Published 07 September 2020
The global pandemic’s catastrophic legacy of human loss and societal upheaval has exposed deep fault lines of embedded social and environmental injustices. Despite the current disruption to our physical presence on campus, the Sydney Environment Institute continues to interrogate and give voice to these silenced injustices in its innovative event programme commencing in Semester 2.
SEI’s Multispecies Justice project continues to grow and adapt as the world around us changes and has served as a core pillar of the Institute’s research. Our upcoming online event with the School of Social and Political Sciences, Social Science Through a Multispecies Lens, offers critical insights into how our politics, economics and cultures affect the environment, and in turn, how environmental changes are impacting all aspects of our collective lives. Join an expert panel of SEI’s social science researchers as they reflect on what it would mean for humans to reshape how we understand ourselves and our world.
Our Semester 2 event programme also heralds the beginning of our new Critical Companions Series which celebrates innovative and rich thinking and aims to traverse disciplinary silos to provoke different perspectives and invite new conversations. This brand-new initiative aims to gather and encourage scholars across campus to experience thinking in a contemporary way. The series begins with a special guest lecture from architect and designer Nicole Larkin, as she unpacks her new project Wild Edge that documents NSW’s ocean pools and offers insights into best practice design guidelines.
In the second instalment, we will hear from historian Christine Hansen as she dissects a hundred years of data and story captured within the crust of the riji pearly shells. Reconfiguring ethnographic collections as both scientific and cultural, not only invites western biodiversity scientists into museum storehouses, but it also shines a light on non-western knowledge systems in communities of origin, born of deep ties to more-than-human life-worlds. In this exchange, new environmental understandings are advanced and new relevance is given to objects stranded in European collections.
In early September, we will celebrate the release of SEI researcher Tess Lea’s new book Wild Policy: Indigeneity and the Unruly Logics of Intervention. Drawing on her years in “the field”, Wild Policy is a compulsive and absolutely necessary read for all of us who, as Tess notes, “eat the mine(s)” that eat into unceded Indigenous land, where the violence of “the settler is reasserted everyday”. Hear from a panel of renowned scholars and environmental leaders as they unpack the honesty and urgency of Tess’s new book.
As we grow closer to the year’s end, one of SEI’s other core projects – Sites of Violence – will challenge our understandings and embodiment of violence. Over two evenings, an interdisciplinary collective of authors, researchers and performers will share their experiences and insights into the ways that cycles of violence and fear endure in Australian bodies and landscapes. On the first night, hear from Charlotte Wood, award winning author of The Natural Way of Things, a novel that explores power, gender, and violence in Australia, and is the inspiration for the upcoming Sites of Violence immersive theatre work The foul of the air. Joining her will be multisensory composer Damien Ricketson, and visual artist, author and Sydney Law School academic Carolyn McKay.
The second evening, Systems of Violence and Uncomfortable Knowledge, brings together an interdisciplinary panel as they draw on the systemic mechanisms of violence they see emerging in their fields through systems of control, domination, and even comfort. Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, Danielle Celermajer, will be in conversation with prizewinning investigative journalist Jess Hill, whose non-fiction work See What You Made Me Do, that documents domestic abuse, won the Stella Prize. They will be joined by more-than-human justice scholar Dinesh Wadiwel, a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Sydney, Rebecca Lawrence, a Senior Research Fellow at Sydney Environment Institute whose work focuses on Indigenous knowledge systems and environmental decision making, and Sites of Violence Research Assistant Hannah Della Bosca, whose work focuses on heatwaves, comfort, and denial.
Wrapping up our year of events is a final farewell to Postdoctoral Research Fellow Killian Quigley, who has been with the Institute from its early days. This inaugural lecture marks the beginning of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Lecture Series, a series that celebrates the contributions and careers of our Postdoctoral Research Fellows. Killian’s inquisitive and critical research has left a remarkable legacy at the Institute, spanning literary history to aesthetic theory and delving deep into the environmental humanities. His talk will draw primarily on the discourses of Western science, aesthetics, and environmental humanities, and will ask how the encrusting lives of marine-life forms challenge received impressions of place, relation, motility, and even life.
We look forward to you joining us at our upcoming events, be that in person or online. Please register via our Events page to secure yourself a ticket.