On our slow-moving cultural crisis and more

Today, readers comment on issues facing state cultural institutions away from the festivals spotlight, and the need for services at Bowden.

Mar 13, 2024, updated Mar 13, 2024
The vacant North Tce block intended for the stalled Aboriginal cultural centre. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The vacant North Tce block intended for the stalled Aboriginal cultural centre. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Commenting on the opinion piece: South Australia’s slow-moving cultural crisis

What a fantastic piece. It would be wonderful if it had some effect. – Penelope Curtin

But we’ve got footy. AND motor racing! Who needs kulcha? And old things? – Ros Belle

Yes, Adelaide’s cultural fabric is indeed badly frayed, with its bedrock arts institutions neglected in the face of the state government’s blinkered focus on popularist mass spectacle as a driver of visitor numbers and economic multipliers.

As Justin O’Connor pointed out, this investment in large scale temporary events underwrites a FIFO situation where actors, artists and festival directors pass through Adelaide without putting down roots or making a lasting contribution to the ongoing richness and complexity of the city’s urban culture.

But what role has been played in this depressing scenario by advice to government, or lack of it, by the public service, through the apparently impotent Arts South Australia, now part of the Department of Premier and Cabinet? Or for that matter, what has the current Arts Minister, Andrea Michaels been doing to advocate for the arts besides appearing in the social pages smiling benignly at yet another opening event.

Ah yes, let’s have a State Cultural Policy as a panacea for all this cultural discontent. Again, I agree with Justin O’Connor that the supposed ‘consultation process’ for the development of this cultural policy has been laughably inadequate and tokenistic. The online questionnaire used to develop said policy read like it had been lifted straight from an episode of Utopia or Yes Minister.

Unfortunately, the funded arts sector has become compliant through dependency on its pay masters, with many working in the sector overly conscious of the next promotion, so no one, except those of us who are independent or retired, is prepared to call out the current dire situation. – Dr Margot Osborne

Commenting on the story: Feds called on to get Bowden a pharmacy

While the Pharmacy Location Rules makes sense when applied broadly, ensuring that there’s a reasonable distribution of pharmacies across all areas, it clearly breaks down in instances such as this, where it blocks being able to deliver services where people actually live to protect a pharmacy in the middle of a light industrial area near the intersection of two of Adelaide’s most pedestrian-hostile roads.

It may be 1.5km away as the crow flies, but it may as well be the other side of the city given how inaccessible it is. Clearly exceptions are made when I can visit seven different pharmacies within literal stone throws of each other in Rundle Mall alone (three of which are the same chain), and similar allowance should be built into the rules for medium to high density developments.

With an ageing population that comes with increasing numbers of people who can no longer drive, combined with more people both choose not to or simply can’t afford to, it’s imperative that there are at least some pockets of Adelaide that are liveable without making car ownership effectively mandatory.

Bowden was sold as being one of those areas ever since the initial masterplan, but it still hasn’t achieved that goal. It’s all well and good to point to the Pharmacy Guild or Australia Post and say it’s out of our hands, but that doesn’t it make it any less of a failure to deliver on the promise of an exemplary walkable development. – Nathan Adams

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