[Iag-list] CfP for Nature, Risk, Resilience pre-conf and conf sessions at IAG Conference 2020

Lauren Rickards lauren.rickards at rmit.edu.au
Tue Feb 18 10:13:48 AEDT 2020

We are looking forward to seeing many of you at the IAG Conference in July.

Please consider getting involved in one or more of the events being run by Nature, Risk, Resilience study group folk – see below for more info. There’s some very topical themes.


Dr Lauren Rickards

Associate Professor, Sustainability & Urban Planning, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies<http://cur.org.au/about/study-with-us/>

Co-leader, Climate Change Transformations Research Prog., Centre for Urban Research <http://cur.org.au/people/>
Deputy HDR Program Manager, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies<https://www.rmit.edu.au/staff/our-structure/dsc/our-schools/school-of-guss>
Editor, Dialogues in Human Geography<https://au.sagepub.com/en-gb/oce/journal/dialogues-human-geography>
Co-convenor, Nature, Risk and Resilience Study Group, Institute of Australian Geographers<https://www.iag.org.au/study-groups>
Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II<https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-ii/>

RMIT City Campus
Building 8, Level 11, Room 35
ph. 0427 679 043

Nature, Risk and Resilience study group sponsored sessions
IAG Conference 2020, UNE Armidale July 6th -9th

Pre-conference events

Between rapid impact and slow scholarship

Lauren Rickards, RMIT
Phil McManus, Uni Syd.

One day workshop
Monday 6/7/20, 9am-4pm

To attend, please email Lauren and Phil
Lauren.rickards at rmit.edu.au<mailto:Lauren.rickards at rmit.edu.au>
Phil.mcmanus at sydney.edu.au<mailto:Phil.mcmanus at sydney.edu.au>

Like all academics, geographers now work in a context of increasingly urgent and high-profile climate change and socioenvironmental disasters, growing recognition of the slow violence current systems inflict on particular groups and places, rising frustration with the poor intellectual quality of much public debate, and calls for research to be demonstrably ‘impactful’.

A major upshot is the need to contribute rapidly, substantially and practically to shared, pressing challenges at the same time as publicly articulating and defending the importance of long-term, careful scholarly work. For geographers, this challenge is complicated by internal questions about our discipline’s often precarious institutional status.

This workshop will bring together a diversity of geographers and other scholars to discuss the conundrum of how to do work that is, on the one hand, relevant, responsive and accessible, and on the other hand, careful, critical and scholarly.

It will be spearheaded by presentations from a number of scholars working on especially relevant topics, followed by interactive sessions with participants centred on key questions. The aim will be to generate discussion on the twin needs of responsive relevance and scholarly caution in academic work, and what this means for us as academics, individually and collectively.

Introductions and setting the scene: Australian geography in a time of climatic and political change
Panel discussion (TBC) (10- 15 min. each):

  *   A/Prof. Robyn Bartel – speaking truth to power
  *   Prof Lesley Head and Sue Jackson – the case of the Menindee fish kill expert panel
  *   Dr Marc Tadaki – questioning dominant modes of research impact in phys. geog.
  *   Dr Blanche Verlie – striking for climate change
Questions for Panel and Discussion (Facilitator: Lauren Rickards)
Morning tea
Participatory session 1: How does this resonate with your experiences and strategies?
Participatory session 2: What are the implications for us as academics, individually and collectively?

We will try to record the presentations for those who are unable to attend and post this as a You Tube link on the study group website after the event.

Three Minute Thesis Competition

Organised by Mark Bailey, Griffith University

mark.bailey5 at griffithuni.edu.au<mailto:mark.bailey5 at griffithuni.edu.au>

This inaugural IAG Three Minute Thesis competition will give HDR students and early career researchers the chance to present their current or future research projects. Aligning with the original TMT competitions, the event encourages HDR’s and ECR’s to tell others about their current or upcoming research proposals, and to help hone their presentation and public speaking skills. Please come along and tell us about your work!

Depending on how many participants we get, the competition will run during lunch or at the completion of the aforementioned Between rapid impact and slow scholarship workshop on Monday July 7th, prior to the IAG conference hosted by the University of New England, Armidale.

