Asynchronous Presentations

For Humanities in the Regions 2020, the ACHRC is delighted to host a range of podcasts, video series, blog posts and even sound art on everything from blue, environmental and health humanities to Shakespeare and innovative pedagogies in the time of COVID-19… and much more.

Follow the links below to view the full presentations. You can leave questions and comments for presenters on their individual page, or open a general conversation (on the conference as a whole) on this page.

Please enjoy!

Addressing the wicked problems of a regional environmental and health disaster: The Hazelwood Health Study as an example of collaboration between the humanities and the medical sciences (digital poster + recorded commentary)Susan Yell
Michelle Duffy
Matthew Carroll
Echoes from an Uncertain Reef (sound art)Matthew Buttacavoli
Sebastian J. Lowe
Anna Jalving
Adam Purdy
Ingibjörg Yr
Jeremy Mayall
Environmental History in Australia (video series)Alessandro Antonello
Claire Brennan
Margaret Cook
Nancy Cushing
Andrea Gaynor
David Harris
Scott McKinnon
Ruth Morgan
Emily O’Gorman
Literary Bridges (pre-recorded panel)Meera Atkinson
Jen Webb
Jordan Williams
Pedagogy, technology, and pandemic: Embedding resilience in curriculum through an integrated design framework (podcast)Rhian Morgan
Lisa Moody
Playing in creeks: a manifesto for wild imaginings and piracy (short paper)Irene O’Leary
Regional Music Research: Culture, creative industries and communities (vodcast/podcast)Ben Green
David Cashman
Alexandra Blok
Reimagine STEM: Arts and humanities are becoming core knowledges essential for STEM Practice and education; listen to the Reimagine STEM podcast to find out why…(podcast)Maya Haviland
Kiara Bruggemann
Gretchen Miller
Nick McCorriston
Dan Etheridge
Teaching & Learning in COVID-19 times study: An art & science collaboration (pre-recorded paper)Louise Gwenneth Phillips
Kate Coleman
Geraldine Burke
Temporal thinking in urgent times & ‘The New Social Contract’ Podcast (pre-recorded paper)Tamson Pietsch
The Deep History and Science in Conversation Series: A Multi-Disciplinary and Collaborative Approach to Understanding the Deep Human Past (short paper)Joshua Newham
Thermodynamics and Shakespeare: a career across two cultures (pre-recorded talk)Liz Tynan
Water, Water Everywhere: How does the term “blue humanities” consolidate scholarship across disciplines? (pre-recorded panel)JCU Blue Humanities Lab
Maxine Newlands
Claire Hansen
Thomas Bristow
Claire Brennan
Victoria Kuttainen
Jennifer Deger
Bryan Smith
What is (health) humanities for? (podcast)Claire Hansen
Brid Phillips


‘Environmental History in Australia’ (video series)

Alessandro Antonello (Flinders University), Claire Brennan (James Cook University), Margaret Cook (University of the Sunshine Coast), Nancy Cushing (University of Newcastle), Andrea Gaynor (University of Western Australia), David Harris (La Trobe University), Scott McKinnon (University of Wollongong), Ruth Morgan (Monash University), Emily O’Gorman (Macquarie University)

Environmental history asks fundamental questions about the complex and shifting relationships between people and environments, providing insights that can help us address the environmental challenges of the present. In Australia, environmental history is a thriving area of research, as environmental challenges proliferate and we turn to the past for understanding, inspiration and justice.

This series of short videos, produced by the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network (ANZEHN), explores the breadth of topics currently being researched within environmental history in Australia. In each video science can be seen to inform the work of historians, and in turn scientific understandings of the world are enhanced by the skills of historians who recognise the ways in human perceptions and motivations interact with the physical world. These videos serve as an example of the understandings that can be achieved when humanities scholars use scientific tools within their research, and of the way in which understanding humans is often essential to understanding environmental change.

