THE SMALL CHANGES – Plastic Water: The Social and Material Life of Bottled Water

Wednesday 18 May 2016
6.00 – 7.30pm

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Law School Foyer Level 2, Sydney Law School University of Sydney


As a consumer, can you say no to bottled water?

In partnership with the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University and  Sydney Water

Australians spend more than half a billion dollars on bottled water every year. But as people sip on the chilled H2O, rarely do they question the processes of manufacture, packaging and transportation that are needed to achieve that convenience. This panel examines the impacts and reasons for the shift from the tap to the bottle and debates the implications of transforming water from a common resource to a commercial product.

Professor Gay Hawkins of Western Sydney University , Associate Professor Kane Race of the University of Sydney and Kylie Yeend, Education, Engagement and Partnerships Manager at Sydney Water, will consider the possibility of ethical drinking and methods that could compel consumers to say no to the bottle.

  • Gay Hawkins, Western Sydney University
  • Kane Race, University of Sydney
  • Kylie Yeend, Education, Engagement and Partnerships Manager, at Sydney Water

Gay Hawkins is a Professor of Cultural Studies and Social Theory at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. She has published widely on the ethics of waste, material cultures of plastic, the construction of markets, and water practices. Recent books are Plastic Water with Kane Race and Emily Potter (2015, MIT) and Accumulation: the material politics of plastic, co-edited with Jennifer Gabrys and Mike Michael, (Routledge, 2013).

Kane Race is Associate Professor of Gender & Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.  He has published widely in the areas of drug use, queer theory, HIV prevention and public health, and is the author of Pleasure Consuming Medicine: The Queer Politics of Drugs (2009, Duke University Press).  He is a founding member of the Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV.

Kylie Yeend is Manager Education, Engagement & Partnerships for Sydney Water, Australia’s largest water service provider.
She has qualifications in Environmental Science and Education and a career spent working in local and State government. Kylie is a passionate practitioner, especially when it comes to using good science, research and reflective practice to shift public perception and behaviours on matters of sustainability.