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Thank you for joining us at the 2021 Adelaide Festival of Ideas, we hope it was as inspiring and exciting for you as it was for us. And because it takes a village to pull off an event like this, we want to take a moment to thank all the speakers who shared their thoughts on stage, all the staff members, volunteers, suppliers working at the venues and behind the scenes, The University of Adelaide and the City of Adelaide and of course you, our amazing audiences. Re-live the emotions with our video.


Missed a session? Listen to the podcasts!

If you didn't make it there in person, or found yourself torn between overlapping panels, worry not! Podcasts are available for selected sessions, so you can binge the 2021 Adelaide Festival of Ideas program from the comfort of your home. We're sure we'll be listening back to these conversations for years to come. Listen Now.


Returning in 2021 to a world reshaped by extraordinary upheaval, and in partnership with the University of Adelaide, the Adelaide Festival of Ideas is back to illuminate the challenges and opportunities of our time.

A global pandemic, environmental crises and reckonings across our social and political spheres have shaken up long-held institutions and assumptions, placing us at a once-in-a-generation crossroad.

Guest curators Kirstie ParkerIsobel Marshall and Prof John Carty will assemble distinguished leaders and trailblazers in areas of social impact, sustainability, innovation, culture, equality and our place in a shifting world.

View the bottom of this page to see our Auslan interpreted sessions.

Image credit: Jack Fenby

Meet our Guest Curators

Kirstie Parker is a Yuwallarai Aboriginal woman from north-western NSW, now living on Kaurna country in Adelaide, South Australia. Since 2017, Kirstie has been the Director, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR) within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and is a long-time Director of Reconciliation Australia, the peak national organisation building and promoting reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians. She is also a member of the Aboriginal Reference Group for the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Centre planned for Adelaide.

In 2018, Kirstie won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer (Queensland Literary Awards) and her book The Making of Ruby Champion (working title) will be published by the University of Qld Press.

Isobel Marshall, 2021 Young Australian of the Year, is the Co-Founder and Director of Health and Education at TABOO Sanitary Products. She also studies Medicine at the University of Adelaide.

At 18 years of age, together with 17 year old Eloise Hall, Isobel Marshall crowd-funded $56,000 to launch their range of high quality, ethically sourced, organic cotton pads and tampons. They sell to the Australian market with 100% of net profits donated to Charity partner OneGirl, and all business activities are dedicated to eradicating period poverty and challenging menstrual stigma locally and abroad.

The TABOO team has a strong focus on the education of Australian students through schools and campaigns, aiming to change the conversation around periods and increase the understanding and respect of menstruation across all demographics and genders.

John Carty is the Head of Humanities at the South Australian Museum, responsible for one of the most significant collections of Aboriginal art and cultural heritage in the world. He is Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal Languages and Music (NCALMS) at the University of Adelaide and is currently serving on the National Commission for UNESCO.

Throughout his career John has worked extensively with Aboriginal custodians throughout Australia on art, history and social justice projects. These have led to pioneering public scholarship in the form of major exhibitions and publications and new models of collaborative practice. His interests lie in the silences of Australian history, and the structural reform required within cultural institutions, education systems, and our national story-telling, to address those silences.

View all sessions here.



Auslan interpretation generously supported by the Nunn Dimos Foundation

The Art of Artificial Intelligence 

Fri 16 July 2.00pm – 3.00pm

Let's Get Digital: Art in Contemporary Society 

Fri 16 July 3.45pm – 4.45pm

RAA presents Powering the Future 

Sat 17 July 10.00am – 11.00am

Virtue Australia Foundation presents Kidman Lecture: Balancing on a Tower of Chairs

Sat 17 July 11.45am – 12.45am

True Selfie

Sat 17 July 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Are We All in this Together? 

Sun 18 July 10.00am – 11.00am

Towards the Light

Sun 18 July 11.45am – 12.45pm

Voice, Treaty, Truth 

Sun 18 July 1.45pm – 2.45pm

COVID Positive

Sun 18 July 2.00pm – 3.00pm

Artists without Borders

Sun 18 July 3.45pm – 4.45pm


Thu 15 July - Sun 18 July
Various venues


The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide

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Wheelchair Access
Auslan Interpreted