When the ANZEHN was established in 1997 it was a Canberra-based group. Since then it has expanded to become a globally-recognised transnational network that connects over 500 people in Australasia and beyond with the latest environmental history research, events and opportunities.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘Literary Bridges’ (podcast)

Meera Atkinson (University of Notre Dame), Jen Webb (University of Canberra), Jordan Williams (University of Canberra)

In public discourse, there is a tendency for arts and science to be cast as irreconcilable at best and oppositional at worst. However, the explication of trauma, resilience and wellbeing in creative writing is as much a matter of science communication as of literature. It involves writing down the bones of the phenomena science charts and treats, exploiting the narrative and poetic properties of such endeavours, and making explicit both cognition and affect, empirical evidence and felt experience. This is evident in creative nonfiction – for example, astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan’s lyrical Mapping the Heavens, which is predicated on her research, but points to the remarkable import of myth and imagination in scientific exploration. It is evident in hybrid works, such as non-fiction narratives that combine memoir and scientific research. Meera Atkinson’s Traumata, for example, explores structural and endemic trauma; Katerina Bryant’s Hysteria uses literary and historical analyses of conversion disorder to explore women’s medical treatment. And it is equally evident in modes of literary fiction. Both Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy and Richard Powers’ Overstory, for example, are predicated on ecological disaster, and offer compelling tales of the intimate relationships between humans and the natural world. Such approaches to literary expression do not necessarily aim to represent theory or defend experimental data, but they do complement and communicate scientific findings in ways that are both imaginative and evocative. At their best, such writings enact a form of affective, micro-macro witnessing that has the potential to de-mystify scientific findings, personalise and humanise their issues, confront denial and minimisation, and build bridges between the ‘two cultures’. This paper points to recent shifts in science and arts research and practice that seem to honour Snow’s advice to ‘rethink’ how both domains operate, in order to find sustainable answers to the urgent questions of the moment.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘Echoes from an uncertain reef’ (sound art)

Matthew Buttacavoli (James Cook University), Sebastian J. Lowe (James Cook University), Anna Jalving, Adam Purdy, Ingibjörg Yr, and Jeremy Mayall

What does the future of the Great Barrier Reef sound like?

Sound is an important communicative medium for reef species, such as clown fish, snapping shrimp, and migrating whales. The quality and texture of a reef’s soundscape is also an indicator of reef health. As coral reefs around the world are deteriorating, their soundscapes are getting more simple and quiet. We approached a number of international artists for their response to the uncertain future of the Great Barrier Reef. Each was asked to engage with a recording from Shark Mountain at Norman Reef recorded by Matthew Buttacavoli as part of his doctoral research. Each found a quiet urgency in this recording and responded in kind.

The resulting sound piece, Echoes, features the work of artists from Aotearoa New Zealand, Iceland and Denmark who collectively remind us of the place of the Great Barrier Reef in global ecological imaginaries.

Listening to Echoes it is possible to detect at least four interrelated themes: contact, globalism, temporality and and the role of the creativity and the senses in focusing our attention. Jalving’s poem invites us to come and become part of a reefy world, not separate from it. Purdy takes us further to explore the subaquatic world. Jalving’s Danish poem and Yr’s piece featuring an Icelandic child reading climate change articles reminds the listener that of the global concern for this World Heritage Site. Yr’s child reminds us once again that the future of the Reef is also the future for the next generation and so on. Mayall’s piece continues this play with time as he stretches and pulls at the sound itself. The original recording by Buttacavoli closes the cycle. With imaginations primed by the first four pieces, this final sound segment invites listeners to attend to the unadorned sizzle of snapping shrimp, the grunt of reef fish, the activity of divers, and the whirl of the boat engine.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘Regional music research: Culture, creative industries and communities’ (video panel)

Ben Green (Griffith University), David Cashman (Southern Cross University), Alexandra Blok (Griffith University)

The Regional Music Research Group (RMRG) comprises arts and humanities scholars from Griffith University, Southern Cross University and University of New England. RMRG members have undertaken grant and consultancy research on music making and scenes in regional Queensland and New South Wales in collaboration with local communities, governments and industry. Current research projects are focused on the impact of COVID-19 on regional music, and the role of music in post-pandemic recovery for regional areas.

This presentation introduces the work of the RMRG and explores the importance of regional music scenes and their interdisciplinary study. The booming interest in ‘creative cities’ has largely eclipsed the contributions of regional and rural settings to the national cultural economy, in Australia and elsewhere. However, regional and rural music scenes are becoming increasingly diverse, significant and connected, as recognised by policy-makers seeking to harness music for local tourism and growth. While the economic case is persuasive, the study of music-making practices in regional and rural settings needs to be sensitive to a range of factors, social, economic and cultural, that impact on and are impacted by the presence of a local music scene. Apart from financial gain, which may be low compared to urban settings, regional music scenes can contribute to community cohesion and well-being, with particular significance for such groups as young people, older people, Indigenous Australians, and the migrants whose settlement in regional areas is a continuing focus of population and economic policy. These matters take on new significance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its social and economic impacts, including a predicted trend towards regional living. There is also a need to consider how music making across regional, rural and remote settings faces challenges and opportunities in the context of sustainability, digital technologies and the experience economy.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘What is (health) humanities for?’ (video panel)

