About Charles Gillon

Charles Gillon is a PhD candidate at the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities and the Australian Centre of Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER), University of Wollongong. His current research is concerned with cultures of homemaking, nature and finance and their translation into lived experiences of housing in coastal Australia. You can follow Charles on Twitter @CharlieGillon.

Extended Deadline: 2018 Housing Theory Symposium

2018 Housing Theory Symposium Call For Papers

The Financialisation of Housing

School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, University of Wollongong


5-6 February, 2018

Convenors: Nicole Cook and Charles Gillon

The School of Geography and Sustainable Communities is very excited to be hosting the 2018 instalment of the Housing Theory Symposium, centred on the theme of ‘The Financialisation of Housing’.

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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

Call for papers IAG/NZGS 2014: Nonhuman Agency

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

Organisers: Dr Leah Gibbs (University of Wollongong), Dr Andrew Warren (University of New England), Mr Charles Gillon (University of Wollongong)
This session is concerned with the agency of nonhumans in shaping environmental politics, environmental decisions, and everyday encounters. Nonhuman agency is currently the subject of research across cultural and posthumanist geographies, political ecology and political economy. Each of these fields brings into focus different aspects of the agency of nonhumans, as well as a range of critiques. Political economic research has been critiqued for adopting an overly constrained view of agency, and for failing to confront the political subjectivity of socio-natures. ‘The inadvertent consequence is a failure to address the full scope of environmental processes’ (Bakker 2010, 717). Cultural geography – and especially posthumanist approaches – have extended agency beyond the human realm, to consider agency of animals and objects, and more recently plants and elements (including freshwater and the sea). However, such accounts of distributive agency have been critiqued for flattening relations too much. Accounts of nonhuman agency enable better understanding of events and relations, the implications of environmental decisions and actions, and present opportunities to pose alternate questions of conceptual and practical importance. This session seeks to advance interrogation of the role of the agency of nonhuman animals, plants, elements, objects, and processes, and the question of which things and processes have the power to act. 
We welcome papers that focus on:
  • conceptual and theoretical questions;
  • theoretically informed empirical research;
  • methodology; and
  • political implications of nonhuman agency.
Session format: Standard paper session (4 papers). This session is being sponsored by the Cultural Geography Study Group.
Instructions: Please email Charles Gillon (cwg317@uowmail.edu.au)  with your abstract of 250 words or less by March 28th. Additionally, submit your abstract on the conference website when you register.

As the smoke clears: Port Kembla’s stack and the place of industrial heritage

Port Kembla’s iconic smokestack stands no more. Towering above the Illawarra skyline since 1965, the 198 metre stack was demolished this morning. The Illawarra Mercury has provided rolling coverage leading up to the demolition. The demolition of the stack has divided opinion, but on the whole its removal appears positive – touted to instigate a revitalisation of Port Kembla’s social character, and an improvement in the Illawarra’s economic fortunes. Conversely, the demolition of Port Kembla’s stack highlights the uncertain place of industrial cultural heritage in today’s modern, technology-driven, climate-aware society.  Continue reading

Digging up the agency of soil

Post written by Charles Gillon

Approaching the world from a relational ontology creates the impetus to explore complex entanglements between human and nonhuman, and challenge pre-given conceptions of how we live. To this end, I ask here whether a patchy lawnscape can work towards unveiling the agency of soil.

My Honours thesis, conducted last year, focussed on exploring a series of everyday human/nonhuman interactions in a rural residential estate (RRE). The RRE is an emerging form of master-planned estate (MPE) within Sydney’s greater metropolitan region, comprised of sizeable private lots interspersed with rural amenities; community facilities, remnant bushland, and productive land uses. The aim of this study was to see whether living in an RRE – where there is a more obvious presence of nonhumans than in suburban counterparts – was conducive to a more convivial relationship with the living environment and its myriad of nonhuman residents.

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