Seminar: ‘Adaptation through Transformation: Expanding the discourse on climate change responses’ – Professor Karen O’Brien

Come and join us on Monday, 6th March, for a seminar by Professor Karen O’Brien. Karen will be presenting on Adaptation through Transformation: Expanding the discourse on climate change responses. No RSVP required, all are welcome.

  • Date: Monday 6th March 2017
  • Seminar time: 12pm – 1pm
  • Place: Building W6A, Room 107 Macquarie University



Karen O’Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. Her research explores the human and social dimensions of global environmental change, including the relationship between individual and collective change. Her current research project, ‘AdaptationCONNECTS,’ focuses on the relationship between climate change adaptation and transformations to sustainability, with an emphasis on collaboration, creativity, flexibility and empowerment. She has written and edited numerous books and papers on climate change and its implications for human security, has participated in four IPCC reports and is engaged with the Future Earth global change research program.

She is the co-founder of cCHANGE (, an initiative to promote new perspectives on transformation in a changing climate.

Seminar: ‘Urbanization: Driver of Disaster Risk or Opportunity for Climate Resilience?’ – Dr Matthias Garschagen

Dr Matthias Garschagen is visiting our department this week. He will be delivering a seminar on Thursday, 12th January, entitled: Urbanization: Driver of Disaster Risk or Opportunity for Climate Resilience?

All are welcome!

When and where: 12 – 1pm | Thursday 12th January | Planning Studio, W3A 427

Dr Garschagen is currently Head of Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning at the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University (Bonn).

Seminar: ‘Surviving mine work: Exploring the multiple temporalities of Fly- in-Fly-out (FIFO) labour and social reproduction in the Canadian Arctic’ – Tara Cater, PhD candidate, Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada

Please join us for an interesting GeoPlan seminar on Tuesday 29th November. Visiting Scholar Tara Cater, from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, will present ‘Surviving mine work: Exploring the multiple temporalities of Fly- in-Fly-out (FIFO) labour and social reproduction in the Canadian Arctic’. All are welcome.


Mineral development has become the greatest driver of socio-economic change in the Canadian North, bringing uncertain opportunities and challenges to northern Indigenous (Inuit) communities. Mining operations in Nunavut require a fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workforce, which involves workers regularly traveling from their home communities to remote mine sites for short work terms. While the majority of FIFO workers in the Kivalliq Region, Nunavut commute from southern regions of Canada (south of sixty degrees north latitude) to work at Agnico-Eagle Mines’ remote Arctic mine sites, there has been a push by territorial and federal governments to encourage local training and employment programs to increase Inuit participation in mining. My doctoral research examines the impacts of participation in FIFO work practices on Inuit employees and families in the Kivalliq Region. I draw on in-depth interviews and participant observation conducted in the Inuit community of Rankin Inlet (2013- 2016) as well as document analysis of secondary sources to investigate how participation in FIFO work practices is shaped by family and community power relations and dynamics, and how spouses and families have been incorporated into FIFO employment and training programs.

tara-carter-2In this presentation, I will explore the multiple temporalities that exist for FIFO workers, their families, and communities focusing on three temporalities: industrial time, community time, and caribou/ecological time. My objective is to illustrate the multiplicity of these local temporalities and to show how they are partially connected, and not fully separate. I argue that is through the needs and practices of social reproduction of FIFO workers and their families that these three temporalities are partially connected, in the context of the large-scale economic restructuring of everyday life by mining projects in the area.

When and where: 12–1pm | Tuesday 29th November | W6A 107


tara-carter-1I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, with a specialization in Political Economy, at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Currently, I am a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) visiting scholar in the Department of Geography and Planning at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia working with Dr. Richie Howitt and Dr. Sandie Suchet-Pearson. My research interests focus on the multiple temporalities of Fly-in-Fly-out work (FIFO) practices and social reproduction in the Canadian Arctic. In particular, my doctoral research investigates the impacts of participation in FIFO work practices on northern Indigenous (Inuit) workers and their families in Nunavut, Canada. I conduct qualitative research interviews with Inuit and non-Indigenous FIFO workers, their spouses, community leaders, federal and territorial government officials, and mining executives in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut and at the Canadian multinational mining corporation, Agnico-Eagle Mines’ remote Arctic mine sites.


Tara can be contacted at

More information about my work is available on my personal webpage:

*Postponed* Seminar: ‘Ramsar sites as Palimpsests: Analyzing the implications on local human-nature interactions with a case study of Nepal’ – Sunita Chaudhary

Please join us for Sunita’s GeoPlan Seminar which is now on Tuesday 6th December. Sunita Chaudhary will present ‘Ramsar sites as Palimpsests: Analyzing the implications on local human-nature interactions with a case study of Nepal’.


