Virtual Research Showcase

Virtual Research Showcase

Friday 3 July 2020, 10am – 1pm (AEST) online via Zoom

Join us for an informal virtual showcase of research in Cultural Geography. In place of the annual showcase of research that usually takes place at the IAG conference, this event will be an opportunity to share our research, receive feedback and have discussions, and importantly, socialise with others working in cultural geography.

You do not have to be an IAG or study group member to attend – all are welcome! Any questions, please contact Kaya Barry <> and Michelle Duffy <>.

Zoom details

Friday 3 July 2020, 10am – 1.10pm (AEST)
Meeting ID: 952 5112 8102
Password: 667966


10.00 – 10.20 Bryan Smith – Mapping settler memory: The case of Townsville
10.20 – 10.40 Diti Bhattacharya – Rivers of Memory: Re-Negotiating Discordant Colonial Identities through Indian Tourism and Heritage Sites
10.40 – 11.00 Kaya Barry, Michelle Duffy, Michele Lobo, Caroline Scarles and Peter Varley – A Conversation through Listening

11.00 – 11.05 Break

11.05 – 11.25 Rowena Butland – “It’s So Noisy”: Aural Interactions Within the Angkor World Heritage Area
11.25 – 11.45 Adam Keen – Stopped Down Cities: The Ethical Worlds of Street Photography on and off the Street
11.45 – 12.05 Jess McLean and Sophia Maalsen – Geographies of digital storytelling: Care and harm in a pandemic

12.05 – 12.10 Break

12.10 – 12.30 Madelaine Moore – Re/productive Unrest: understanding struggles over water through social reproduction theory
12.30 – 12.50 David Reynolds – Effort and change: avoiding plastic materials
12.50 – 13.10 Candice Boyd – Recruiting via Facebook

13.10 Finish

IAG Conference – Sponsored Sessions [cancelled]

UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference has been cancelled. The IAG 2020 organisers are in discussions regarding next steps and possible alternatives to a full, face-to-face conference. Further updates will be available at the conference website: For our part, the cgsg would like to thank all who submitted sessions and abstracts. We look forward to when we meet again.

There are 5 sessions sponsored by the Cultural Geography Study Group for this year’s IAG conference at UNE Armidale in July – a wide range of themes:

  1. Rethinking Infrastructure: Change, Challenge and Creativity
  2. Environmental change and intimacy
  3. New and emerging cultural geography
  4. Geographies of the ground: materials, mobilities, temporalities
  5. Regional resilience and vulnerabilities in the Anthropocene

Details for each are below with contact info. Deadline for Abstract submissions is 20 March 2020. Please submit a copy of the abstract via the conference website and email to session organisers:

1. Rethinking Infrastructure: Change, Challenge and Creativity
Organisers: Kathy Mee, Emma Power, Ilan Wiesel

Geographers are increasingly utilising the concept of infrastructure as a way to understand the challenges of social change and creative responses to surviving, thriving and flourishing. According to Berlant (2016 p. 393) “at some crisis times like this one, politics is defined by a collectively held sense that a glitch has appeared in the reproduction of life. A glitch is an interruption within a transition, a troubled transmission. A glitch is also the revelation of an infrastructural failure”.  Infrastructures are sociotechnical tools, systems and practices that operate in the background of social life, organizing and patterning its possibilities (Amin 2014: 138). The things that people do, even when initially provisional, variable, adaptable and mobile, over time become institutionalised as infrastructures as they are re-performed across space and time. Infrastructures involve both material and immaterial elements, including physical objects and technologies, discourses, symbols, systems, management models, energy, plans, designs and affects (Wilson 2016 p. 273-274).  New infrastructural research considers “what infrastructural forms do in context and in relation to specific sets of actors and practices” (Power & Mee 2019 p.  5). Geographers have utilised this wider concept of infrastructure to explore a range of phenomena and practices, including affect, adaptation, care, digitalisation, financialization, governance, habit, mobility, violence and vulnerability.  We invite papers in this session that rethink infrastructural change, the challenges this brings and creative responses to infrastructures at a range of scales and through a variety of (sub)disciplinary perspectives.

