Sandy Verschoor returns to Adelaide Festival of Ideas (AFOI) as Executive Producer, shifting the three-day event to Adelaide’s West End, as the Deputy Mayor aims to inject more interaction between the arts and science into the program.
Verschoor, who produced the 2011 iteration of the AFOI, tells The Adelaide Review that she will bring back some concepts from her time in the hot seat, while looking to push the festival forward in its new location.
“The main program will be very much the traditional panels, conversations, presentations et cetera, and then around that I’ll have various things to play with,” Verschoor says.
Those various things include a potential return of the round table series, which saw small groups of guests able to sit face to face with festival speakers, and pose their own questions.
“I picked, I think, six of the speakers, and people were able to book into a table (from eight to 12 people) with a speaker and a facilitator,” Verschoor says of the original concept. “It gave them the ability to have a conversation up close and personal on a particular area with a speaker.”
A larger change to the festival will be the inclusion of an arts and cultural program called ART=IDEAS, which will run throughout the month of July, including performance work and the addition of arts leaders on discussion panels.
“Some of it will be performance and some will be people from those performances in panels talking about their art practice and what happens in that space when it collides with something else,” Verschoor says. “I’ve got three or four teed up already who will be talking outside of what they do, talking about the integration of an arts practice with science or with health, or another sector and what happens when you bring them together.”
While the works to be included in this program cannot yet be announced, a possible hint comes when Verschoor notes that the AFOI’s July schedule will see it coincide with prominent dance events.
“The timing of it is going to be amazing because the dance congress will be on, the Adelaide International Dance Festival will be on, Entrepreneurs Week, too,” she says. “Looking at what’s going to happen in July next year, it looks as if it’s going to be incredibly exciting, and what we’re all playing with at the moment is how we intersect and what happens when we do.”
On the shift to the West End, Verschoor is excited that AFOI will be one of the first large events to centre its activity on the precinct.
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate,” she says. “We’ve confirmed our relationship and sponsorship with the main universities, Flinders, UniSA and Adelaide, so that allows us to use the space and create a hub in the West End that hasn’t been seen before.”
Adelaide Festival of Ideas 2018
Header image: Jonathan van der Knaap