This is a series of online talks hosted by the People and Environment Program, on the broad theme of people-environment relations.

  • Project dates: 2021 (ongoing)

This series of talks focuses on people-environment relations, encompassing a broad range of sustainability, urban, cultural and environmental topic areas, with a preference for engaging with early and mid-career researchers and practitioners.

Follow us on Twitter @PEP_CUR to hear about upcoming talks.

Reimagining shadow infrastructures, April 2021

Presented by Dr Ashraful Alam from the University of Otago

In this talk, Ash explores the ‘more-than-social’ life of a range of interstitial spaces that evolve between, under and over deliberately designed urban infrastructures. How do these spaces afford specific performances and privileges to marginalised actors, specifically migrant women? The work presented re-imagines urban socio-spatialities as ‘shadow infrastructures’ to inform alternate infrastructural politics in unequal cities.

Subterranean spectres, May 2021

Presented by Dr Amelia Hine from the University of Queensland

Spontaneous combustion of coal, or ‘spon-com’, elicits fear in coalmining communities but remains underexplored as a socio-political phenomenon. This talk outlines the political agency of these underground fires in reaching above the planetary surface, and offers the concept of the spectre to explore how the underground’s threatening materiality works alongside health and safety discourses to control surface occupation and gate-keep post-mine futures.

Feeling-thinking with the ocean, June 2021

Presented by Francisco Gelves-Gomez from the University of the Sunshine Coast

Pablo Neruda wrote, “I need the sea because it teaches me”. In this presentation, with the ocean as a teacher, I consider the lessons offered by the ocean in the context of adaptive management for protected areas, that challenge our inherent terrestrial bias. I will explore ways in which thinking (and feeling) with-and-through the ocean offer alternatives to conceive embodied and affective knowledge, and human-nonhuman relationships in more-than-human terms.

The title of this talk is paraphrased from Arturo Escobar’s (2016) paper Thinking-Feeling with the Earth: Territorial struggles and the ontological dimensions of the Epistemologies of the South.

Decolonising People and Environment, July 2021

Presented by Bhiamie Williamson from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at Australian National University

Why is it important to acknowledge Country in the middle of the city? This seminar explores this question and considers the meaning of ‘Country’ and ‘Connection to Country’ within urban landscapes. It considers cultural burning as one way that Indigenous peoples are reconnecting to Country within Australia’s cities, whilst also drawing on Indigenous peoples strategies throughout other parts of the world to decolonise cityscapes.

The work of pandemic infrastructures: waste, labour, and COVID-19, August 2021

Presented by Dr Angeliki Balanyannis from the University of Exter

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant strain on the UK’s already-vulnerable critical infrastructures. This rapid response research examines and intervenes in how the UK waste sector is responding to the pandemic. This seminar traces the unfolding response to COVID-19 through the experiences of those performing the labour of waste –including managers, civil servants, and the “essential workers” in collections. The research attends to their practices, procedures, and emotional and affective labour at this extremely turbulent time. The stories of those who maintain this critical infrastructure are ultimately geographies of a fragmented and marketised sector; a precarious patchwork of contracts, shaped by decades of austerity and rapidly shifting global waste economies.

Key People

Lead researchers

Professor Cecily Maller

Professor Cecily Maller

Co-Convener of People and Environment Program

Dr Benjamin Cooke

Dr Benjamin Cooke

Convener of People and Environment Program

Related Content

Research Programs

People and Environment

The People and Environment Program centres on how human-nature relationships are understood and enacted in cities