During 2018 the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities will continue to offer seminars canvasing a variety of topics that are relevant to current discussions and research.  These seminars usually take place on a Wednesdays at 12.30 pm - 1.30 pm.

Date: Wednesday, 28th February

Room: Early Start B21.G04

Presenter: Dr Danielle Drozdzewski
Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales

Title: How we experience memory in the everyday city

How a nation memorialises its past – through monuments, national days, plaques and commemorative vigilance (cf. Nora, 1989) – is integral to projects of nation building in the present. While large scale and state-driven sites of memory and collective memory events are often purposefully chosen and located, markers of national memory and collective identity are also embedded in more everyday settings. While this paper’s remit lies firmly in the experience of commemoration, it directs its lens on the event in its everyday context.

The everyday streetscape, in combination with the city’s urban façade, is a place of encounter with the nation through reminders of its past. These reminders – small-scale memorials, street names and remnant edifices – remain when the official commemorative spectacle has passed. My research looks at how these commemorative spaces are encountered as part of their everyday environment(s). I draw on examples of memory-work in Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam and Singapore, where I have employed a pastiche of methodological tools to explore my, and others experience(s), of commemoration in these everyday spaces. In each instance, I have also remained mindful of how a politics of memory – the purposeful selection of representations of the past – has contemporary significance to linking commemoration of the past to the nation in the present.

More seminars are currently being organised, so continue to view this page for the latest information.  

Danielle Drozdzewski is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography. I specialise in the interactions of people and place, with specific expertise in memory, identity and migration. My overarching research theme is the examination of the geographies of remembrance. I investigate how memories of culture and of place are integral to the formation and maintenance of identities, from the personal to the supranational. Allied to these investigations is the study of migration, through which I have focused on what motivates people to move, the outcomes of such mobilities, to better understand interactions between people and places.


Date: Wednesday 14th March

Room: Early Start B21.G04

Presenter: Robert McDougall

Chair: Nick Gill

Title: Urban Food Production – economics, emergy and the potential for upscaling

It has been suggested by numerous authors that food system sustainability could be improved through producing greater quantities in the urban areas where it is ultimately consumed, however little quantitative research has previously examined the productivity of urban farming systems. We conducted a year-long case study of organic urban agriculture systems in Sydney and Wollongong, managed primarily by amateur gardeners, and assessed their efficiency using economic and emergy analysis, a form of environmental accounting that tallies all previous energy used in producing a product or service. Average yields per square metre were around twice those of typical commercial vegetable farms. However whilst these systems used land efficiently, our analyses showed they were relatively inefficient in their use of other resources. High levels of labour and material inputs resulted in levels of emergy consumption being 2-3 orders of magnitude greater per unit of output than many conventional rural farms and the bulk of these inputs came from non-renewable sources, resulting in relatively poor sustainability levels. However when all non-recycled inputs capable of being substituted with local recycled inputs were so replaced in a hypothetical scenario these indices improved dramatically to fall in line with typical organic cropping systems. This is important as the high levels of productivity found show that urban agriculture could potentially make a notable contribution to the food supply in lower density Australian suburbs if the right social mechanisms were in place to encourage the activity.

Robert McDougall is a final year PhD student from University of New England with a background in ecology and urban planning. He has a strong interest in making cities more sustainable and his PhD focuses on an often overlooked aspect of this by investigating the role urban environments can play in producing food for their populations and how these food producing systems interact with the surrounding environment. Using case studies of urban farming systems throughout Sydney and the Illawarra his research combines field ecology, crowd sourced data and economic and environmental accounting to attempt to discern the value of urban farming and determine if it should have a place in cities of the future.

Date: Tuesday 27 March 2018

Room: Early Start B21.G04

Presenter: Dr Anja Kanngieser

Title: To be confirmed


Date: Wednesday 28 March 2018

Room: Early Start B21.G04

Presenter: Dr Sophie Webber

Title: To be confirmed


 Date: Wednesday 23 May 2018

Room: Early Start B21.G04

Presenter: Dr Charles Massy

Title: To be confirmed


Some of the Speakers we had in 2017 were: 

Associate Professor Jason W. Moore
Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University

Title: Capitalocene Geographies, or, Why the Geographical Imagination Needs World History

Karma Eddison-Cogan

University of Sydney

Title: "Talk to your neighbour, live a little more”: Community and Renewal at the Garage Sale

Sandie Suchet-Pearson

Macquarie University

Title: Yolŋu women’s keening of songspirals: centring Indigenous understandings to nourish and share people-as-place

Affrica Taylor
University of Canberra

Title: Unsettling child-rabbit encounters: Staying with the trouble of invasive colonial legacies

Associate Professor David Bissell

The University of Melbourne

Title: Work mobilities for challenging times

A/Professor Tracey Skelton
National University of Singapore

Title: Hydrating Hyderabad: Rapid urbanisation, water scarcity and the difficulties and possibilities of human flourishing

Last reviewed: 20 February, 2018