Beyond Business as Usual Conference

A collage of 4 images showing hands sewing and working with power tools, and sets of gloves.

23 January 2020

Time: 9.00am - 4.30pm, Thursday 23 January 2020
Venue: Female Orphan School, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University, Corner James Ruse Drive & Victoria Road, Rydalmere.
Register: on Eventbrite (opens in a new window)(free)

In this one-day conference we will hear from researchers, enterprises and artists involved in efforts at transforming business as usual. The backdrop for the conference is the way in which ecological challenges associated with the Anthropocene have created a general recognition that Business as Usual cannot go on while transformative global policy initiatives like the Sustainable Development Goals invite us to do things differently. But what might that mean?

The first half of the conference features the launch of Beyond Business as Usual: A New Culture of Manufacturing in Australia by Katherine Gibson, Jenny Cameron, Stephen Healy and Joanne McNeill, an Australian Research Council funded research report. The report will be launched by Senator for NSW Dr Mehreen Faruqi (Australian Greens Industry Spokesperson). Following the launch Senator Faruqi will participate in a panel discussion with Senator for SA Rex Patrick (Centre Alliance), Federal Member for Parramatta, Ms Julie Owens MP (Australian Labor Party), and NSW Member for Coffs Harbour, Mr Gurmesh Singh MP (The Nationals).

Representatives of the manufacturing enterprises involved in the study* will then be involved in two panel discussions, where they will share their thoughts on the opportunities and challenges for just and sustainable manufacturing in Australia.

After lunch, the second half of the conference will feature two discussion panels led by:
1) Gay Hawkins on Unmaking Unsustainability and 2) Kate Rich on Feral Business.

After the conference we’ll take a walk along the river into Parramatta for some frosty conviviality.

How to Register

Registration is FREE and lunch will be provided. But please be sure to register on Eventbrite (opens in a new window)as places are limited.

*Research project details: The report is an output of the Australian Research Council funded project Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia (DP160101674). Research participants are: A.H. Beard, Interface, Northern Co-operative Meat Company (NCMC), Norco, OzGroup, Sebel Furniture, Soft Landing, The Social Outfit, Varley Group, and WorkVentures.

Professor Gay Hawkins is author of The Ethics of Waste, which examines the materiality of waste and the ways it makes ethical claims on us. She is also co-author of Plastic Water: The Social and Material Life of Bottled Water. Over the past decade she has been investigating the cultural and political history of plastic and its complex remaking of environments, economies and everyday practices.

Kate Rich is an artist, trader and feral economist. For the past 16 years she has run Feral Trade, a grocery business trading along social routes and outside commercial systems. She is currently assembling the rationale, context and curriculum for the Feral MBA, a radically reimagined business school for artists (and others) that takes business as a site for experiments.