Ecosystem services, a globalizing discourse referring to both material and nonmaterial benefits humans gain from ecosystems, has been rapidly mainstreamed into scientific and political thinking of environmental management. However, non-material benefits, also known as cultural services, have been rather submerged by this dominating discourse. This research, informed by political ecology, draws insights from scale and fortress conservation to explore the implications of Ramsar site declaration on local human-nature interactions. Explored through ecosystem services framework, the research applied both qualitative and quantitative methods including Q-methodology to address the aims. Spirituality, sense of place and traditional practices were some of the important local cultural values identified contributing to ecosystem management. But such local values were marginalized during up-scaling to national and global scales, and institutionalization into policy. The institutionalization of Ramsar listing at the case study site imposed restrictions on community activities and a possibility of resettlement at the local scale, thus creating disenchantment among the local community. This paper, identifies the persistence of local values, uses and practices as part of the palimpsest that the Ramsar listing process produces. It shows the need to strengthen the value of local cultural services in policy-making, that links specific local sites into the global Ramsar network. This is important not only for refining the global conservation policy and discourse like ecosystem services, but also for securing just conservation and sustainable development outcomes.

When and where: 12 – 1pm | Tuesday 6th December | TBA



Sunita Chaudhary is a final year PhD Candidate at the Department of Geography and Planning, Macquarie University. Her PhD research, informed by political ecology, explores how the global ‘ecosystem services’ discourse is unfolding at national and local scales with a case study in Nepal. Sunita did her M.Sc in Management of Protected Areas from the University of Klagenfurt, Austria and a graduate leadership program from the University of Hawaii, USA. A proud mother of one, she has more than five years of experience in conservation and development sector from the Hindu Kush Himalayas region.

Seminar (as part of our HDR workshop) ‘Partnership between Government and Not-for-Profit Sectors in Social Housing – Sensing the partners in action in Queensland, Australia.’ – Sirisena Herath

Please join us for this GeoPlan Seminar (as part of our HDR workshop) on Tuesday 15th November. Sirisena Herath will present on: Partnership between Government and Not-for-Profit Sectors in Social Housing – Sensing the partners in action in Queensland, Australia.


The social housing sector in Australia is in a significant neo-liberal policy experiment searching a viable partnership between government and not-for-profit sectors to address unmet social housing demand accumulated over decades. The national policies National Affordable Housing Agreement and National Registration System for Community Housing Providers coupled with state specific housing policies and legislation seem to form parts of this policy experiment.  Despite top-down ambition, the path dependent challenges for this policy experiment are many.  On one hand Australian not-for-profit social housing sector is relatively embryonic controlling less than 20% of total social housing stock which is lower than 1% of the total housing stock. Moreover, most these community providers emerged as small time local service providers to extremely vulnerable social housing clients based on government funding. On the other hand, experience of Australian states as mainstream providers of social housing is not significant as a result of becoming implementers of social housing policy that was purposely made subservient to the dominant market housing policy since 1970s. Market centric housing policies have seen a roll-back of social housing to a minimum social safety net. This geographic peculiarity of Australian social housing sector poses significant tension between the actual capabilities of social housing providers and the policy intensions. The discussion of this paper demonstrates how a cross section of social housing providers in Queensland involving both government and not-for-profit sectors reflected these tensions in relation to roles expected of them.

When and where: 1:50 – 2.30pm | Tuesday 15th November | Moot Court, Building W3A, Room 328.


Before beginning of this research project Siri worked for Queensland government department of housing and public works as a senior project manager implementing social housing projects in diverse locations including remote indigenous communities for 8 years.  Siri’s latest academic qualifications include a Master of Architectural Studies (1994) from the University of Queensland and Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning (2002) from QUT. Before moving to Australia Siri worked as Senior Manager Architecture in National Housing Development Authority, Sri Lanka after obtaining Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Moratuwa Sri lanka.  Siri’s work experience in social housing is more than 20 years.

Seminar: ‘Photo-response: approaching participatory photography as a more-than-human research method’ – Ashraful Alam

Please come and join us on Tuesday, 15th November, for a seminar by Ashraful Alam (PhD Candidate in Geography and Planning at Macquarie). Ash will be talking on ‘Photo-response: approaching participatory photography as a more-than-human research method’. All are welcome.


There is growing interest in ‘more-than-human’ influences on places and practices. However, while the theoretical thinking in this field is well developed, methodology and methods lag behind. Borrowing insights from feminist geographers’ articulation of ‘response’ we explore how participatory photography can be used to examine more-than-human processes through a case study of marginal home-making in Khulna City in Bangladesh. Our photo-response method focuses on performances of seeing, telling and being together to enhance the co-production of ‘knowledges’. We conclude that analysing three stages of ‘response’ within participatory photography provides new insights for conducting research in, with and as more-than-human worlds.

When and where: 1 – 1.40pm | Tuesday 15th November | W3A 328



Ashraful Alam is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Planning. His work falls under the broad umbrella of political ecology in urban built environment in the cities of global south. He is particularly interested in the everyday spatial practices of ordinary citizens in transitional circumstances triggered by disasters and displacement. His past qualifications include the Bachelor of Architecture from Bangladesh and Master of Science in Urban Planning from the University of Hong Kong.

Seminar: ‘The Anthropocene as death trap and counterfeit currency’ – Prof. Marcus A. Doel

Come and join us on Tuesday, 15th November, for a seminar where Professor Marcus A. Doel will present on ‘The Anthropocene as death trap and counterfeit currency’. All are welcome.