Conference Sessions

To participate, please submit your 250 word abstract via the conference website:
by March 20th
and email the organisers of your session to let them know

Democratising green finance

Gareth Bryant, The University of Sydney
Sophie Webber, The University of Sydney

Geographers have long studied the commodification, marketization and financialization of nature and environmental governance. In doing so, they have charted innovation and experimentation, identified new forms and sites of value, and examined emerging expertise and scientific knowledge. But, geographers have also demonstrated that attempts to make nature and finance compatible are spatially and socially uneven, produce environmentally flawed outcomes and include undemocratic and unjust processes. In response to the acknowledged contradictions, failures and limits of the economization of nature, this session invites papers that identify and analyse more collective, common, reparative, decolonising, and democratic proposals for financing and governing environments and environmental changes. We invite papers that are analytical, empirical and/or practical and from a plurality of conceptual approaches and geographical sites. The goal of the session is to offer analytical and concrete alternatives to the increasingly privatised and financialised governance of nature, something that will be increasingly necessary in responding to multiple environmental crises.

Geographies of the ground: materials, mobilities, temporalities

Tim Edensor, University of Melbourne
Catherine Phillips, University of Melbourne

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?

New geographies of environment: the intersections of risk, resilience and sustainability

Lauren Rickards, RMIT
Phil McManus, University of Sydney

As the new decade emerges, so too are new geographies of risk, resilience and sustainability. In turn, these are converging in new geographies of environment.

This session encourages empirical and conceptual papers that explore how different areas of life are generating or responding to shifts in the environment and to what effect. Its aim is to provide insight into what new geographies of the environment are being generated in diverse professional, public, political and personal spheres.

Three topics are of particular interest:

  *   How are particular groups helping shape and respond to new environments and environmental challenges? How does this play out at different scales, from the global scale of climate change and mass extinctions, to the intimate scale of closed rooms, air masks and koala mittens?
  *   How are fears about dangerous environments (e.g. those characterised by fires, dust or toxins) intersecting with fears about endangered environments (e.g. water catchments, coral reefs, ecological refugia)?
  *   How are physical disruptions, or the fear of them, interrupting or triggering efforts to reshape social relations with the physical world, for better or worse?

(Re)thinking socio-natural relations around all things justice:
Evolutions, fragmentations and rapprochements

Karen Paiva Henrique, University of Western Australia
Petra Tschakert, University of Western Australia
Alicea Garcia, University of Western Australia
Mark Bailey, Griffith University
Jason Byrne, University of Tasmania

During the past forty years, we have seen a proliferation of social movements engaging with conceptions of justice and nature, including the civil rights movements in the USA, the Green Ban movement in Australia, the environmental justice movement globally, and more recently the climate justice and extinction rebellion movements, among others. Conceptions of justice in these social movements have similarities but also differences, mirrored in the theoretical lenses that have been employed to examine them.

This session welcomes papers that critically examine how justice has been employed by different movements and discourses and to what ends, and which assess their suitability for addressing the multifaceted socio-ecological impacts of the global climate crisis. We seek to question which/whose voices and interests are represented in the pursuit of different conceptions of justice (e.g., distributive, participatory and recognition) and potential pathways towards remedying issues, without exacerbating or engendering new inequalities and forms of oppression.

We welcome contributions that look inwards into justice-oriented movements and discourses (e.g., environmental, social, multispecies, and climate justice) to examine questions of representation, recognition, and autonomy – across privilege and disadvantage. And we encourage papers that look outwards and across different approaches, to critically examine linkages and potential tensions in issue framing – especially between the Global North and South – and that challenge how scale, space, place, and socio-ecological relations are made and un-made through different types of environmental contestation and appeals to justice.

We aim to identify new research directions to scrutinise multiple and intersecting injustices from a geographical perspective and are open to all who commit to justice in a time of accelerated environmental change. This will be a paper and discussion session. Up to five (co)authored papers are envisaged for the session. We would be delighted to consider an additional session, if the call for papers generates substantial interest.

Keywords: justice, nature, place, environment, inequality

Angus, I. ed., 2010. The Global Fight for Climate Justice: Anticapitalist Responses to Global Warming and Environmental Destruction. London, Resistance Books.
Bullard, R.D. ed., 1993. Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots. Boston, South End Press.
Gleeson, B. and Low, N., 2002. Justice, Society and Nature: An Exploration of Political Ecology. London, Routledge.
Haraway, D., 2018. ‘Staying with the trouble for multispecies environmental justice’. Dialogues in Human Geography, 8(1), pp.102-105.
Harvey, D., 2009. Social Justice and the City, 2nd edn. Athens, Ga., University of Georgia Press.