Claire Hansen (James Cook University) and Brid Phillips (University of Western Australia)

The health humanities has developed as an inclusive, interdisciplinary approach to the intersections and interactions between the humanities and health disciplines. In this 20-minute podcast, Dr Bríd Phillips (Lecturer in Health Humanities at University of Western Australia (UWA)) and Dr Claire Hansen (Lecturer in English and Writing at James Cook University (JCU)) will explore questions around the purpose of the humanities and literature, specifically as it pertains to human health and wellbeing. The podcast will introduce the health humanities and its relationship to English literature and emotions. An exploratory discussion will provide insights into the research projects in health humanities conducted at both UWA and JCU. We will discuss Dr Phillips’ involvement in the Humanities in Health and Medicine major and her work on narrative medicine with frontline health workers during Covid-19. The podcast will also explore Dr Hansen’s collaborative work connecting artificial heart devices (left ventricular assist devices or LVADs) with representations of the pulse in the works of William Shakespeare. Using these specific research projects, the podcast will raise broader questions about the role of the health humanities, the intersections between medicine and literature, and the function of literature in our society.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘Arts and humanities are becoming core knowledges essential for STEM Practice and education – listen to the Reimagine STEM podcast to find out how and why…’ (podcast)

Maya Haviland (ANU), Kiara Bruggemann (ANU), Gretchen Miller (ANU), Nick McCorriston (ANU), Dan Etheridge

The Reimagine STEM is a podcast featuring conversations about approaches to inter-disciplinary education and practice in the contexts of engineering and computing. It was made by a team of creative producers during the CoDesign Culture Lab, an event hosted by the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) in November 2019 as part of work to engage diverse voices and knowledges into the CECS agenda to Reimagine how engineering and computer science serve the emerging needs of the middle of the coming century. Covering 4 core themes – Educational innovation; Practice and education for social benefit; the need for Diversity; and, the contributions of Indigenous knowledges, the Reimagine STEM podcast demonstrates ways in which knowledge and practice from the Arts and Humanities are being sought out and applied to STEM practices and education to ensure that we more effectively meet current and emerging global and local challenges.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

Water, Water Everywhere: How does the term “blue humanities” consolidate scholarship across disciplines?’ (video panel)

JCU Blue Humanities Lab (Maxine Newlands, Claire Hansen, Thomas Bristow, Claire Brennan, Victoria Kuttainen, Jennifer Deger, Bryan Smith)

This presentation is a conversation produced by the James Cook Blue Humanities Lab, a collective of scholars from the humanities, social sciences, arts, and education who are focusing their attention on waters. In this presentation, each scholar briefly considers what ‘the blue humanities’ means from their disciplinary background, and in relation to their research, methodology, and contribution to the field.

We also reflect on the concept of a humanities ‘lab’ and its attractions, affordances, perils, and limits for addressing critical issues that call on creative collaborations between and across HASS and science scholarship, broadly conceived.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘Pedagogy, technology and pandemic: Embedding resilience in curriculum through an integrated design framework’ (podcast)

Rhian Morgan (James Cook University) & Lisa Moody (James Cook University)

On 12 April 2020, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan announced the government’s
“higher education relief package”. The package included funding for a range of short courses aimed at helping unemployed and underemployed Australians retrain in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown. The courses were to be targeted at identified areas of national priority, including Health, Education, IT, and Science and characterised by flexibility, expedience, online learning, and subsidisation. As a response to the economic downturn caused by Covid-19, these subsidised short courses point to the role of higher education as a key component in community-building initiatives for a post-pandemic Australia. Although, without careful course design, the imperative to upskill and reskill in order to mediate workplace precarity, risks foregrounding neoliberal productivity agendas (Ferguson, 2016), at the expense of student wellbeing during a period of significant social and economic upheaval. The subject development processes discussed in this podcast describe how two university lecturers sought to respond to these challenges, while developing two core subjects within a new sub-degree certificate level course launched at a regional university. The certificate course is a direct response to the higher education relief package and is targeted at a range of STEAM disciplines. Through a process of dialogic reflection, the presenters discuss how they seek to promote interdisciplinary alignment between academic and digital literacies using a specially designed pedagogical framework that explicitly supports resilience, the promotion of academic self-efficacy, and processes of cumulative learning (Maton, 2009), while also preparing non-traditional students for tertiary study in an interdisciplinary context. Further, the presenters discuss the unique learnings such a process has provided and explore potential for further development and application of the integrated curriculum alignment framework (ICAF) in order to enhance student engagement, academic resilience, and knowledge transfer (Van Doorn & Van Doorn, 2014) from individual subjects to wider course level studies.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘The Deep History and Science in Conversation Series: A Multi-Disciplinary and Collaborative Approach to Understanding the Deep Human Past’ (blog post)

