grant, writer Clementine Ford, body image advocate Taryn Brumfitt, ABC gardening guru Costa Georgiadis, artist and retired footballer Gavin Wanganeen and chef Ben Shewry.

Running from July 15 to July 18, the festival is themed “Bright Future”, and has a special focus on Indigenous issues.

Grant will deliver the Gladys Elphick Memorial Oration on the Importance of the Aboriginal Flag, 50 years after the flag was first flown in Victoria Square and amid controversy over copyright control.

Wanganeen, former Socceroo Bruce Djite, and AFL general manager of inclusion and social policy Tanya Hoch will discuss racism in sport at a session title ‘Fair Game’.

Shewry, from celebrated restaurant Attica, will speak on turning enemies into friends in an increasingly polarised world, while Brumfitt and Ford will lead a discussion on the impacts of social media on body image and mental health.

The ABC’s health presenter, Dr Norman Swan, will talk about the “positives” that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic in a discussion with Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor.

The future of food will be on the agenda at a session titled “Souper Foods”, where attendees will be presented with a souvenir mug filled with soup created by Shewry, while Georgiadis will be part of the panel “From the Ground Up”, discussing “regenerative agriculture” and future farming methods.

Matt Stone will serve up a multi-course banquet for the Adelaide Festival of Ideas Dinner.

On closing night, a session called “Radiance” will see a panel of “significant elders” discuss their legacy and hopes for the future. The panel will include arts philanthropist Ulrike Klein, Victorian cultural leader Carrillo Gantner, and University of Adelaide chancellor Catherine Branson.

The festival, which has a mix of ticketed and free events, has been curated by Illuminate co-creative directors Lee Cumberlidge and Rachael Azzopardi, the University of Adelaide’s Ross Ganf, and guest curators – Aboriginal advocate and journalist Kirstie Parker, social entrepreneur and 2021 Young Australian of the Year Isobel Marshall, and South Australian Museum’s Head of Humanities and Director of the University’s National Centre for Aboriginal Language and Music (NCALMS) Professor John Carty.

For more information, go to the Illuminate website

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