Amin A (2014) Lively Infrastructure, Theory, Culture & Society, 31, 7-8: 137-161.
Berlant, L. (2016). The commons: Infrastructures for troubling times. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34(3), 393-419.
Power ER & Mee KJ (2019) Housing: an infrastructure of care, Housing Studies: 1-22.
Wilson A (2016) The Infrastructure of Intimacy, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 41, 2: 247-280.

2. Environmental change and intimacy
Organisers: Leah Gibbs & Helen F. Wilson

This session considers how environmental change (however conceptualised) reworks, facilitates and/or unsettles intimacies across a range of sites, scenes, scales, and spaces. Whether focused on tidal estuaries or urban communities, bushland or beach, we invite a deliberately broad understanding of intimacy, whether human and/or non-human, elemental or material, feared or cherished. By paying attention to how intimacy appears in narratives and experiences of environmental change—whether catastrophic or mundane—we seek to address the implications for embodied life, and the interactions of culture, economy and politics.

Empirical studies might range from intimate more-than-human relations with private gardens or public parks; intimate interactions with species newly inhabiting a region or space; ambivalent encounters with potentially dangerous species; labour with weedy others; work with infrastructure or materials; efforts to preserve, protect or recover following catastrophic events; entanglements with the elements; engagements with watery places, such as rivers, waterholes, lakes, the ocean, ports, or public pools. Conceptual concerns may be equally broad, and consider notions of encounter, coexistence, transgression, edges, care, contact zones, multispecies ethics, and practice, to name just some concerns.

Questions at the heart of this call include: How might the intimacies of environmental change entangle risk and care, hope and pessimism? How do they become the basis for ethics, mutuality, conflict or denial? How are such intimacies sensed, researched and/or politicised, and with what implications? And how do they appear in and shape public discourse?

We invite methodological, empirical and theoretical contributions.

Abstracts of approximately 200 words should be submitted to the session convenors (Leah Gibbs and Helen F. Wilson

3. New and Emerging Research in Cultural Geography
Organised by IAG Cultural Geography Study Group Convenors: Michelle Duffy, Michele Lobo, Kaya Barry,  Vickie Zhang

In this session we provide a forum for postgraduates, early career researchers and research leaders to showcase recent cutting-edge research in Cultural Geography. Cultural geography comprises a wide-ranging group of geographical sub-disciplines that engages with the arts, humanities, natural and social sciences. Cultural domains of geographical research continue to grow in breadth and depth, with expanding theoretical formulations, methodological approaches and fields of interest. Cultural geographers embrace the historical, material, digital, discursive and affective to advance understandings of place, space and the environment. We welcome your papers that expand the horizon of Cultural Geography! Standard papers/alternative formats welcome.

Please send abstracts to Michelle Duffy (, Kaya Barry (, Michele Lobo (, and Vickie Zhang (

4. Geographies of the ground: materials, mobilities, temporalities
Session Organisers: Tim Edensor & Catherine Phillips

The ground – the earth’s solid surface upon which we live – is a physical manifestation of intermingling traces. Air, water, plants, chemicals penetrate it, while it emits gases and reveals elements. The ground, and the realms it covers, serves as a source for production and a sink for disposal. The traces that inhabit the ground serve as reminders of geologic and cultural histories, but imaginings of the future find inspiration here as well.

Recent work about vertical geographies has alerted us to the horizontalism of much geography. What happens if we scratch this surface? What stories, matters, and interconnections might be revealed, if we delve into the depths of the ground? Much has been consigned to the underground. Edgeworth, for instance, (2017: 157) explains how discarded material provides a foundation on which cities perpetually rise; in central London, this platform is 5-8 metres thick. In another vein, we might ask how the Anthropocene is revealed (or obscured) with notions of material disposal and transformation mark temporal boundaries. What extractions and depositions are occurring, and what this might suggest for future worlds and stratigraphies?

This session seeks papers that explore the diverse ways in which we might investigate what lies within and beneath ground. Topics might include (but are not limited to):

    • What substances find their way underground or to the surface, and with what consequences? What toxicities or therapies emerge? How might we theorise this material that has moved and now mingles with different human and non-humans?
    • What materials, stories, possibilities appear through examination of that which has been covered, discarded, buried? What are the implications of the substances that have been discarded and covered over for the surface?
    • How do different humans and non-humans dwell underground? How are such inhabitations practiced and understood? What might these tell us about shared existences, or new ways of understanding geographies?
    • How are particular underground terrains threaded with successive forms of infrastructure and how might we conceptualize such composite undergrounds?
    • What removals, disposals, and accommodations constitute particular under/grounds? What mobilities are involved? And what interests inform these changes, and their impacts?

