AAG 2014 Tampa Conference, Day 2: Thoughts From The Bar

By Chantel Carr

Chantel is a PhD Candidate with the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research. She is currently at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida.

A nice evening wander back to the hotel bar tonight, via a quick pit stop at the taco bar. Cheap! Another night for ranging across topics and thoughts spurred by the day’s diverse conference sessions – so far Ellen’s recount of a plenary about epigenetics, discussions about urban morphology and materials, ‘selfies’ and what it’s like to live in different places, making new friends and learning from the local. A somewhat calm recap of what has been a great day. Continue reading

AAG 2014 Tampa Conference, Day 1: Thoughts From The Bar

By Nick Skilton and Ellen van Holstein

Nick Skilton and Ellen van Holstein are both PhD Candidates with the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research. They are currently at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Nick presenting at the AAG conference in Tampa, Florida.

Nick presenting at the AAG conference in Tampa, Florida.

Nick: We’ve finally all found each in the downstairs bar of the Floridan Hotel. The chandeliers scream old school bling, and the waitress is surly because we don’t get tipping etiquette. They don’t have kettles in hotel rooms, but they have great bourbon, and burgers that get served ‘bloody’ enough to send me – the vegan AUSCCERite – upstairs to my room for dinner. Continue reading

Call for papers: Sustainability in the Anthropocene

Institute of Australian Geographers/New Zealand Geographical Society Conference University of Melbourne, June 30 to July 2, 2014.

Organisers: Dr Lauren Rickards (Uni Melb) and Prof Lesley Head (Uni Wollongong)

Still under review as a formal geological term, ‘the Anthropocene’ – the idea that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch due to the accumulated effect of human influences – is, like sustainability, an interdisciplinary concept. It not only brings together multiple scientific disciplines, from geologists and geomorphologists to ecologists and climate scientists, but is fast becoming an intellectual meeting point for a far wider range of scholars, including those coming from historical, political, economic, social and cultural perspectives. Combined with the way that the Anthropocene thesis challenges the ontological basis of the disciplinary divisions listed above, and demands close attention to spatial and temporalscale and boundaries, the Anthropocene is a rich theme for many geographers.

The implications of the Anthropocene for the environmental sustainability project are contested. Some commentators, including some of its originators, see the concept as a call-to-arms for the environmental movement. But others suggest that it reveals the environmental sustainability enterprise to be out-dated or out-moded: ahopeless or misguided exercise.  This session calls for papers that address challenges to sustainability in the Anthropocene from a range of critical perspectives. These could include papers on how issues such as climate change, ocean acidification or species extinctions are positioned within the Anthropocene discourse, critique of certain Anthropocene narratives or images, or implications of Anthropocene relationships for particular policy areas such as geoengineering, mining oragriculture. Other possible topics include the relationship between the Anthropocene and debates about ‘human impacts’, planetary boundaries, species thinking, the human-nature relationship and imaginaries of the future.

Session format: Normal paper format (4-6 papers), with possible discussant depending on number of papers

Instructions: Please email Lauren Rickards (lauren.rickards@unimelb.edu.au) with your abstract of 250 words or less by March 28. And submit it on the conference website when you register.

AUSCCER welcomes Noel Castree

This week we have been very excited to welcome Prof Noel Castree and family to Wollongong. Noel has joined AUSCCER to help create the new Department of Geography and Sustainable Communities, in UOW’s new Faculty of Social Sciences. Amidst the banalities of a university restructuring (which printer do we now use? who signs this form? when is X going to make a decision about Y so that we can get on with Z? who pays for the milk?), we are thrilled to have Noel’s participation in a range of research, teaching and strategic discussions.Castree

Noel Castree’s scholarship on nature, politics and academic geography will be well known to many readers of this blog. His expertise in the political economy of environmental change adds breadth and depth to our existing expertise, and we hope that working in the Australian context will enrich his own work in a variety of ways.

We also hope to entice him to this blog, so watch this space!

