On Friday August 26, the Centre for Urban Research hosted the Forum for Dwelling Justice, at the Capitol Theatre, organised by David Kelly and Libby Porter. The Forum brought together more than 600 scholars, grassroots campaigners, activists, people with lived experience, and practitioners to identify the radical potential for resistance to dispossession, displacement and precarity around housing and land. The focus of the Forum was bringing into view that the deepening and expanding housing crisis has in fact been in existence in so-called Australia since 1788. This was framed as the struggle to dwell, in order to bring into view vectors of dwelling precarity, such as carceral and dispossessory logics, and racial violence that are less often discussed in relation to housing crisis.
The structure of the Forum was a series of sovereign keynotes by Yuin woman Linda Kennedy, Gunnai and Gunditjmara activist Senator Lidia Thorpe, and Gunnai warrior Robbie Thorpe. These speeches situated the whole day with an understanding that any question of belonging has to foreground First Nations sovereignty.
Three facilitated panel conversations brought lived experience and scholar activism to different aspects of dwelling justice. Contributors included: Natalie Ironfield, Witt Gorrie, Debbie Kilroy with Vickie Roach, Idil Ali, Roj Amedi, Elizabeth Flynn, Tasnim Sammak, Liz Strakosch, Tina Grandinetti, Natalie Osborne, Eirene Tsolidis Noyce, Jasmine Barzani, Lucie McMahon, Kelly Whitworth, and Spike Chiappalone. The event included some premiere documentary films about dwelling justice – a sneak peak of the Bendigo St documentary by Jas Barzani, and Lucie McMahon’s Things Will be Different.
Radio station 3CR was a partner for the event. They recorded the event and will be making a podcast program, and a recording of the entire day will be available soon via the CUR Youtube channel. Forthcoming outputs from the Forum will include: a zine by Sam Wallman (our poster designer), a special issue of the International Journal of Housing Policy (IJHP), and a special dwelling justice section in Arena Quarterly.
Thanks to the Urban Futures ECP and IJHP for funding support and Jenny Lucy for communications and website support. The Forum raised more than $2000 from donations for campaign movements and grassroots organisations nominated by the contributors.