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Message posted on 20/04/2018

CFP: Infrastructures for troubled times (University of Brighton June 6)

Call for Contributions and Participation!

Infrastructures for troubled times

Early Career and Doctoral Researcher Symposium

Free Event

6 June 2018

68 Middle Street, Brighton

Keynote: Derek McCormack, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

Discussant: Leila Dawney, School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton

Hosted by the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics and Responsible Futures, University of Brighton

Registration is now open. We now have a number of travel bursaries available (more information in the registration form -


“Infrastructure is not identical to system or structure, as we currently see them, because infrastructure is defined by the movement or patterning of social form. It is the living mediation of what organizes life: the lifeworld of structure […] all the systems that link ongoing proximity to being in a world-sustaining relation.” (Berlant 2016: 393)

Infused with power relations, infrastructures shape our worlds in all sorts of ways. From transport networks that get us to-and-from places, pipes that carry our sewage, flood mitigation structures, or ‘green infrastructures’ in cities, to less tangible structures that shape economies, governance and representation, mediate social-environmental interactions and establish knowledge structures.

How can we understand and research infrastructures in ways that question perceptions of them as neutral or passive underlying material structures? A question that is crucial in today’s ‘troubled times’, when such structures are not only increasingly complex, multi-scalar and interconnected; but are affecting and affected by climate change, and patterns of global economic debt, financial management and resource extraction/use.

We are interested in the possibilities that thinking through and with infrastructures provides in terms of starting from material contexts rather than knowledge claims, and its potential for connections across disciplines.

How can we research these multiple, material, underlying, sometimes intangible or imagined structures? And how might they be re-imagined, re-understood and re-built in ways that are more socially, politically and environmentally just?

We would like to invite you to explore these issues with us through a one-day symposium, bringing together experience from across disciplinary contexts. We are particularly interested in different ways of understanding infrastructures, as well as methodological and technical approaches that allow us to interrogate the material, social, ideological and onto-epistemological formations that support their existence and effects.

We will kick off with a keynote from Derek McCormack, followed by world café style sessions for exploring questions together in more depth and a final whole group plenary.

What is world café?

The world café format is designed to enable flow of conversation between participants and more sustained discussion. Each session involves multiple stations (usually 4) with a question, provocation or theme posed by a facilitator for discussion.

Each session will be 2 hours long with short breaks every 30 minutes when participants are encouraged to move around the room to engage with conversations and activities at different tables. Participants are not obliged to move tables every 30 minutes and participants can move before the 30-minute time-period is up if they like.

Call for contributions

We are calling for contributors to raise a question or issue related to your research area. You get a 30-minute session in which you can deliver a short 5-10 minute talk, share some creative work, or run an activity. You can offer to facilitate/chair a session or your question/issue can be part of a session facilitated by one of the symposium organisers.

We will group questions/issues thematically by world café table and participants will be encouraged to move around the room to engage with conversations and activities at different tables throughout the sessions.

We will also be producing a podcast, which will be an opportunity for you to give brief presentations of your research or interest in issues around infrastructures.

We welcome contributions from diverse disciplinary background, addressing topics such as, but not limited to:

● Climate change

● Human-nature relations

● ‘Green infrastructures’

● Sustainable consumption

● Spatial politics

● Mediating/communicating infrastructures

● Infrastructures and commoning

● Everyday/mundane politics of infrastructure

● Physical infrastructures

● Tourism and hospitality

● Impacts on class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality…?

● Political Ecology

● Ontological politics of infrastructures

You can now register online for the symposium at:

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Please send your proposal (max 300 words) for question/issue related to your research to:

J.Romhild-Raviart @ - and - E.Hoover1 @ by 30 April 2018.

Sessions will be confirmed by 6th May 2018.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Judith, Kate, Shai, Lorenza and Elona

Doctoral Candidates, Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, University of Brighton

Dr Paul Robert Gilbert
Lecturer in International Development
Convenor, MA Environment, Development & Policy
Convenor, PhD Development Studies

Arts C205 | School of Global Studies | University of Sussex | BN1 9SJ | United Kingdom | | +44 (0) 1273 877095 | |
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