Conference Report: Invisible Places, Sounding Cities, Viseu, Portugal, July 11-20

By Theresa Harada

Figure 1. Viseu, Grao Vasco Museum, July 14, 2014, 2pm.

Figure 1. Viseu, Grao Vasco Museum, July 14, 2014, 2pm.

The conference of Invisible Places was held at the Escola Superior De Educacoe de Viseu and co-incided with the Sounding Cities program of Jardins Efemeros. This meant for around two weeks this historic city 150 kilometres inland from coastal Porto, was overrun with a diverse range of scholars, musicians, artists and performers who were all in one way or anther interested in sound as a medium. The city positively buzzed with music held in many of the attractive inner city parks where residents lolled in cafes alongside fountains, eating ice-cream and drinking wine and coffee in the warm evenings. Later, the narrow cobblestoned lanes of the historic centre of town hosted electrifying rock and jazz bands until 4 am, the streets were jam packed with market stalls and people dancing, drinking and eating. Continue reading

Reflections on Flight Ways and Bird Cultures

I finish Flight Ways. Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction in a house surrounded by birds. With windows at every turn, it sometimes feels like being in a very cosy bird hide. As I reflect on Thom Van Dooren’s haunting book, my companions are wrens hopping around nooks and crannies in their constant search for insects. A winter flock of Satin Bowerbirds lands on the lawn, eats and leaves. High above, a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles circles. Kookaburras and magpies greet the clear cold air of dawn.Flightways

Inside the house, feathers from who knows what far away bird fly as I shake out the old doona for visiting friends. A wooden duck welcomes them at the front door. There is chicken for dinner. Graham Pizzey and Neville Cayley help us name birds according to particular taxonomies and traditions, and learn more of their habits. Continue reading

Why do we care if you’re as warm as toast?

If you follow AUSCCER on social media you’ve probably seen quite a lot of chatter about being as warm as toast… Or more commonly hashtagged on Twitter as #WarmAsToastUOW. So what exactly are we talking about and why do we care whether you’re as warm as toast? Continue reading

Post-presentation shutdown and the art of question time

Professor Lesley Head.

Professor Lesley Head.

You’ve nailed the presentation. Structured it well. Timed it just right. No powerpoint stuff-ups. You’re pretty sure you had most of the audience with you. You draw breath and take a glass of water. Your brain relaxes.

But wait, there’s question time, and if you’re lucky, a chance for extended discussion. Just as your brain relaxes, you need it to function more than ever, and fast. Continue reading

First impressions – IAG/NZGS Conference Melbourne 2014

Post by Susannah Clement.

This way to the IAG/NZGS...

This way to the IAG/NZGS…

The rush of last minute packing, cancelled flights, terminal changes and jettisoning your overweight belongings at check-in could be construed as a ‘bad’ start to ones conference experience. But in hindsight, the ‘running through the airport’ story can be brought up in those awkward networking conversations on the first day. You know the ones – I had many at the IAG/NZGS Postgrad day. They go something like this… Continue reading

Warm as toast? Exploring diverse cultures of thermal comfort

This article was first published by UOW’s Global Challenges blog on 30 June and written by Natascha Klocker.

Think about a time when you’ve lived in, or visited, another country, one where the climate is very different from what you’re used to. How did you adapt? Were your strategies for keeping warm (or cool) dissimilar to those of the local population? Was your thermal comfort threshold noticeably different?

When I was a PhD student, I spent a number of years living in Tanzania.

Thankfully, I spent most of my time in the country’s temperate Southern Highlands, but I was also a regular visitor to Tanzania’s largest city: bustling, humid, hot and coastal Dar es Salaam. Continue reading

Michael Adams talks about hunting on ABC Illawarra

Dr Michael Adams

Dr Michael Adams

On 18 June 2014 AUSCCER’s Dr Michael Adams was interviewed by Nick Rheinberger on ABC Illawarra. He discussed his recent article “Caught in the Net of Life and Time” which was published by Meanjin earlier in June 2014.

Here’s the audio of Michael’s ABC Illawarra interview.

Free download: Household Sustainability

The cover of Household Sustainability: Challenges and Dilemmas in Everyday LifeLast year Household Sustainability: Challenges and Dilemmas in Everyday Life was published. You can now download the Introduction of the book for free.

The book is written by: Chris Gibson, Carol Farbokto, Nicholas Gill, Lesley Head and Gordon Waitt.

Contrary to the common rhetoric that being green is ‘easy’, household sustainability is rife with contradiction and uncertainty. Households attempting to respond to the challenge to become more sustainable in everyday life face dilemmas on a daily basis when trying to make sustainable decisions. Various aspects of life such as cars, computers, food, phones and even birth and death, may all provoke uncertainty regarding the most sustainable course of action. Drawing on international scientific and cultural research, as well as innovative ethnographies, this timely book probes these wide-ranging sustainability dilemmas, assessing the avenues open to households trying to improve their sustainability.

The book is now also available in paperback.

Conference presentations – some tips and tricks

Professor Chris Gibson

Professor Chris Gibson

The 2014 IAG/NZGS Joint Conference is being held next week (30 June – 2 July) in Melbourne. So we’ve decided to revisit Chris Gibson‘s blog post from 2012 about tips and tricks for conference presentations. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section of this post or share them with us via Twitter @AUSCCER. Continue reading

Relational landscapes and rock star geographers on a solo flight

After a very smooth trip to Malmö, Sweden I stepped into an IKEA catalogue. This hotel room was going to be home for the next four days. I was in Malmö for the Relational Landscape Studies of Urbanisations Conference at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. I have blogged before about how I find conferences exciting and overwhelming experiences. It was great “flying in AUSCCER formation” at the two first conferences I attended. In those instances there were colleagues who introduced me and who guided me and other starting PhD students around. None of that on this occasion, it was time for my first solo flight.