Please send abstracts to Tim Edensor ( & Catherine Phillips (

5. Regional resilience and vulnerabilities in the Anthropocene
Session organisers: Michelle Duffy, Beth Edmondson, Kaya Barry

In recent years an expanding literature has begun to explore regional vulnerabilities to anthropogenic climate change. Spanning many disciplines, this scholarship shows promising signs of supporting new understandings of some of the particularities of regions as sites of resilience and challenge. In Australia, regions are ‘often the first areas that suffer from and exhibit adverse impacts from changes’ (Sullivan, 2020: 1), and they are also often adept at responding to them. We are interested in extending these considerations to build new understandings of how regions are affected by climate change and how they experience the intersections of functioning as environments, societies, production centres, landscapes, sites of leadership, imagination and culture.

As an epoch characterised by rising human-induced instability across the complex and interconnected earth system, the Anthropocene casts a different light on regions.  At this time, regions are where anthropogenic climate change is happening to rivers, farms, animals, rainfalls, forests, food supply chains, how people sustain themselves and others, and relational dynamics between them. In regions, human and non-human species regions are experiencing firsthand problems such as biodiversity loss, climate change, deforestation and land degradation.

The goal of this session is to explore and engage with how people in regions are embedded, both as active agents and subjects of environmental changes that are occurring across human and non-human experiences. These changes are disrupting how human and non-human species live and interrelate.

We invite papers that address questions such as:

    • How do regions engage with and experience the double-edged dynamics between resilience and vulnerability in responding to climate change?
    • How can ideas of place and change, transition and resilience, and challenges for the future, provide new insights into lived experiences of relations between environment, landscape, livelihood and culture?
    • Is the Anthropocene changing the meaning of region/s?
    • How do regions bear witness to climate change?
    • Can new understanding of the intimate and deep entanglements of human and non-human worlds contribute to new resilience in regions experiencing climate change?
    • How can regions create buffering periods of transition as they respond to the most disruptive implications and effects of climate change?
    • How are everyday practices of community resilience enacted informally across regions responding to climate change?
    • How are regions ‘re-establishing landscape connectivity’ as they adapt to climate change (Grecequet et al. 2019: 198).

Please send abstracts to: Michelle Duffy (, Beth Edmondson ( & Kaya Barry: (

New group paper: ‘Experiential attunements in an illuminated city at night: a pedagogical writing experiment’

Event flyer for the workshop, by Vickie Zhang

Two years ago, at the 2017 Institute of Australian Geographers annual conference in Brisbane, the study group held a workshop with Professor Tim Edensor (Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Melbourne). Tim had just released his book From Light to Dark: Daylight, Illumination and Gloom (Minnesota, 2017), and about two dozen of us, from graduate students to seasoned academics, gathered to think about themes of light, illumination and movement through urban space.

Upon evening fall, we ventured outside: threading ourselves through the illuminations of Brisbane city. Together, we reflected on the force of light, asked after the nature of attunement, and began to think about the challenge of learning to write creatively.

Our experiences of the day have been collected into an article, recently published ahead of print at GeoHumanities. We are rather proud of the piece, which meanders through writing from 16 attendees that day, and are especially grateful to the editors at GeoHumanities for generously welcoming our wandering experiment.

If you are behind a paywall and would like to receive a copy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Citation: Zhang V, Kelly D, Rodriguez Castro L, Iaquinto B L, Hughes A, Edensor T, McKay C, Lobo M, Kennedy M, Wolifson P, Ratnam C, Buckle C, Dorignon L, Adamczyk E, Barry K, & Bissell D (2019), ‘Experiential attunements in an illuminated city at night: a pedagogical writing experiment’, GeoHumanities. Online ahead of print.

Newcastle Port workshop, 2019

liminal zones workshop

Photograph: Rachel Hughes (2018)

Liminal Zones:
Where sea and land meet

Friday 15 November, 2019, University of Newcastle, Australia

Supported by the Institute of Australian Geographers

In last year’s workshop – Oceanic Responsibilities and Co-belonging – we sought to open up discussion about the intricate, deeply entangled relations between the human and nonhuman world, and what this means in the age of Anthropogenic climate change.

