Over the past six months or so I have been the chair of the seminar committee at WSU’s Institute for Culture & Society. As an Early Career Researcher (or ECR), it’s been an instructive professional experience in managing priorities and logistics. Just like a conference, those organising a seminar series have to think about not only what interests them, and what sits well with the given institution, but also what is going to be possible (given budgets and schedules) and how to distribute opportunities. Seminars can be great places to test out ideas and get feedback, but, at the same time, many academics are reluctant to speak amongst close peers or about work-in-progress (just as some audiences are reluctant to listen to work that’s been published already).
I’m starting a new position soon at Deakin University (more to come at a later date), so unfortunately I will not get to see out the program, but I’m proud of where it has ended up. We’ve managed to nab a fair number of visitors to Sydney (Emma Kowal, Jenny Pickerill and Celine Granjou) as well as inaugurate the ‘Thinking in Common’ panels (where several people with different fields/disciplines present thinking about a given ‘it’ term) thought up by my ICS colleague Gay Hawkins. In May, we staged a panel on ‘anticipation‘ with myself, Catherine Phillips, Chris Vasantkumar and Juan Francisco Salazar. Some of the work I discussed has recently been published in a paper in Environment & Planning A, titled ‘Burning Anticipation‘.