Encountering events

Post written by Anna De Jong

Waiting in the deathly long line for the bathroom at the 2012 Sydney Big Day Out I reach for my phone as a form of distraction. My finger intuitively hits the Twitter app, strategically positioned on page one of five on the phone’s desktop. Directly next to Google Maps, Instagram and Facebook. Scrolling through the tweets my excitement and anxiety levels simultaneously increase as it hits me; Foster the People are trending on Twitter – being dubbed ‘best of the #2012BDO’, ‘unexpected’, ‘amazing’. I hadn’t really thought to check them out, this was my designated time to prepare for the headlining acts, entailing a toilet break, and stocking up on much needed food and drink. I leave my strong hold in the bathroom line, making a beeline through the crowds towards my waiting friends – no longer focused on my desperate need for the bathroom, food and drink. They can wait. Continue reading

IAG 2013 – an invaluable experience

Post by Justin Westgate

I had the opportunity to attend the Institute of Australian Geographers’ conference in July which was held in Perth. Having only recently begun doctoral studies here in Australia, and moving across from the more ‘creative’ space of design, the conference not only allowed me to get a gauge on the current landscape of research situated in Australia, but both posed and helped to answer questions about how my own research – which still draws on my creative practice background might intersect with other research strands currently being investigated. Continue reading

Reflections on the 2013 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference

AUSCCER’s Alex Tindale and Charles Gillon attended the 2013 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference in Perth from July 1 to 4. Here they reflect on their experience.

Alex Tindale
Early this month I attended the 2013 Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) Conference in Perth, Western Australia. In the lead-up to the conference I was quite nervous. As a first-year postgrad student, I was a little intimidated by the thought of presenting alongside some of Australia’s most prominent and respected geographers. Having only commenced my PhD candidature four months ago, I was still a little anxious at the (apparently common!) thought that perhaps my research wasn’t valuable or significant enough for the academic world. I had planned to present some preliminary research findings, and was falling into the trap of doubting myself as I prepared my presentation in the days leading up to the trip. I had no idea at that stage that a conference like this was going to be exactly what I needed. Continue reading

Ocean-users and sharks in Western Australia

Do you use the ocean in Western Australia?

If so, we would really appreciate your help with our research. Please click here to fill out our survey. It should take about 15 minutes to complete.

Source: theconversation.edu.au

Over the past couple of years encounters between people and sharks have received a huge amount of public attention. This is particularly true in Western Australia, where five reported fatal encounters tragically took place in a 10 month period during 2011 and 2012. In response to the fatalities, the Government of Western Australia has introduced new measures in shark management, including enabling Department of Fisheries to ‘track, catch and, if necessary, destroy sharks identified in close proximity to beachgoers’ (Gov. of WA, 27 September 2012).

We are two researchers working at the University of Wollongong (Leah Gibbs) and University of New England (Andrew Warren) interested in learning more about the views of ocean-users on this topic. We want to better understand the WA government response to recent events, and the implications of the new approach. We’re particularly interested in hearing from you – as an ocean-user – about your ocean-based activities, your sightings or encounters with sharks (if you’ve had any), and your attitudes towards sharks and shark management.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Leah Gibbs (leah@uow.edu.au).

Thanks in advance for your help with our research.

Leah Gibbs & Andrew Warren

 

Living with, living without weeds: bridging theory and practice

Last week, AUSCCER hosted a workshop for academics and practitioners on this theme at the Novotel Wollongong. We assembled about thirty people connected with our own (Lesley Head, Jenny Atchison and Nick Gill) projects, and with projects where we knew there were partnerships between social scientists and invasive plant managers. The group encompassed a variety of disciplinary traditions (ecology, geography, history, anthropology) and working contexts (State and Local government, NGOs, Aboriginal Land Councils, Universities). They came from all over Australia.

We asked, in an age of social and ecological change, how do we live with weeds? What does this entail ecologically and socially? What are the everyday experiences of managing weeds? How might we reconcile management practice and our lived experience with an ecological vision and policy framework that some places be free from weeds? Continue reading

Bulli Beach rip current experiments – volunteers needed!

Feel like a break at the beach with some research involved? Eureka Prize winner Dr Rob Brander (‘Dr Rip’!) of The University of New South Wales is running some experiments on rip currents at Bulli Beach from Feb 4-8 and 11-15. He needs lots of volunteers to help out by putting GPS drifters in the rips and, if you are a good swimmer, jumping in rips with GPS on to test out various escape strategies. Don’t worry, there will be lifeguards at the beach at all times! It’s been done at several beaches already and is an important and fun experiment. Experiments usually run for about 3-4 hours each day. You can help out for a day, two days or the whole week(s). Food is provided and if you’re not a local, accommodation as well. Please contact Rob at rbrander@unsw.edu.au if you’d like to help out. For more information on Rob’s award-winning program on surf safety and community awareness check out www.scienceofthesurf.com.