In the seminar, guest speaker Associate Professor of Human Geography Russell Hitchings from University College London discusses how the idea and the experience of outdoor environments can unsettle patterns of everyday life.
This seminar draws on talk based methods and insights from social practice theory to make the case for attending to how the idea and the experience of outdoor environments can unsettle patterns of everyday life. Through an empirical focus on those who are now in a position to eschew various elements of the outdoors in London and how they speak of this process, Hitchings’ paper considers how doing so can be an entirely sensible, and often surprisingly easy, course of action. The trouble is that, were broader societies to follow suite, the implications can often be concerning. Because what we find outdoors can be unexpected, unpredictable and unsettling, the paper examines how easy it can be to turn our backs on relevant phenomena even though we know that adjusting to them can be good for ourselves, for others, and for the wider environment.
Hitchings’ research draws on qualitative methods to investigate various aspects of everyday life. His objective in doing so is to contribute to our understanding of how societies could be better organised in terms of both resource use and social wellbeing. He has applied these methods in various social contexts to date, having looked at how domestic gardens are managed, how recreational running is experienced, how holiday plans change as people move into retirement, how washing habits mutate at summer music festivals, and how human heating and cooling is organised and experienced in a range of places around the world.
RMIT University Swanston Academic Building, 445 Swanston Street, Building 80, Level 2 Room 03, Melbourne, VIC 3000
5 February 2019