In the twilight of the Holocene, Michel Foucault once suggested that ‘perhaps one day, this century will be known as Deleuzian,’ a quip that Gilles Deleuze took as ‘a joke meant to make people who like us laugh, and make everyone else livid.’ Perhaps one day, this crepuscular century will be known as the Anthropocene (Anthropo-, from Greek νθρωπος, meaning ‘Man;’ and –scene, from Greek καινός, meaning ‘new’ or ‘recent’), although it is not entirely clear whether the notion that Man has become a ‘force of nature’ driving a shift in the functioning of the Earth System should precipitate raucous laughter or righteous lividity. Certainly, His earthworks are legion and He is rapidly altering both the face of the Earth and its atmospheric and climatic veil, especially after His so-called ‘Industrial Revolution’ and ‘Great Acceleration’—perhaps even more so than other earth-surface and geological processes, many of which seem rather lame by comparison. As various International Working Groups and Scientific Commissions gear up to express their opinions and cast their votes on the past, present, and future State of the Earth, the term ‘Anthropocene’ has nevertheless been pre-emptively put into illicit circulation, and some have already started debasing this faux currency: ‘Anthropobscene,’ ‘Capitalocene,’ etc. This paper considers both the State of the Earth and the libidinal economy of this counterfeit currency from the perspective of an anti-social scientist who is bemused by the fact that Man ‘does not appear to know that He is dead,’ as Sigmund Freud once put it.

When and where: 11am–12pm | Tuesday 15th November | W6A 107


Marcus Doel is Professor of Human Geography at Swansea University, Co-Director of its Centre for Urban Theory, and a Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Marcus is the author of Poststructuralist Geographies: The Diabolical Art of Spatial Science, co-author of Writing the Rural, and co-editor of 5 other books, including: Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories, Moving Pictures/Stopping Places: Hotels & Motels on Film, and The Consumption Reader. His latest book, Geographies of Violence: Killing Space, Killing Time, is due to be published by Sage in early 2017.

Seminar ‘Cycling temporalities: differing notions of time in cycling practices’ – Nicole McNamara

Come and join us on Tuesday, 13th September, for a seminar by Nicole McNamara (PhD Candidate in Geography and Planning at Macquarie) talking on ‘Cycling temporalities: differing notions of time in cycling practices’. All are welcome.


Nicole seminar 2This presentation draws on preliminary explorations of temporalities from my PhD findings. I aim to build on recent mobilities work that positions walking and other transport modes as having multiple temporalities. Cycling disrupts notions of clock-time, especially when considering differing cycling practices. Specific ideas exist about how cities work, whether through formal planning processes, or our understanding of urban inhabitants as rational creatures. In transport planning there is a perception that everything works to a time-frame or time-table, which perpetuates this idea that we sit back and formulate ideas that we then go out and implement through action. But talking to cyclists about their cycling practices, and writing about cycling practices, reveals that ideas can form and emerge through the action itself. This challenges conceptions of linear time.

When and where: 12–1pm | Tuesday 13th September | W6A 107


Nicole seminar 1Nicole McNamara is in the final year of her PhD on cycling practices in Sydney and is a keen cyclist. Her PhD research focuses on the way people cycle in Sydney and aims to gain a detailed understanding of cycling practices and the experience of cycling. Nicole obtained an MPhil in Planning and Urban Development from UNSW in 2013 and a BA with Honours in Human Geography from USYD in 2010. Her MPhil research explored a gender perspective of cycling infrastructure and use in Sydney. Nicole has also worked at the City Futures Research Centre researching housing, social cohesion and wellbeing, and enabling built environments.

Seminar: ‘Relationships between tourism and cultural landscapes’ – Dr Ana Mrđa

Please come along to hear Dr Ana Mrđa present a seminar on Thursday, 8th September. All are welcome.


The research examines conflicts among the ideas of cultural landscape and tourism and argues sustainable approach to tourism planning. It introduces heritage urbanism as a new sustainable model of achieving interdependence between economic health, social equity, environmental responsibility and cultural vitality. This planning model enhances the role of place-based identity in tourism as a local development tool, stressing that a controlled active use of cultural landscape in tourism can bring about a positive response to global competitiveness and development of a tourism site. The argued approach provides a positive influence on destination recognition and heritage revitalization. It investigates spatial elements of both scientific areas that can be included in the identification and actualization of the tourism potential of cultural landscape places.

When and where: 12–1pm | Thursday 8th September | W6A 107


Ana Mrđa, Ph.D., Dipl.Eng.Arch., graduated in 2007 and earned her doctorate in 2015 from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb. She won many urban and architectural competitions and collaborated with various architectural offices. She works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Urban Planning, Spatial Planning and Landscape Architecture. She has published several scientific and professional papers and participated in many international conferences. In 2012 she participated in academic exchange at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and in 2014 at the Technical University of Madrid, Spain. She is involved in scientific research in the field of spatial planning and sustainable development with an emphasis on the models of tourist destination development. As a board member of the Zagreb Society of Architects she organizes the Architecture and Tourism project (ArTur).