Leisure and pleasure: the only sustainable solution to stress

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

AUSCCER Retreat Wrap-Up

Two weeks ago twenty-five AUSCCER staff and postgrads attended a postgraduate retreat at Kioloa’s ANU coastal field campus, on the New South Wales south coast. The three days were jam packed with advice and ideas for the PhD process: topics ranging from managing stress, networking, writing tips, and post-PhD trajectories. With the new faculty emerging and seven new PhD students attending (you can ‘meet’ some by clicking here), this was a great chance to take stock of AUSCCER’s present and future.

More importantly Kioloa was an environment for socialising outside the University walls, allowing everyone a chance to get to know the people behind the PhDs and research projects. Days were broken up with some creative icebreakers (adeptly handled by Ananth and Justin), and walks to the bush and the beach. The night activities – Ellen’s trivia designed exclusively for geographers on Tuesday, and a sell-out Wednesday crowd for the faculty band Highfalutin’ – were particular highlights!

Below are a few pictures from the day’s events. A huge thanks to Leah for the idea, initiative and leadership to put the event together, to the staff who made the trip, and everyone who organised sessions throughout the days and nights. Continue reading

Talking research through photographs: notes from the Geographical Society of NSW’s Postgraduate Networking Day

Introduction by Ellen van Holstein

Each year the Geographical Society of New South Wales invites postgraduate students from all over New South Wales to meet up and talk research. Students were invited to bring a picture and briefly present their work based on that image. The event also encouraged the exchange of advice about how to manage a PhD and how to do conferences. The University of Wollongong cohort of postgraduates was represented with ten candidates. The event was an excellent opportunity to think about the core messages of our research projects and to reflect on what it is that makes our geographical minds tick. Having ten new postgraduates start PhDs in geography at the University of Wollongong this year, it was also a great opportunities for old and new AUSCCER postgraduates to get to know each other better and to revel once again in the great wealth of research diversity that AUSCCER accommodates. To get a glimpse of that diversity please click through the photos of the ten AUSCCERites who attended the Geographical Society of New South Wales postgraduate meeting.

Ellen's photo Continue reading

Pregnancy, motherhood and firefighting

“When I decided to make this profession my career I cried because at that point in time [early 1980s] every woman who got pregnant or got married left the profession. Then I had to deal personally with accepting that I also was gay. That was a whole other crying moment because it’s like, okay, I chose a profession over what society says you’ve got to have—family.” Continue reading

Unmasking gender privileges: the flipside of inequity

At first thought, many men (and some women) express a belief that gender inequality is an issue of the past that has been overcome by a generational shift within the emergency services. Upon greater reflection this notion usually turns out to be more complex than initially proclaimed. Continue reading

Eyes wide shut: bushfire, gendered norms and everyday life

“Pop-psychology”—this is the term used to define the obsession in public discourse and media with labelling of gender differences as if these differences are biologically set-in-stone. Western society’s captivation by such dichotomy-based definitions has problematic outcomes when, for example, in leadership debates men and women are portrayed as being incapable of getting along because their ways of communicating are too different.

I was witness to this very scenario at a Community Engagement and Fire Awareness Conference hosted by the NSW Rural Fire Service for 400-odd staff and volunteers in 2011. Continue reading

Why gender matters in emergency management

Gender is a matter of social relations—i.e. social structures with enduring or widespread patterns, rather than an expression of dichotomous biology. Social characteristics, such as gender, cannot be understood in isolation of other social characteristics, such as class, education, disability, age, race and sexuality. As argued by Connell (2010, 6):

‘People construct themselves as masculine or feminine. We claim a place in the gender order – or respond to the place we have been given – by the way we conduct ourselves in everyday life.’

Why is this important in the context of emergency management? It matters for three key reasons. 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

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