7 thoughts on “Festival of Ideas

  1. I thought you spoke very well at last year’s Adelaide Festival of Ideas, so was sorry I wasn’t able to be there to hear your talk today, even though your Mr Beattie seems to have given non-Queenslanders the cold shoulder:

    “The Queensland Government invites all Queenslanders to take part in the Ideas Festival…it is an opportunity for Queenslanders to share ideas, elebrate the best of our many thinkers and innovators…The 2006 Ideas Festival will emphasise the sort of practical ideas that can be harnessed as part of our vision to improve life for Queenslanders.”


    Is your talk being broadcast like some of the debates where Phillip Adams (a Queenslander?) is MC?

    The Brisbane Ideas Festival seems to have much more of a user pays focus than its Adelaide counterpart. It’s good that you’ve spoken at a free session, but do you have any qualms about effectively endorsing an event where for many sessions pricing policy operates to exclude people from optimum participation?

    No doubt attendees will be reassured to see that high level security nmeasures are in place. The Festival website advises

    “When planning your visit please be aware that the Queensland Performing Arts Centre has strict cloakroom rules. For Ideas events in the Concert Hall and the Cremorne Theatre, you will have to check all day bags, small backpacks or big handbags into their cloakrooms prior to entering the theatres. Cloakroom facilities are limited in the Conservatorium building.
    You are best advised to leave bags at home or allow plenty of extra time to make use of cloakroom facilities.”

    There is also an “Ideas Bar” for those who need to fortify themselves before opening their minds to any challenging ideas.

  2. John T: are you perhaps being a bit precious about the user-pays aspect? From a quick eyeball of the program, it seems less than 1 in 5 sessions require payment. My budget doesn’t allow many paid sessions, but I’m anticipating an interesting weekend nevertheless.

    What annoyed me more is that tickets are sold exclusively through QTIX, which levies an extra $1.50 so-called ‘booking fee’. I whinged about this to the organisers, and got a reply rivalling a Telstra missive in corporate-style blandness and evasion.

  3. Having run this kind of thing in the past, though on a much scaller scale, I’m very reluctant to criticise the organisers over decisions of this kind. Maybe they got it right, maybe not, but without them there wouldn’t be an event at all.

    The Festival was nearly lost when Can-do Campbell withdrew the funding from Brisbane City Council, and no doubt a lot of compromises had to be made to get it off the ground.

  4. Fair point. I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of people trying to get such a thing off the ground. It looks like they’ve largely done a good job.

  5. I agree that any event of this nature is better than none, yet I’d like to be able to hear (or read trancripts) of many of the presentations, not just the major debates. Perhaps ABC RN could broaden its coverage of this and other similar events such as the various writers’ festivals held around the country.

  6. To raise (or re-raise) some of the issues discussed (not comprehensive by any means):

    – Advertising creating demand for “un-needed” goods.

    – The underconsumption of leisure by individuals.

    – The effect on employment of individuals choosing more leisure.

    – The underpricing of waste (into land, air and sea).

    – The failure of local systems to deal with waste.

    – Whether fundamental changes were required to our way of life.

    It seemed (from my perspective) that the answer to this final question was, going left to right, No, Maybe and Yes. I’ll leave the reader to assume which one was JQ!

  7. And as a postscript to future organisers of these events, i’d lock the doors 5 minutes after the starting time. Having to put your knees around your ears as late entrants squeeze past makes pondering big questions just that little bit more difficult.

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