The contested geography of post-disaster reconstruction and recovery efforts

Dr Mittul Vahanvati, RMIT
Lucinda Peterson, MPIA

As Australia continues to face the most devastating bushfire in its history, it is of utmost importance to comprehend how reconstruction and recovery is planned and managed ‘for’ and ‘by’ society. Geographers are recognised to be the founding disciplines of hazards due to their focus on understanding human-nature interactions. Research over the last forty years on human or societal construction of disasters, risk and vulnerability has revealed the importance of power (political, financial or social), governance and/or innovation in shaping recovery practices and outcomes. Each geographical region brings its own cultural values, political, economic and environmental systems. Shaping disaster recovery and reconstruction programs becomes highly complex due to such contestations that emerge from a particular place, sectors, disciplines and stakeholders (politicians, researchers, professionals and community groups). Such a contested geography of post-disaster reconstruction and recovery efforts demand trans-disciplinary interactions to allow for different mindsets and world views to come to a consensus and initiate transformative actions necessary for ‘positive change’.

This session welcomes empirical and theoretical papers that provide insights into how power and governance or innovations have managed to initiate positive change. Empirical papers drawing on case-study examples from a particular country, state or place and/or disaster events that extend across spatial boundaries, are welcomed. Theoretical papers contributing to scholarly discussion on how such systems thinking or nature-based approach can influence reconstruction and recovery programs are also welcomed. The overall aim of this session is to draw on and learn from each other on how to address the mammoth task of rebuilding human settlements, communities and ecosystems in the age of Anthropocene, in a manner that not only ensures our existence but resilience.

Living well in the flammable landscapes of the Anthropocene

Jason Alexandra, RMIT
David Bowman, University of Tasmania

This session will draw on Australia’s recent experience to explore the range of socio-economic and environmental factors that determine vulnerability to disastrous bushfires. In particular it will focus on opportunities to develop ways of living well in flammable landscapes, and what this means for rural and peri-urban areas.  Land use and spatial questions play key roles in the knowing and governing of landscapes, shaping the relational dynamics of bushfires, people and place. These are key concerns for geographers. As a determinant of peoples’ exposure to hazards, spatial factors are central to disaster mitigation and justice.

This session explores opportunities and challenges involved in using integrated approaches to understanding and mitigating bushfire risks. With climate change increasing bushfire impacts and intensities, knowledge of bushfires needs to be systemically converted to plans, policies and practices. Learning to live in the more highly flammable landscapes of the Anthropocene requires adaptive policies and deeper respect for the co-produced nature of country and its bushfires.

Designed to explore the issues from both physical and human geography perspectives, this session will especially focus on the following questions:

  *   What new geographies of fire are emerging in Australia and why?
  *   What does the Anthropocene mean for fire planning and management?
  *   Will the increased intensity of fires result in new and different patterns of settlement and land use?
  *   What kinds of research are need to understand the changing nature of risk and to generate the social and technical changes needed to handle the new fire regimes?

On the move? Emergency (im)mobilities in a changing climate

Carrie Wilkinson, University of Wollongong
Joshua Whittaker, University of Wollongong

Mobilities scholars have sought to deepen understanding of the relationships between bodies and place. The so-called ‘new mobilities’ paradigm of ‘mobility turn’ has brought together a range of theories for a conceptualisation of movement that thinks not only about movement and space, but meaning, materials and affect. The intersection of mobility and disaster is reflected in an emerging literature on ‘emergency mobilities’. Emergencies are characterised by different forms of movement. Emergencies not only impact on existing mobility systems but also generate their own unique (im)mobilities. As evidenced by the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia—in which thousands of people have been evacuated, stranded and displaced—disasters are unfolding over unprecedented temporal and spatial scales, complicating and confounding emergency management efforts. This session seeks to provide a forum in which to explore the diverse and complex (im)mobilities of emergencies. This may include no-notice, short-notice and slow-onset disasters, such as wildfire, floods, heatwaves, sea-level rise, earthquakes, cyclones, war and famine. Discussion points could include (but are not limited to): How are (im)mobilities governed in a crisis? How do different actors define and understand the emergency and (im)mobility? Whose bodies, both human and non-human, are (im)mobile in disasters? What experimental and improvisatory ways are individuals and communities living with and moving (or not) under threat of a disaster? We invite contributions that attend to the environmental, social and cultural specificities of (im)mobilities shaped through disasters. Theoretical, methodological and empirical research papers are welcome.

