Activities and upcoming events
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
What does it take to get a drink here? Delivering potable water in New Orleans
New Orleans residents are familiar with boil water advisories. Many locals install filters on their kitchen taps. Others consume bottled water, concerned about the presence of heavy metals and chemical contamination in the municipal supply. As in every context, a small proportion of people know where their drinking water comes from and fewer still how its potability is ensured. This Making & Doing workshop is focused on the labour, expertise, social relations, chemicals, geography, and infrastructures that combine to deliver safe and palatable drinking water to New Orleanians.
This fieldtrip to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board Carrollton Water Treatment Plant aims to trace the flow of water from the Mississippi River to the kitchen tap, considering the treatment, storage, distribution practices, and leaks along the way. While the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan is well renowned for articulating the planning and design practices required for a resilient New Orleans to live with water, it does not address drinking water. Yet the features that exacerbate the impact of stormwater (topography, soils, climate, weather, urban design, policy, repairs and maintenance, etc.) also generate pressures on drinking water infrastructures. This multidisciplinary workshop examines those pressures, the ongoing work to alleviate them, and impediments to the security of New Orleans drinking water.
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.
Liam Grealy’s opening talk to the event, “Who needs a drink? Introducing infrastructural inequalities”, is available here.
Governing Drinking Water in the Northern Territory at Univerity of British Columbia | 22 November 2019
3:30-5:00pm, Charles Diamond Seminar Room (111)
Kirsty Howey and Liam Grealy will present the paper “Securing Supply: Governing Drinking Water in the Northern Territory” in the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
AAA/CASCA Conference, Vancouver, November 21, 2019, 4:15-6:00pm, CC EAST | Room 7 | East Meeting Level
Join us for a panel at the 2019 AAA/CASCA conference in Vancouver. Speakers include Tess Lea, Elizabeth Povinelli, Eve Vincent, Kirsty Howey, Benedict Scambary, Liam Grealy, Sarah E. Holcombe, and Dominic Boyer (discussant).
Panel abstract as follows: Infrastructures – the roads, electrical cables, telecommunications networks, sewerage systems, and water pipes necessary for society’s functioning – have been foregrounded as an anthropological subject. Often framed as emancipatory and progressive, in a time of environmental crisis it is becoming more and more apparent that the sedimented networks through which goods, ideas, power, people and money circulate (Larkin, 2013) are also differentially distributed, variably thwarted or enabled, inhibiting the possibilities for existing well in the Anthropocene (Boyer, 2018 and Povinelli 2011). What appears for some as a future racing towards the earth as a final end is for others merely the ongoing ends of forms of infrastructure that have and continue to poison and dispossess them.
In this panel, we invite speakers to re-think the connective tissue of infrastructures anthropologically, exploring how they function to distribute goods, value, and health for some while dispossessing, poisoning, and deforming the worlds of others.
We ask what paying attention to the infrastructural surrounds and their invisible sustenance systems can reveal about the longstanding catastrophe of late liberalism and potentials within and alongside it for radical change. How would the question of toxic infrastructural leakage look if passing through and situated within late settler liberalisms? And can critical theory and ethnography grapple with the vexed issue of conditions of viability, beyond attempted disavowals by conjuring an abstract Otherwise?
Tess Lea ‘Housing, Health, Hardware: Rethinking Policy through Infrastructural Inequalities’
The Blue House, New Orleans, September 12, 2019
This talk draws on work relating to health, housing and climate change, as these map on to infrastructural inequalities in regional and remote Australia. It asks us to rethink what policy is, using case studies of the difficulties of attracting attention to effective interventions. Tess will consider why it is important that optimistic abstractions like ‘better policy’ do not weaken our analyses of current and emerging challenges once climate change is factored in.
Tess Lea is an anthropologist who specializes in the anthropology of policy, especially policy dysfunction. Tess is Chief Investigator in the Housing for Health Incubator, an alliance of practitioners, theorists and policy shapers which aims to understand the obstacles to improved living conditions for Indigenous and other disadvantaged householders.
Nick Shapiro, ‘The Afterlives of the FEMA Trailers’
The Blue House, New Orleans,September 5, 2019
This talk tracks the quasi-legal resale of post-Katrina emergency housing units that were found to harbor high formaldehyde levels. Nick spent a decade tracking these grey markets that led from New Orleans to every corner of the continent, tying the experiences of those who survived the flood to those enduring capital and housing crises all over the continent. If you lived in a FEMA trailer and still have access to the VIN number of your unit, Nick can tell you where it ended up.
Nick Shapiro is a critic and practitioner of environmental monitoring and mitigation, and his research revolves around the complex figure of formaldehyde. Nick is assistant professor of biology and society at UCLA and a fellow at the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto. See: https://nickshapiro.wordpress.com/
‘Permeable Housing and Intersecting Infrastructures’ Panel at 4S
Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans, September 4, 2019
At their most elemental, houses regulate relations between internal and external environments, providing a carapace for soft tissue residents from water, atmospheres, and vermin. But houses not only shelter bodies, they mimic them, their exoskeletons best conceived less as a box and more as living membrane: permeable, porous, pervious, and absorbent. Arterial pipes, wires, and cable networks intersect with housing to distribute water, energy, and waste; while matter penetrates the house itself, searching out cracks, refusing expulsion, and exposing bodies to diseases and reactants. Repair and maintenance regimes stave off this entropy, both for housing and the municipal infrastructures that make houses functional, safe, and enduring. Such attention, as with the geographies of infrastructural provisioning, are matters of both bureaucratic banality and major public conflict.
This panel is a collaboration between the Housing for Health Incubator and the Blue House Civic Studio, comparing and contrasting examples from Australia, the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and like environments. It asks: what infrastructures are required, and what work is needed to maintain them, to make housing habitable? What can STS insights on past, present, and future housing and infrastructural challenges (such as water supply and management) offer? What innovations are required to face these challenges – in architecture, urban design, governance, and community-engagement – and what battles are being fought to implement proven methods against neglect, erratic attention, and abandonment?
Alison Kenner, ‘The Climate-Ready Home: Thinking Through Landscapes of Vulnerability and Care in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’
Paola Villegas, ‘Situated Bodies and Toxic Certainty: How Mothers think comparatively about risk(s)’
Moritz F Fürst and Alain Bovet, ‘Healthy climate needs a service: maintaining HVAC infrastructures in times of transition’
Liam Grealy, ‘Mold Cultures’
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
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: 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, 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
A major international event will be hosted at the University of Sydney in 2020. Further details will be provided as they become available.