Meet Carrie Wilkinson

Carrie Wilkinson

Carrie Wilkinson

The Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) is a teaching and research group focusing on cultural and social aspects of environmental issues. AUSCCER’s expertise and research is wide-ranging. Over the next few months we’ll introduce some of our academics and PhD candidates to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Carrie Wilkinson began her PhD with AUSCCER at the start of 2015. Here she answers questions about her research.

 

You’re in the early stages of your PhD candidature. How would you describe the focus of your research?

My current doctoral research focuses on the agency, assemblages and materiality of water and water tanks in everyday life. Specifically, I am interested in learning from the everyday water experiences and practices of households which subsist on non-mains water sources – such as bore water, rainwater, river water and/or dam water – in peri-urban bushfire prone landscapes.

Tank water households are largely self-sufficient in terms of gathering, storing, conserving, recycling and disposing of water for household consumption and I am interested in what emerges through residents’ narratives of life with water tanks and tank water, and life without mains water supplies. By taking seriously the vitality of water and water tanks I want to better understand the vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities of tank-water households in a changing climate, where events such as drought and bushfire are expected to increase pressure on water supplies in future.

 “Whitewashed house with corrugated iron roof and water tank, Hill End” c.1870-1875 (Source: State Library of NSW, image by American and Australasian Photographic Company).  What do we know about water tanks?  What can we learn from water tanks? How do we “know” water tanks? I want to provide an historical context and theoretical framework for understanding contemporary Australian water- and water tank-relations. To do so, I have been exploring the catalogues of Australia’s libraries, museums and newspapers to find resources such as photographs, legislation, editorials and so forth relating to different perspectives and times of water abundance and scarcity, and different attitudes to storing and using water and water tanks in Australia.

“Whitewashed house with corrugated iron roof and water tank, Hill End” c.1870-1875 (Source: State Library of NSW, image by American and Australasian Photographic Company).
What do we know about water tanks? What can we learn from water tanks? How do we “know” water tanks? I want to provide an historical context and theoretical framework for understanding contemporary Australian water- and water tank-relations. To do so, I have been exploring the catalogues of Australia’s libraries, museums and newspapers to find resources such as photographs, legislation, editorials and so forth relating to different perspectives and times of water abundance and scarcity, and different attitudes to storing and using water and water tanks in Australia.

 

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