A country ablaze followed by a global pandemic, the likes of which have not been seen for 100 years. We watched as, country by country, medical staff and hospitals were overwhelmed by COVID-19, with daily infection rates and death counts becoming all-consuming. Airports and borders closed. Families separated, disconnected and panicked. Workplaces, schools and businesses closed, not sure when they might reopen.
We have been so much luckier than most. Adelaide, one of the most liveable cities in the world, quickly became one of the safest.
As workforces around the country and around the globe switched to remote access, our city’s investment into a backbone of high-speed digital infrastructure added to our growing reputation of being not just a smart city, but an intelligent one.
Slowly, life for Adelaideans returned to something akin to normal. Workers are gradually returning to their offices, albeit in rotation or in a hybrid work-from home/office form. Schools reopened and our students are returning to campuses, less the nearly 7000 international students who hadn’t made it to our shores for the start of the university year. Businesses, many of which had shown great pioneering spirit and pivoted their business models, have happily welcomed back customers.
But the shockwaves continued as second wave cases exploded around the world, including our neighbouring states, and harsh lockdown ensued.
Adelaide remained vigilant, conscientious, compliant. Safe. We breathed a communal sigh of relief. We dodged the bullet – what could possibly happen next?
Then our world was rocked once again when we heard The Adelaide Review was to be no more. How can that be?
We are a city where artists and artistic energy are absolutely integral to who we are, essential parts of our DNA.
Artists probe, investigate, translate, communicate. They help us to make sense of our world. They focus our attention on the smallest and biggest ideas and issues and show us, in a whole new way, how we might look at the world around us.
And right now, in this COVID-19 world, we need them more than ever as we grapple with social distancing and strange new norms that challenge our very way of life.
Who now will give voice to those creators? Who will connect artist to audience, culture to consumer, practitioner to philanthropist?
Where shall we turn for the delight of the long-form essay, of thoughtful and provoking review, of pithy and insightful repartee, augmenting our engagement with artform and artist, brokering trust and curiosity and ultimately connection?
The loss of The Adelaide Review will reverberate throughout our city and state and be mourned for decades to come. There is nothing to replace it, nothing that even comes close.
We are all the richer for having had you. We are all the poorer for the loss of you.
In the words of the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”