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Ideas founder recognised with award

Arts & Culture

Adelaide Festival of Ideas founder Greg Mackie has been presented with a $50,000 award for his contribution to culture and the arts.

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Mackie, who was announced as the inaugural 2015 Jim Bettison and Helen James Award recipient on the closing night of the Adelaide Film Festival, said it would spur him on in his work.

That includes “finding citizens and organisations willing to step up and ensure that an iconic South Australian thought leadership event such as the Adelaide Festival of Ideas survives and thrives”, he said.

“It is a worthy mission that I am proud to lead, and I acknowledge the many fellow travellers who gave encouragement, support and commitment over the 16 years since its inception.”

It was recently announced that Mackie had established a non-for-profit organisation to oversee the Festival of Ideas after the State Government withdrew funding. He is hoping to turn it into an annual spring event.

The Jim Bettison and Helen James Award was established to recognised inspiring lifelong contribution by individuals in their area of expertise, including the arts and humanities, social justice, the environment and the sciences.

Mackie said that the late philanthropists Bettison and James were among those who had encouraged him in his “entrepreneurship and cultural advocacy”.

In addition to founding the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, he has served as executive director of Arts SA and on the boards of organisations including the Feast Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre Trust, Adelaide Writers’ Week, Libraries Board of SA, Ngeringa Arts Trust, Soundstream and Festival Fleurieu.

In accepting his award, which is being administered by the Adelaide Film Festival for the next three years, Mackie reiterated the call of others – including Don Dunstan Award recipient Andrew Bovell – for the Film Festival to be held annually.

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