Terrestrial Politics in Uncertain Times

ICS Conference 2023

25-27 October

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Information for attendees

If you are attending the conference and need some further information about how to get to the event please check out full details here

About the event

We invite you to join the Institute for Culture and Society, alongside prominent scholars, practitioners, and artists, for a collective three-day event (25–27 October 2023) to address the unprecedented yet interlinked challenges of our times.

The climate crisis breaches basic categories of thought. The primary coordinates – society and culture, environment and economy, human and non-human – no longer orient the composition of the world amid profound disruption and transition. Despair and horror punctuate the emergence of what Bruno Latour termed ‘the new climate regime’. How to respond? How do we come down to earth where ‘ecological’ concerns coincide with ‘social’ concerns for more liveable futures?

Recent studies indicate four in five people have been directly impacted by climate change related natural disasters in Australia. What sort of disciplinary resources do we have available to address and make intelligible the horror and devastation of species depletion and environmental degradation? In the realm of the formal production of knowledge, the divide between STEM disciplines and the humanities and social sciences is itself a product of settler colonialism and industrialization. Crafting trajectories beyond this divide also means encountering cultures and cosmologies where such epistemic dislocations of this kind were never operative in the first place.

The collective work of cultivating a ‘difference which makes a difference’ (Bateson) entails producing shared matters of concern. The integrity of soils, qualities of atmosphere and ocean, the durable futures of material and energetic infrastructures – these are among the cast of elements and conditions key to questions of futurity that bind the current conjuncture with generations to come.

The Institute for Culture and Society stages this event to explore how we can engage analytically and politically with ‘common cosmological concerns’ (Latour). Leading scholars, practitioners, and artists join this collective experiment in devising new concepts to address the unprecedented challenges that demand attention.


Conference Highlights

Keynote Talks

Dipesh Charakabarty

Sophie Chao

Stephen Muecke

Day 1: After the Fire, Beyond the Waters - Thriving Future

Auntie Sharon Riley

David Conyers

Day 3: Energy // Transition

Darren Sharp

Marie Bargh

Q&A Panel Darren Sharp, Maria Bargh, Declan Kuch


Find the full  program here

Day One| 25 October | Lithgow, NSW

10:00am - 12:30pm | After the Fire, Beyond the Waters - Thriving Future | Auntie Sharon Riley, Jason De Santolo,  David Conyers | Chair: Stephen Healy

1:30pm - 3:30pm | Lithgow Regional Futures - Workshopping transition | Louise Crabtree-Hayes, Neil Perry, Michelle Maloney | Chair: Cameron Tonkinwise

Day Two| 26 October | Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

10:00 am - 12:30pm | Postgraduate Masterclass with Maria Bargh and Kelly Dombroski | Masterclass with postgraduate students around key issues on terrestrial politics and higher degrees research.

3:30pm - 5:30pm | Keynote: After Latour, Legacies and Trajectories | Stephen Muecke, Sophie Chao, Dipesh Chakrabarty(by video) | Chair: Gay Hawkins

5:30pm - 6:30pm | Reception

Day Three| 27 October | Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

Matter of Concern, Elemental Politics

9:00am - 10:30am | Energy // Transition | Maria Bargh, Darren Sharp | Chair: Declan Kuch

11:00am - 12:30pm | Earth // Off-Earth Politics | Screening of The Archival Futures Collective’s Outer Space Film Quartet and Q&A with filmmakers Ceridwen Dovey and Rowena Potts in dialogue with Juan Francisco Salazar | Chair: Deborah Lawler-Dormer

1:30pm - 3:30pm | Care // Health | Emma Power, Miriam Williams, Kelly Dombroski | Chair: Heather Horst