The last year has seen political and popular discussions of migration dominated by a language of ‘crisis’ and emergency response. From the ongoing securitisation of the Calais freight terminal, to the production of new border walls in Europe, policies on migration over the last year have focused on extending trends of extraterritorial exclusion, political distancing, and the deferral of moral responsibility. Yet at the same time, the mass movement of refugees witnessed in Europe has raised profound questions over the desirability, and effectiveness, of these responses.
Syrian refugees strike at the platform of Budapest Keleti railway station, Hungary, 4 September 2015. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov.
(Enjoying slushies earlier in the day before things got crazily crazy.)
Last year, three geography postgraduate students attended a music festival in the birthplace of jazz. This is what they found…
A Summary of the Day: Nick and Shaun
The Jazz and Heritage Festival is a big deal in New Orleans (NOLA). I don’t think we realised how big a deal until we were submerged in a sea of sweat, smuggled spirits, and sound. But we’ll get to that. ‘NOLA Jazzfest’ as it commonly known has grown from its humble beginnings in 1970 when 350 people attended. On that day, Duke Ellington, The Preservation Hall Band, Fats Domino, and Mahalia Jackson (who was not booked, but simply heard about the Festival and showed up to sing), plus many others performed. In 2015, 460,000 punters turned up over the 10 days (2 weekends with the week in between), the largest attendance since Hurricane Katrina. Miserable weather on the first weekend however saw to it that the second weekend accommodated the bulk of that number but random locals we encountered in the following days claimed (since the organisers now no longer release daily attendance figures) that the Saturday that we attended may have rivalled the 2001 single day record of 160,000 attendees when Dave Matthews Band and Mystikal performed during the peak of their powers. Anyway, you get the picture. It was packed.
(It looks small but it’s really not. However, still not big enough for Saturday’s crowd.)
… ‘our writing equipment takes part of the forming of our thoughts’ (Nietzsche, 2005 in Kitchin et al., 2013: 68).
I like the above quote from Nietzche (and I suspect that the reason why Kitchin et al. selected it as quote in their paper) is that it argues that what we write with (pen and paper or word processor) and what we disseminate our writing through (paper or a computer screen) are not passive mediums through which our writing is produced and received but are instead significant actants that play an integral role in influencing how our ideas develop and are understood by our readers. As Isin and Ruppert (2015: 2) succinctly put it ‘we not only do things with words but do words with things’. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of how the Internet and ‘cyberspace’ are changing research writing practices and products. Of particular interest to this series on writing and space is the way the various technologies associated with cyberspace have been variously heralded as a means of overcoming space-time barriers to how ideas/knowledge are disseminated. Continue reading →
The festive season is almost upon us but many of us will find it surprisingly difficult to switch off and have a real break. E-mails, text messages, social media and all the other digital ways we are linked in, make it hard to step back and focus on what really matters – our health. Continue reading →
Paul Keating recently weighed into the push for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, stating the recognition project has lost direction. His invocation of ‘unfinished business’ was a salient reminder that the primary object of repair is the foundation of settler colonialism, and there is a need to transform the political and social relationship between Indigenous and settler Australia. What are settlers failing to see?
A few years back, I was attending Garma festival in northeast Arnhem Land, as part of a research project examining the significance of cultural festivals for improving Indigenous socio-cultural wellbeing. Garma is cultural diplomacy at work: Yolhu (Traditional Owners of north-east Arnhem Land) invite government and non-government agencies, academics and political leaders onto Country to discuss and negotiate issues determined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agendas. Alongside the main event, there were a series of other initiatives, one of which was a women’s cultural tourism program. I sat in on a workshop where Yolhu women were teaching Napaki (non-Indigenous) women about Yolhu kinship systems and responsibilities. Continue reading →
Currently, I am in the early stages of fieldwork. It has been fun getting to know families in Wollongong and talking about my study. I thought I would share on the AUSCCER blog a bit about my project and advertise to anyone who is interested in participating in the local area. Also, I would like to share some really great media coverage that I have had the last month!
Generally, my PhD research project is looking at play in the city. Play is often associated with children’s activities (Aitken, 2001; Skelton, 2009). Children are assumed to be playing outside of adults’ supervision and in their free time (Van der Burgt & Gustfson, 2013). However, play is a term that has been socially and culturally constructed, and a term used by adults to understand what children are doing (Thomson & Philo, 2004). Through theorizing play, children’s geographers have tried to unravel social constructions of play, and to understand, from a children’s perspective, what exactly play means (Cloke & Jones, 2005).
Fire management agencies in southern Australia have increased the amount of prescribed burning in southern Australia in recent years as a strategy to reduce the risk from bushfire. One of the potential downsides of this strategy is an increase in smoke exposure to communities on the urban interface because a larger area is treated than would burn from bushfire. Planners of prescribed fires try to avoid smoke impact by modelling the likely dispersion of smoke and avoiding days when smoke will affect local communities. We know very little about the actual smoke impact from prescribed fires, especially near the fire, and the accuracy of smoke dispersal models.
Naomi Klein’s (2014) book ‘This changes everything’ documents the lack of political will to address climate change in any meaningful way. While she points to the neo-liberal capitalist system as the underlying problem she also makes some interesting points about why it is so difficult motivate people to change their behaviours in the light of climate change. One of her arguments is that change involves a certain level of discomfort and that many people are unwilling to give up their comfortable high emission lives. This is why government strategies that encourage individuals and households to lower their greenhouse gas emissions by for example, reducing the amount of car driving they do are not particularly successful. We argue here that it is not just physical comfort that is significant but also the emotional comforts that make it difficult to reduce driving for the sake of the environment. Continue reading →
Last week’s blog opened this series on ‘writing and space’ with a reflection on how the sabbatical (if available) should be approached more strategically to create space for writing in the neoliberal university. This week I want to continue the theme of making space for writing with a reflection on the field of ‘pedagogies of research writing’. In particular I want to examine what such approaches have to offer in the broader context of the training/professionalization of higher degree research students and how human geography understandings of space-time may be applied to these approaches.