Geographies of the climate emergency

Blanche Verlie, University of Sydney

Sophie Webber, University of Sydney

Lauren Rickards, RMIT

Throughout the last few years the ‘climate emergency’ movement has grown from a small community led campaign in Melbourne to a worldwide framing sufficiently dominant for the term to be the Oxford Dictionary’s 2019 Word of the Year. Typically, the ‘climate emergency’ framing has been used by activists to call attention to the urgency of achieving rapid emissions reductions. In the 2019-20 Australian summer, however, the climate emergency has been experienced as a more specific bushfire and smoke emergency. This crisis has led to ‘states of emergency’ and ‘states of disaster’ being declared, complete with deployment of the Australian Defence Forces as well as other emergency services being pushed to the brink of their capacity. Meanwhile, prominent leaders including the Prime Minister, suggest that adaptation and resilience are the necessary response.
In these sessions, we seek to understand the spatial and temporal rhythms of ‘climate emergencies’. Specifically, papers in this session will explore how rationalities of ‘emergency’ play out in both mitigation and adaptation, and how they might intersect. We welcome papers from Australia and beyond. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  *   Who is using the climate emergency framing and why? How does its meaning alter as it used by different groups, from higher education institutions and governments to communities and students (see Verlie 2019)?
  *   How does ‘climate emergency’ language motivate or justify climate action - or inaction - on mitigation, climate engineering or adaptation? How does it challenge or encourage the sense that it is already ‘too late’ for some things or some beings (Hulme 2020)?
  *   What forms of climate resilience – for instance, neoliberal and individualistic, or ecological and community-based - does an emergency lens encourage?
  *   What are the relations between the hierarchical nature of emergency management and the climate activism seeking climate emergency declarations?
  *   How does a sense of urgency about climate change, or particular emergencies, intersect with the slow work of climate justice? How does the climate emergency intersect with the ‘slow emergencies’ (Anderson et al. 2019) many marginalised groups have to live with on a daily basis?
  *   What does the rapid uptake of the climate emergency framework mean for critical climate adaptation scholarship (cf Webber 2016)? How does academia need to respond?


Anderson, B., K. Grove, L. Rickards and M. Kearnes (2019). "Slow emergencies: temporality and the racialised biopolitics of emergency governance." Progress in Human Geography. Online first.

Hulme, M. (2020). "Is it too late (to stop dangerous climate change)? An editorial." WIREs Climate Change11(1): e619.

Verlie, B. (2019). "Bearing worlds: Learning to live-with climate change". Environmental Education Research 25 (5): 751-766.

Webber, S. (2016). "Climate change adaptation as a growing development priority: Towards critical adaptation scholarship." Geography Compass 10(10): 401-413.

Geographers “declare”?

Carrie Wilkinson, University of Wollongong

Susannah Clement, University of Wollongong

Laura Hammersley, University of Wollongong

It is increasingly evident that the world is hurtling towards and past planetary boundaries with a range of deleterious environmental, social and economic affects globally, nationally and locally. In response to the failure of governments to address the causes and effects of climate change the call to take emergency action is increasingly being taken up by individuals and organisaitons. Beyond grassroots movemebts like the ‘School Strike for Climate’ and ‘Extinction Rebellion’, a growing number of local governments (CEDAMIA, 2019), industries, organisations and peak bodies, including architects, engineers and doctors, are “declaring” a climate and biodiversity emergency in Australia and abroad (Alliance of World Scientists, 2019).

Climate emergency declarations have been critiqued for a lack consistency in their manifestos, for being just “hollow symbolism” (Kilvert 2019) or a ‘publicity stunt’. Yet what they produce and have in common, regardless of the industry or organisation of their origin, is the making public a commitment and call to action for positive environmental and social outcomes. These declarations present a sense of unity on climate change action within organisations, and (potentially) work to move the discussion of environmental impacts from the fringes to the centre of decision making.

As geographers, we have relationships with, and responsibility to Country, as the field of all our work. We note that there is yet to be a unified declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency from geographers in Australia. This forms the basis of the panel discussion.

We are seeking panellists interested in exploring the question of a climate and biodiversity emergency declaration from geographers in Australia. The format would be for panellists to provide a five minute reflection to the provocation “Geographers declare?” followed by an audience Q&A. We envisage that the conversation may respond to and engage with the following questions (this is by no means a prescriptive or exhaustive list):

  *   What are our responsibilities as geographers? What are our commitments and obligations?
  *   What is our declaration? With the fracturing of the discipline and academic workplaces, how might a declaration from geographers come about? Is this desirable? What might our manifesto be?

  *   What does it mean to declare?
  *   Who listens to us? Who’s voices and stories do we tell? What knowledge systems do we draw on?
  *   What actions come from this? What changes do we make?

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