ICS Seminar Series - Juan F. Salazar, Elizabeth Leane, Liam Magee and Paul James

Date: Thursday, 13 August 2020
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: The seminar will be hosted online via Zoom. Please RSVP to e.blight@westernsydney.edu.au by 12 August, 5:00pm, to receive the Zoom details.

Engaging with Antarctica: Towards the Formation of Custodial Cities

Presenters: Professor Juan F. Salazar, Professor Elizabeth Leane, Associate Professor Liam Magee and Professor Paul James


At the bottom of the world, there are five cities through which people and infrastructure move when connecting to Antarctica. Can we think of these cities as more than gateways or thoroughfares? Might these urban centres come to embody the values associated with Antarctica — global co-operation, scientific research, ecological conservation — and in turn act as global custodians of the South Polar region? Can we think of these cities as coming together in an interlinked Southern Rim network that can learn from and benefit each other?

This seminar presents the work of the ‘Antarctic Cities’ team in developing a self-consciously engaged research project. Over the past four years, constituents across the Antarctic gateway cities of Hobart, Christchurch and Punta Arenas, and more recently Ushuaia and Cape Town, have been drawn into ongoing partners to research the significance of their Antarctic connection. The project shows how ecological stewardship, political co-operation, cultural vibrancy and economic prosperity can be mutually reinforcing (rather than reduced to an economic return on investment). It suggests how, through partnerships, slow changes might be initiated in the self-perception of cities in relation to a global commons that is far from their shores.


Professor Juan F. Salazar, the Project Leader, is an Institute Fellow (and Future Fellow) with the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. His works focusses on the global commons of Antarctica, and more recently, of outer space.

Professor Elizabeth Leane is a literary scholar at the University of Tasmania researching the meaning of our relationship to Antarctica. Associate

Professor Liam Magee is a researcher in the Institute for Culture and Society focusing on the application of social methods and information technology to the areas of social change and sustainability.

Professor Paul James is a social theorist in the Institute for Culture and Society, researching globalisation and its impact upon social relations, social change and the human condition.