Just over a year ago, people who care about South Australian arts and culture were stunned by the sudden closure of The Adelaide Review after more than 30 years.

At Solstice Media, we were saddened but not surprised by the sudden decision by the Review’s owner. Local journalism has been under threat for years and arts criticism is a tough commercial proposition.

The disaster sparked a thought, which soon grew into a conviction that we could do something to fill the growing breach in professional arts reviewing and cultural journalism.

From a standing start, we had InReview ready to go in February 2021 – just in time for the peak festival season.

We began InReview with complete confidence in the idea underpinning the project: a new community-supported model for funding professional and rigorous arts review and cultural commentary.

We were less sure about how much practical support we’d be able to attract, while also doing the hard graft of producing the work. We had to build a new team, a new approach, a new audience.

What happened next was gratifying to us all. We quickly gained enough funding support to launch and give us confidence to commit to a second year of operation. Writers, journalists and critics came to us with energy and ideas; artists and arts companies immediately recognised the value of the project; readers embraced the work.

Places well beyond the borders of South Australia also saw what we were doing and wanted the same for their own communities who, like us, were deeply worried about a growing lack of local, professional arts reviewing.

Since February, we have produced more than 420 articles – reviews, previews, features, analysis, opinion and more. We have directly funded the work of 27 critics and provided an outlet for many other writers. In all, nearly 70 people have worked on InReview this year. We’ve started a mentorship program, in partnership with the Helpmann Academy, to identify and support the next generation of critics.

As we enter our second year, we are preparing for the next phase for InReview: a new, stand-alone website to facilitate the broad sharing of our work under a creative commons licence, and the potential launch of the model into a new location in Australia.

We’re excited about what we can achieve in the years to come, given the continued support of funding bodies and generous individuals (if you would like to contribute a tax-deductible donation, follow the link at the bottom of the page).

It has been a very tough couple of years for artists in South Australia and I’m grateful to the arts community for supporting what we’ve been doing at this time.

We’re also very grateful to our major backers and the many individuals who have donated to the cause.

As a community, we’ve started something which has given new life to arts journalism in South Australia and, which, in turn, will make the arts stronger and better.

I’d also like to thank our team of writers who represent the best in the business in SA and, of course, our readers. Without you, none of this means anything.

InReview will be on a short break – but we’ll be back in your inbox on January 12.

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