Past events

EcoPeoPle members spoke at a range of events in the second half of 2016 and early 2017:

Erika Techera gave a presentation for the public lecture series associated with John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea, a marine-focused exhibition at the John Curtin Gallery, on Wednesday 1 March 2017, 12:30pm – 1:30pm at the John Curtin Gallery, Building 200A, Curtin University, Bentley Campus.

Tony Hughes-d’Aeth’s keenly awaited book Like Nothing on this Earth: A Literary History of the Wheatbelt was launched by another EcoPeoPle member, Matthew Tonts, on Thursday 9th March from 5:30-7pm. It was great to see so many EcoPeoPle at the launch.

Michael Blakeney gave a keynote address on origin products and rural development at an international conference: ”African Geographical Indications for Green Inclusive Growth: Research and Innovation Pathways” in Accra, Ghana on 1 February, 2017.

Andrea Gaynor spoke on the history of suburban food production at the Sustainable Living Festival, Melbourne, 11th February 2017 and then at the ‘Mapping the Inland’ symposium at La Trobe University, 14-15th February 2017. While in Melbourne she spoke to the Age’s Megan Backhouse; you can read about the interview here.

Clare Mouat wass a co-convenor of ‘Living a higher life? Addressing the social sustainability challenges of condominium law, living, and landscapes’ held at RMIT University Europe (Barcelona), 21-22 November.

Petra Tschakert gave a keynote talk on the Anthropocene at the Global Ecologies, Local Impacts conference of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment & Culture, Australia & New Zealand (ASLEC-ANZ) and Sydney Environment Institute, 23-25 November. http://sydney.edu.au/environment-institute/events/global-ecologies-local-impacts-conference/

Michael Blakeney gave a keynote address on geographical indicators and agricultural marketing at the Fourth “Asia-Pacific Food Safety Governance Roundtable” at Korea National University,  Seoul on 10 November.

Richard Hobbs spoke on ‘Nature in cities: do we want it, can we keep it, and who cares anyway?’ at the Ecological Society of Australia meeting in Fremantle, paper on 29th November. Abstract here.
Richard also appeared as a panellist for a session on ‘The state of the world’s ecosystems and what landscape architects can and should do about it’ at the International Festival of Landscape Architecture in Canberra on 28th October: More info here.

Andrea Gaynor spoke on ‘Heartlands to Artlands: sustaining the wheatbelt through the arts’ at the Foundation for Australian Studies in China conference in Guangzhou, 17-19 November, Program TBA; also ‘Re-imagining Australian Wheatlands’ at the International Australian Studies Association conference ‘Re-imagining Australia’, Fremantle, 7-9 December 2016. More info here.

Joe Dortch, with Peter Veth and colleagues, spoke at the Australian Archaeological Association conference in December 2016 on working with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation on their current research project: Murujuga: the dynamics of community engagement (Joe Dortch, Andrew Dowding, Jo McDonald, Ken Mulvaney, Peter Veth, and Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation representatives).


The EcoPeoPle end of year get-together was held at the UWA Club on 2nd December 2016. It was great to celebrate the year’s achievements, and look forward in solidarity to 2017.


Andrea Gaynor from the History Discipline Group spoke on ‘The war on locusts in inland Australia, 1946-2010′, Wednesday 10 August 11am – 12 noon in the Philippa Maddern Seminar Room, Arts 1.33, UWA.

Abstract: In Australia, the incursion of farmers into interior districts from the 1870s took them into locust country, populated in most years by localised high density swarms of the native Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera). Less frequent, more widespread population booms were characterised by the farmers (and later their supporting agricultural institutions) as locust plagues. In this paper I trace how the human settler population ‘made war’ with locusts on their home territory, as the two communities competed for the food being produced in these areas. Following Ed Russell, I focus on human efforts to control locusts as illuminating some of the diverse relationships between war and nature, from the prevalence of military metaphors in early locust encounters to the use of RAAF planes to spray Lindane (a persistent organochlorine pesticide) over the Victorian mallee in 1946. While Russell concluded his examination of ideological, technological and organisational links between chemical warfare and pest control in the 1960s, I follow similar connections in the Australian context into the 1970s and beyond. Prior to the 1970s the war on locusts was widely conceived of and operationalised in conventional military terms, as defensive action against a hostile invader. While this paradigm was never abandoned, the establishment of the Australian Plague Locust Commission in 1974, near the end of the Vietnam war, signalled the beginning of a shift in strategy to one more akin to guerilla warfare, based on coordinated surveillance and mobile strikes on breeding events in the arid locust heartland. By the 2000s, the locust control rhetoric closely mirrored that of the war on terror. The ongoing war on locusts highlights the entanglement of war on humans and war on nature as a key element of modernity.


Katie Glaskin from the Anthropology & Sociology Discipline Group spoke on ‘Crosscurrents: Law and society in a native title claim to land and sea’, Friday, 12th August 2.30pm – 3.30pm, in the Social Sciences Building Room 2204, UWA.

Abstract: It is one thing to know what the law says: it is another to try to understand what it means and how it comes to be applied. In native title, which deals with indigenous relationships with country through the lens of a western property rights regime, this complexity is seriously magnified. The Sampi v State of Western Australia case was brought on behalf of two named groups, Bardi and Jawi. While most of the evidence in the case was heard in 2001, the introduction of the term ‘society’ into native title jurisprudence in 2002 as a consequence of the High Court’s decision in Yorta Yorta had enormous impact on the initial determination of the case in 2005. This determination excluded Jawi country on the basis that Jawi were now part of Bardi ‘society’, and it also excluded offshore areas that Bardi and Jawi had jointly claimed. While this decision was overturned on appeal in 2010, an examination of the case reveals the complex interplay between colonial history, ethnography and legal processes that contribute to how judgments are made.