Our aim this year is to build upon these earlier discussions, and explore those zones of intersection and encounter between ocean and land. As with our first workshop, the format for the day reflects our commitment to participatory methodologies that build capacity amongst research participants and project stakeholders, and pursues research grounded in the concerns of our contemporary world.

Our focus is on the port – and the Newcastle Port more specifically – as one of the intersection points between land and water. As Ng et al. (2014: 84) note, ‘ports have played important roles in the socio-economic development of cities, countries and regions throughout the history.’ Yet, these are now often places of rapid deindustrialisation and transition, which not only impacts on the economic wellbeing of these communities but also the foundation of community identities (Stevenson & Paton 2001). While past research has focused on transport, management, policy and governance, we seek to trace the network of human and non-human actors that generate these liminal zones – mindful that the frames we might use necessarily overlap and leak into one another (Lehman 2013). Our interest, then, lies in the intersection of the cultural, social, environmental and material significance of port places.

What we hope to achieve at the conclusion of this symposium is a map of future collaborative projects that are responsive to the opportunities, issues and challenges of port life in general, and the Port of Newcastle in particular.

RSVP Please email Michelle Duffy on <> by Thursday 31 October, 2019.

Workshop program

Venue: University of Newcastle City Campus, Room X803
Date: Friday 15 November, 2019 (lunch will be provided on the day)

Visit to Newcastle Port
Presentations by stakeholders and researchers
Group discussion
Planning for future projects: academics/postgraduate students/stakeholders
Concluding Panel

For those already in Newcastle on Thursday evening, we will also organise an informal, self-funded dinner (venue to be advised).

Continue reading “Newcastle Port workshop, 2019”

IAG 2019: Documentary Filmmaking Workshop with Australian Film-Maker Molly Reynolds

Tuesday July 9, 2019, 10am – 4pm
at The University of Tasmania, Hobart

Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) Annual Conference

The Cultural Geography Study Group is excited to be organising a pre-conference workshop on documentary-making at the 2019 IAG in Hobart, to be run by distinguished Australian film-maker Molly Reynolds.

Molly is a film-maker and cross-platform storyteller, whose documentaries (including Another Country, Twelve Canoes) have played at leading film festivals around the world. Molly has worked and filmed extensively with the Yolngu people of Ramingining in the Northern Territory, producing a suite of award-winning documentary films and other screen-based media on changing life in the region.

The workshop aims to have a practical focus, for geographers interested in incorporating documentary productions and techniques in their research. The event is targeted towards those curious about video and documentary, but perhaps not yet sure if it’s for them, or how to get started. There will be plenty of time for casual discussion and, as always, our pre-conference workshops are a particularly great chance for new graduate students to meet some friendly faces before the conference begins. There will also be more than enough time to stroll from the event to the conference’s opening plenary at 5pm.

The workshop is generously supported by the Institute of Australian Geographers; it is free of charge and open to geographers from all subdisciplines. You do not need to be registered for the conference to attend. RSVP is open until the event – please just let Vickie Zhang <> know that you would like to attend.

Workshop program

The day will be presented in three parts, with breaks in between to discuss ideas and mingle.

Date: Tuesday 9 July, 2019
Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: Social Sciences Room 210, The University of Tasmania, Hobart

SESSION 1: Technical. I Want to Make a Documentary: How?

10.00 – 11.30am – This session is a wide-ranging discussion on how to get started. It will include ways to craft an idea into a strong concept, considerations for sound and camera in the field, choosing post-production pathways, working with talent, finding an audience, containing costs and general rules of engagement.

SESSION 2: Affective. Defining Moments in Documentary

12.00 – 1.30pm – An eclectic collection of shots and scenes that speak to the influences on and potency of the documentary form will be screened and discussed. What makes these images powerful and, in turn, resonate with audience? Philosophical topics such as at what point does the observer become the participant will be mooted.

SESSION 3: Institutional. Navigating engagement, impact and expectations

2.30 – 4.00pm – A discussion with geographers who have been bold enough to make a documentary. We will explore the intersection between academic praxis and film-making, with a focus on the opportunities and challenges of incorporating documentary in practice. Participants will share experiences working across collaborations and within institutional expectations, with the aim of strategising to generate greater possibilities for non-traditional research production.