Looking for the Heart in America

By Nick Skilton

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

CanineSexuality and gender is something that I’ve always spent a lot of time thinking about. Even when I’ve gotten it wrong (it’s been a regular feature of my life as a kid from the suburbs), I’ve tried to use it as an experience to help me get it right. It’s been a long, rocky, weaving, disastrous and beautiful trail. I’m not saying I understand things perfectly these days – I mean, who could? – but I feel I’ve definitely found enlightenment to the point where I can approach sex and gender from both a personal and an academic place and find meaning there. Writing a PhD from a queer perspective, you spend a lot of time interrogating your own life, trying to find meaning that is academically relatable. It’s not always apparent. Often it’s completely invisible, as your life descends into a mess that academic writing can never capture or represent. But sometimes personal experience is a catalysing process that lends meaning to everything that you write about, everything that you wanted to say but lacked the embodied form that makes expression possible, every thought that inhabits your daily being and inevitably threads its meaning into academic praxis anyway, so that as ever, the two become inseparable. Continue reading

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