Adelaide Writer’s Week

Each year I love attending Writer’s Week because of the variety of authors it attracts and the inspiration they bring. This year’s theme: “the only constant” opened a discussion or us to think about how things changed, or did they?

The Adelaide Writer’s Week event is held over one week in the beautiful Pioneer Women’s Gardens. This is the perfect location to listen to both inspiring and entertaining stories beneath a canopy of green trees with a light summer breeze.

Adelaide Festival celebrates 60 years in 2020 and it gives us a chance to reflect on the changes that have happened during that time. In particular, no matter how far we have advanced with technology, our society has not evolved in thought.

Technology has made it easier for schoolyard bullies to grow up and harass people on a global scale through social media platforms. This was one of the points raised in Pakistan author and Journalist Saneem Maher’s book A Woman Like Her. The book analyses the real life events leading to the death of a social media celebrity in Pakistan.

Another author and speaker whose book I would not normally have read, John Marsden, spoke about the importance of bringing experience into teaching and challenging the norm. Interestingly, his process for hiring teachers was based on the person and the experiences they have had and not the traditional career path. He would hire someone who had spent four months trekking in Nepal over a person who had just come out of university and teacher training with no life experience. This method has worked for teaching the students in his private school. However, it would be a big change in a publicly run institution.

By challenging the way we do things, is the only way society will evolve an grow. Otherwise we stay in the same comfortable holding pattern and things will not change. We will keep doing the same thing over and over but not feel any sense of achievement as we might through developing new ideas.

Why is society afraid of change? Why do we look to positions in authority to make decisions for us? Are they really in a position of authority?

This raises the point of leadership over representative. But this is a subject for another time.

Indigenous author Tyson Yunkaporta, and controversial speaker, summed it up perfectly that most of the problems in the world are caused by people thinking they are special. When in fact no-one is really special. When we stop thinking that we are the only one of importance, a lot more can be achieved. We will be open to change and new thoughts.

When you think about how segments of society think and behave; then this makes sense. It is society whom give these people power by accepting their behaviours such as the transition of a schoolyard bully transforming into a social media troll.

When society no longer accepts those special people, they lose power and realise they are not special after all. Sure, they will try and cause anguish on others to make themselves special again, but society will then have learned to evolve.

When each person has this belief that they are special, then they are not evolving into the best person they can be. However, we can all be a part of something special by embracing our differences and thinking differently.

By embracing change and taking a chance to think differently, will mean everyone can be a part of something truly special as a community.