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Adelaide Festival of Ideas 2007:-diversity « Previous | |Next »
July 9, 2007

I've done some posts on the Festival's Saturday sessions at junk for code here and here; on Hilary Charlesworth's Dame Roma Mitchell Oration at and on social trauma (traumascapes) at philosophical conversations. It was difficult to attend every session on Saturday (overload given domestic obligations), and then to write about it late at night or very early in the morning.

Stu has some very good comments at Le Rayon Vet; Kim raises interesting comments on blogging the Festival at Larvatus Prodeo whilst Mark, at the same blog, discusses urbanism and ideas and blogging. He says:

One of the ironies, I think, of city based Festivals of Ideas is that they don’t provide an actual space, very often, or often enough, for civic discussion about the shape and feel and lived experience of urbanism. I think that’s something we could do with much more of, and perhaps something that with its power to create virtual commons, the blogosphere might be able to contribute to. Intensely personal experiences of urban life, and histories, can transcend the self-referential, because, after all, the greatness of cities lies in the weaving together of narratives with common reference points

Urbanism surfaced around water issues and the need to make the shift to sustainable cities as a response to climate change. But this was limited to water (desalinisation plants and recycling) with energy on the frringes.

Climate Change was everywhere in the Festival and a warmed-up Australia was widely acknowledged to be our future. Urbanism in a warm world was not really tackled, despite the Festival's theme of which way to the future. It falls upon a Festival of Ideas to do think this---- to introduce themes once discussed by the disbanded Commission of the Future. Since the media are obsesssed with the mining boom, Australia needing to be on its meetle if it is to remain globally competitive, wealth creation, not meddling in the self-organizing market and protecting our prosperty from the evil Other who hates us, public spaces need to be created to think critically and strategically about our future in a global world.

For instance, the Australian Financial Review, reputed to be the best of the quality media in Australia, is mostly concerned with economic growth and infrastructure bottlenecks disconnected from a warming Australia. So is most economic public policy. Thus the CEDA Report entitled Competing from Australia, which addresses global challenges facing Australia does not even consider climate change. Yet the Report says that it takes the first truly 21st-century look at Australia's trade and investment capacity in the globalising world economy! Since climate change is an example of market failure at its most starkest and confronting, we can infer that both the AFR and CEDA are in denial mode.

So it falls upon a Festival of Ideas to create the much needed public space--a space to foster a counter discourse to the traditional economic discourse of the AFR and the economic think tanks that presuppose that the be all and end all of economic policy is rolling back regulation to allow the market to sizzle and burn.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:58 PM |