How Do We Belong in an Urban Ecology?
What does belonging mean, in a politically fractured, urbanised and mechanised post-colonial world such as Australia in general, and Sydney in particular? Is it possible to re-imagine the concept of belonging, both as members of a reconstituted (and hopefully more just) political community and as part of the larger (and often invisible) environmental communities that form the fabric of urban living today? To embark in this discussion, four speakers from radically diverse backgrounds will initiate a mutually enhancing dialogue with the audience, in order to cooperatively ‘re-imagine’ our collective sense of belonging.
THREE SPEAKERS PRESENTATION FOLLOWED BY A PUBLIC DISCUSSION WITH THE AUDIENCE
Barbara Nicholson is a senior Wadi Wadi woman from the Illawarra. A published poet,
Barbara has been active for decades across the spectrum of Aboriginal disadvantage: education, criminal justice, land rights and the Stolen Generation. She worked as a lecturer in Aboriginal Studies at UNSW and UOW, has taught course work to inmate students at Goulburn Gaol and is part of both the Human Research Ethics Committee at UOW and the Ethics Committee for the Australian Institute Of Criminology in Canberra. In addition, she is a Board member at the South Coast Writers Centre (SCWC) and the chairperson of the SCWC Aboriginal Consultation Team and the project Leader of the Junee project, facilitation creative writing workshops with Indigenous inmates at Junee Correctional Centre, NSW. Aunty Barbara was granted a Doctor of the Laws (Honoris Causa) from UOW in 2014.
Who are you?
Who are you? Who am I? Who are we? Aunty Barbara’s questions will open the evening by asking whether we are separate individuals living somewhat ‘outside’ of a perceived collective consciousness, or rather whether that very collective consciousness shapes, and even makes possible, our own individuality.
Lillian Pearce (urban ecologist – belonging in the 21st century)
Lilian Pearce is a PhD candidate at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU. She has a natural and social science background (BSc Hons, UTAS) and combines disciplinary tools to explore the relationships between people, nature and place. Her doctoral research ‘Restorative ecologies for changing Australian landscapes’ explores cultural, historical and political aspects of restoration practice and sense of place through change.
Belonging in a contemporary urban milieu
We each participate in practices that create meaning and help us to navigate our place in the world. How can heightening our sensitivity to the more than human inhabitants of cities and nurturing relationships with the unique biophysical elements of place foster a sense of belonging? What can we learn about belonging from contemporary thought in ecology and the environmental humanities? Lilian will draw on examples from her work on people’s experiences of the urban forest, the management of native grassland reserves and community citizen science programs to consider ecologically informed belonging in a contemporary urban milieu
Diego Bonetto is an Italian naturalist and award winning cultural worker based in Sydney. Diego’s art practice encompasses collaborative socially engaged projects from the likes of the ‘Green Bans Art Walk’ to environmental campaigns like the ‘Weedy Connection’, celebrating and fostering culturally aware interpretation of the landscape. Diego works with chefs, scientists, architects, academics, herbalists, brewers, soap makers, producers, educators and land owners, providing programs, workshops, tours, community engagement strategies and exhibitions.
Rethinking belonging, or rather: you’re here, better start belonging
Diego proudly describes himself as a forager and a cultural worker, by pointing out that one goes with the other, that one feeds the other, literally. As Anna Du Chesne suggests, ‘foraging is a way of reconnecting to traditional foodways, emphasising seasonal and local food, it is a nostalgic and communal activity, involving the family across generations, with elder experts passing knowledge on to youth.’ Diego, a consummate storyteller who has been teaching the craft of collecting exotic species form the wild from close to 15 years is keen to pass his knowledge to eager listeners. Forging belonging via a cultural connection with the non-human communities that surround us can be framed as a subversive act, and yet it creates a necessary reflection on pluri-culturalism, dispelling issues of environmental legitimacy in order to invest the public at large with empowering care and knowledge.
Earth Laws Network (SCU)
AWLA (Australian Wild Law Alliance)
Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature
Italian by birth and Australian by choice, Alessandro is a Lecturer in Law in the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University, specialized in comparative law and legal anthropology. Alessandro has been involved in Indigenous rights since his university years. His PhD thesis, conducted at the University of Wollongong and completed in 2011 focused on native title and legal pluralism in the Illawarra. In 2010, Alessandro began to explore the emerging discourse on rights of nature, Wild Law and Earth Jurisprudence. He has organized a number of Australian Conferences on Wild Law and Earth, he is one of the founding members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, and he has contributed to establish the Earth Laws Network at Southern Cross University. Alessandro’s main areas of research are legal anthropology, legal theory, comparative law, sovereignty, Indigenous rights and ecological jurisprudence.
FRIDAY 30TH OCTOBER
FROM 7PM TO 9PM
ITALIAN FORUM CULTURAL CENTRE
23 NORTON STREET, PIAZZA LEVEL, LEICHHARDT