Geographies of Creative Expression


CFP: The Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Armidale, 6th-9th July 2020


Session Organisers: Carlota de la Herrán Iriarte (UNSW Canberra), Zhe Li (UNSW Canberra), George Burdon (UNSW Canberra), Melinda Young (UNSW/UOW), Chantel Carr (UOW)


This session seeks to explore how creative modes of expression might constitute different ways of perceiving and knowing the world, and thus provide crucial sites for geographical thought. Affirming that “the world does not exist outside of its expressions” (Massumi, 2002: xiii), this session seeks to open a space for the analysis of creative modes of expression—such as those provided in literature, cinema, art and music—and the corresponding worlds they might generate, and how these might provoke, call into question or reframe the notions by which geographical thought proceeds. Whilst acknowledging the history of disciplinary research surrounding creativity and creative practices—and in a time in which the term ‘creativity’ risks becoming an empty buzzword of the neoliberal and entrepreneurial capitalist project (Raunig, 2013)—this session seeks to ask not how geographers might become more ‘creative’ or how any specific individual, object or practice can be labelled creative; instead the session seeks to theorise creative events as expressive in a sense that would therefore open a wider remit of potential ‘sites’ of creativity. 


This session therefore invites conceptual and empirical contributions that re-situate creative expression as a vector for different ways of ‘doing’ geographical thinking. In doing so, the session seeks to contribute to a conceptualisation of the ideational and material, non-representational forces of the world that exist beyond a human-centred, rationalist mode of apprehension (Williams et al. 2019; Ruddick, 2017). Furthermore, this session wishes to explore alternative and experimental modes of academic presenting that might enable geographers to enact the molecular force of expression beyond all molar systems of meaning and communication (McCormack, 2010). Here we might also look to Hawkins’ (2013; 2015) sustained calls to pursue geography’s interdisciplinary relationship with creative and arts-based practices and methodologies for inspiration. Finally, and politically, the session hopes to probe how creative expression might speak to “a world of many worlds” (Blaser & de la Cadena, 2018: 1), what William James named a ‘pluriverse’: one “permanently in the making, ongoing and unfinished” (Savranski, 2019: 17). 

The following is a non-exhaustive list of themes that contributions might engage with:

ˇ       Geographical sensibilities as expressed through film, music, art, literature or other creative practices

ˇ       The (micro-)politics of creative expression

ˇ       Emergent sites of art-science collaboration 

ˇ       Philosophies of expression or creativity

ˇ       Post-/de-colonial expression

ˇ       Collectives/communities of expression

ˇ       Creative expression and feminist critique

ˇ       Engagements with the expressive force of human/nonhuman entanglements

ˇ       Conceptual and/or empirical experiments with creative modes of academic writing and presenting

ˇ       The geographies of specific modes of creative expression


Please send abstracts and expressions of interest to George Burdon (, Zhe Li (, Carlota de la Herrán Iriarte (, Chantel Carr ( and Melinda Young ( Please also submit abstracts online here:

The call for abstracts closes Friday 20th March.



Blaser, M., and de la Cadena, M. (2018). ‘Pluriverse: Proposals for a world of many worlds”. In A World of Many Worlds, Durham and London: Duke. 

Hawkins, H (2013) For Creative Geographies: Geography, Visual Arts and the Making of Worlds. Routledge.

Hawkins, H (2015) Creative geographic methods: Knowing, representing, intervening. On composing place and page. cultural geographies 22(2): 247-268.

Massumi, B. 2002. ‘Introduction: Like a Thought’. In B. Massumi [ed.] A Shock to Thought: Expression after Deleuze and Guattari. Pp. Xiii-xxxix.

McCormack (2010) Thinking in Transition: The Affirmative Refrain of Experience/Experiment. In B. Anderson and P. Harrison (Eds.) Taking Place: Non-representational Theories and Geography (pp.201-220). Surrey: Ashgate.

Raunig, G. (2013). Factories of Knowledge, Industries of Creativity. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).

Ruddick, S. (2017). ‘Rethinking the subject, reimagining worlds’. Dialogues in Human Geography, 7(2), pp. 119-139.

Savranski, M. (2019). ‘The Pluralistic Problematic: William James and the Pragmatics of the Pluriverse’. Theory, Culture, Society. Online First, pp. 1-19.

Williams, N., Patchett, M., Lapworth, A., Roberts, T., and Keating, T., (2019). ‘Practising post-humanism in geographical research’. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44(4), pp.637-643.




George Burdon

PhD Researcher in Cultural Geography

School of Science, University of New South Wales Canberra