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Activities and upcoming events

Policy Roundtables

Living with Water: Questions for Policy and Action | 17 January 2019

A Public Policy Roundtable Featuring

Tess Lea (Chair, Housing for Health Incubator, University of Sydney)

Lauren Walker (North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency)

David Morris (EDO NSW)

Aron Chang (Ripple Effect)

Robert Griew (Nous Group)

This public event draws together scholars and professionals to explore environmental issues demanding immediate policy attention and political action. Centrally, how is climate change forcing communities to rethink and rework how they live with water? What adaptive responses have we already witnessed to water under-supply, contamination, and shifting landscapes, and what needs to change?

Across their work, these panelists have applied their diverse disciplinary expertise to the challenges of how we detect environmental toxicities, reform urban design and education, attend to contemporary housing issues, discern the intentions of extractive industries, and develop legal, policy, and political responses. They share a commitment to developing effective political alliances that recognise the effects of contemporary environmental challenges are not equally distributed but must be approached collectively.

Discussion at this policy roundtable will focus on the collaborations underpinning panelists’ research and community engagement, examining their importance to determining appropriate policy responses, effecting political influence, and narrating policy successes.


When: Thursday January 17th 5pm for 5:30-7:00

Where: Wilkinson Lecture Theatre 250, 148 City Road, Wilkinson Building, University of Sydney, Camperdown Campus.

This free event is open to the public.

Registration details here.

For queries please contact:

Public events

Infrastructural Inequalities | 6-7 October 2018

A collaborative symposium and exhibition, held in partnership with the critical art collective, Snack Syndicate. October 6-7 at Artspace, Woolloomooloo.

Infrastructural Inequalities is a two-day public program that will bring together researchers and practitioners from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds for collaborative dialogue and exchange around infrastructure – its forms, distributions and potentials. A joint project between the critical art collective Snack Syndicate and the Housing for Health Incubator at the University of Sydney, the event is organised around two key themes that intersected and overlap: ‘Living Infrastructures’ which will explore pre-invasion infrastructures, architecture and design, bureaucracy and waste; and ‘Data Infrastructures’ which will examine prediction, data collection and curation, logistics, data mining, and surveillance.

The event asks: In what ways do infrastructures produce unequal distributions of access to the resources necessary for living? What conceptual, material, and political challenges impede more just distributions? And, how can we respond to and intervene in states of infrastructural inequality?

Infrastructural Inequalities features contributions from: Fiona Allon, Dean Cross, Keg De Souza, Jack Green, Gay Hawkins, Karrabing Film Collective, Kirsty Howey, Monica Monin, Michael Mossman, Anna Munster, Joseph Pugliese, Michael Richardson, Joel Sherwood-Spring, Uncle Jimmy Smith, Kynan Tan, Paul Torzillo, Marian Tubbs, Eve Vincent, and more.

Schedule here

Liam Grealy’s opening talk to the event, “Who needs a drink? Introducing infrastructural inequalities”, is available here.


A Top End STS Seminar | 15 May 2019

 Securing Supply: Governing Drinking Water in the Northern Territory

At this seminar, Incubator Researchers Dr Liam Grealy and Kirsty Howey will present on their current research into the supply and quality of drinking water in remote communities in the Northern Territory. Responding to water contamination incidents at Borroloola in April to June 2018, and elsewhere, the seminar outlines the available protections for drinking water supply in the NT. This research suggest first that the supply of drinking water in remote towns and communities is limited by the variations in water regulatory regimes across the NT which allow differential forms of responsibility, attention, procedure and intervention. Second, water governance is limited by how authorities are able to know the subterranean objects of governance themselves – including the underground bores and pipes which connect aquifers to houses and people.

‘Securing supply’ is the inaugural seminar of the Top End STS Dry Season Seminar Series.

Time and Venue:

3.30-4.30pm, Wednesday 15 May, 2019

Savannah Room (Yellow 1.2.48)

Charles Darwin University, Darwin

Blue House Fika Series on Housing | 6 December 2018

Indigenous Housing in Remote Australia, The Blue House, New Orleans, 6 December, 2018

Postdoctoral researcher Liam Grealy will speak in The Blue House Fika series about the contemporary housing policies in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, the work of Healthabitat and the Housing for Health Incubator, and his recent fieldwork in Borroloola with Kirsty Howey. The Blue House is a community where designers, writers, researchers, artists, activists, filmmakers, coders, teachers, entrepreneurs, developers, and others come together to share and shape a new kind of workspace. It runs a weekly Fika series which is currently focused on affordable housing.

Safe Water Summit | 29 - 30 November 2018

Safe Water Summit: A safe, sustainable water supply for remote-living Indigenous Australians,     University of Queensland, 29-30 November, 2018

Paul Torzillo, Director of Healthabitat and Industry Partner of the Incubator, will present a paper on “Housing for Health and Safe Water: Revisiting history to land in the present”.

See the Safe Water Summit website for more information and draft program.

Feral: A Nearly Carbon Neutral Conference | 26 November 2018

Feral: A Nearly Carbon-Neutral Conference, online, 26 November, 2018

Liam Grealy and Tess Lea will present the paper “Feral Policies for Housing Repair and Maintenance” at the Feral conference, hosted online by the Political Ecology Research Centre at Massey University. Presentations will be released across a period of three weeks in November.

Adapt NSW | 19 November 2018

On Monday 19 November 2018, the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) will host its annual climate adaptation forum, Adapt NSW, @ Doltone House Darling Island Wharf.

Tess Lea and Christen Cornell will present on recent fieldwork from the research project “Climate change, housing and health: A scoping study into vulnerability, housing tenure and potential adaptation responses.”

This project funded under the NSW Adaptation Research Hub’s Human Health and Social Impacts Node, and includes case studies from the Sydney metro area, the Northern Rivers Region (Lismore and Byron Bay), and Inner NSW (Walgett and Dubbo).

NACHHO Annual Meeting | 31 October - 2 November 2018

In October, Incubator Partner and Director of Healthabitat, Paul Torzillo, will present at the Annual Meeting of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) in Brisbane. He will discuss the history of Healthabitat’s work with Indigenous communities, and provide an update on contemporary work conducted by the not-for-profit’s Housing for Health methodology.

Climate change, housing and Indigenous health | 13 September 2018

13 September 2018, University of Sydney

Tess Lea and Christen Cornell will give a guest lecture to students in the Climate Change and Public Health program, run by the School of Public Health.

Festival of Urbanism | 6 September 2018

Update on the Housing for Health Research Incubator

Associate Professor Tess Lea will present an update on the Housing for Health Incubator partnership with Healthabitat, at Redfern Community Centre.

See the Festival of Urbanism website for more details.



Workshops will be held to think through practical issues of housing, health, and infrastructure, but also beyond these to questions of climate change, human habitats, disadvantage, and the need to think through policy considerations from an intersectional vantage point.

International symposium

A major international event will be hosted at the University of Sydney in 2020. Further details will be provided as they become available.

Housing for Health Incubator

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