Come and get the most out of the NZGS-IAG conference by coming to our pre-conference symposium on the deeply geographical topic of Fire...

Institute of Australian Geographers

Framing Flammable Futures Symposium


Wednesday 11 July, 2018

9.30am – 4.00pm

University of Auckland



Climate change and the intersecting issues of the Anthropocene demand that questions of sustainability and disaster are thought together. This one day, participatory, pre-conference symposium will use the IAG/NZGS conference at the School of Environment, University of Auckland, 12-14 July, to bring together members of the new Environmental Sustainability-Hazards Risk and Disasters study group and others to discuss a key climate change challenge: our increasingly flammable future.


The unprecedented 2017 Port Hills fires in Aotearoa New Zealand and other recent fire events in Australasia underline the need to explore how diverse groups currently manage their existing and potential engagement with fire, and may need to manage it in the future. As pointed out by scholars such as Nigel Clark, Kathryn Yusoff, Simon Dalby, Stephen Pyne and David Bowman, rethinking how humans relate to fire – from contained combustion of fossil fuels to the “wild” fires that sweep through landscapes and lives – is now a key intellectual and practical issue.


This pre-conference event will contribute to this task by bringing together diverse perspectives. Participants will discuss how the emergence of a more flammable future under climate change reflects and affects the ways in which fire is currently framed - whether as natural or unnatural presence, a social risk, a cultural resource, or something else. It will examine possible biases and injustices of contemporary fire management, including tensions and synergies between disaster risk reduction and longer-term sustainability.


Scholars and practitioners are invited to submit abstracts for 10 minute presentations in response to the above and the following prompts: How is fire typically framed in your line of research or work, and why? What are strengths and weaknesses of this approach? How do issues around climate change, disasters and/or sustainability feature, or not feature? What will or should the human relation to fire look like in the future?


Please send your 200-220 word abstracts to Timothy Neale ( and Lauren Rickards ( by 31st March 2018.


This symposium is sponsored by the Enviro Sustainability-Hazards Risk Disasters study group. Thanks to financial support from the IAG we are pleased to offer a small amount of travel support ($200 pp) to PhD and Early Career scholars. If you would like to be considered for this funding please add a short 100-150 word note to your abstract submission explaining why you would benefit from travel support.