Joshua Newham (Australian National University)

Ongoing concern with human induced climate change, the Anthropocene and other human impacts on the environment have necessitated an historical turn towards the sciences. As an emergent discipline, Deep History builds off the larger timescales and concerns with the agency of the natural world implicit in Environmental history, seeing the entanglement of human culture and the natural world as a dialectic and driving historical force. Such a perspective requires a willingness to adjust to multi-scalar conceptions of time, yet it also invites an expansion of the historians archive and a willingness to collaborate with the sciences in order to better understand and discuss their findings. The ANU’s Research Centre for Deep History, under W.K. Hancock Professor Ann McGrath, represents just such a rapprochement, and a conscious attempt to write histories that move beyond the traditional purview of nation states, events, written source material and a focus on centuries and decades. The Deep History and Science in Conversations Series has been a recent initiative of the Centre, promoting multi-disciplinary conversations in order to further those goals. Curated by PhD students Miriana Unikowski and Josh Newham, the inaugural session was held on the 5th of May, 2020. Entitled ‘Pandemics and the Deep Human Past’ it engaged an evolutionary biologist, a specialist in zoonotic diseases and an infectious diseases physician and ethicist, and was chaired by Professor Ann McGrath. The panel explored the interrelationships of viruses, bacteria and their hosts – from the evolution of early forms of complex life through to the present day – putting the current pandemic in a deep historical context. The second session will be held on the 9th of June and will explore the concept of the Anthropocene and the transdisciplinary approaches of environmental historians. Speakers include a paleoclimatologist, environmental historian and a science communicator.

Full Presentation & Bio (available on July 3rd)

‘Playing in creeks: a manifesto for wild imaginings and piracy’ (blog post)

Irene O’Leary (James Cook University)

Snow argued that ‘polarisation’ between the arts and sciences ‘is sheer loss to us all’ (11). This loss, he asserted, could be partially countered by a strong social justice and educational program with its requisite ‘imaginative experience, both in the arts and in science’ (100). Taking Snow’s imaginative ‘leap’ by which thinking differently can be ‘snatched at’ (73) as a starting point, I present my own manifesto. The gap, or creek, is not a barrier but a place of encounter, imagination and change.

Full Presentation & Bio (available on July 3rd)

‘Teaching & Learning in COVID-19 times study: An art & science collaboration’ (video panel)

Louise Phillips (James Cook University, Singapore), Kate Coleman (MGSE, Melbourne University) & Geraldine Burke (Monash University)

Teachers are at the frontline in ensuring learning continues during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, though there has been minimal consultation with teachers. At very short notice, teachers across all sectors have needed to significantly reconfigure their teaching and practices. The changes in education are global, urgent and look to alter education practices from this point onwards. It is a time of rapid innovation, novel partnerships, and enhanced questions of access. As a group of educational and arts-based researchers (networked via online platforms) we recognised that these changing practices needed to be documented and analysed urgently to support teaching and learning within these less familiar social configurations remotely and locally. Through an online qualitative survey we have gathered hundreds of teacher’s experiences of the effect and affect of COVID-19 on teaching and learning located in Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Singapore, and the USA. In this presentation, we share how we are beginning to interpret the survey data by playing and curating with digital humanities/ data science tools voyant and omeka. We talk about what these science tools are enabling us to see and how we may begin to see opportunities to create/ make art with the data to draw attention to matters of concern in teaching and learning in COVID-19. This is emergent work in progress.

Full Presentation & Bios (available on July 3rd)

‘The New Social Contract Podcast’

Tamson Pietsch (University of Technology Sydney)

Universities have existed for close to a thousand years. Across the centuries they have been places for making sense of the world and for shaping it.

But it would be a mistake to see universities as static and unchanging.

Under the pressures of war, political rupture and social and economic demands, they’ve often been remade. So, is this what we’re experiencing now, as COVID-19 rips through our lives?

The higher education sector is facing long-lasting financial and academic stress. Meanwhile our students are looking at a future in which they bear the costs both of this pandemic and the continuing ecological crisis.

What will they demand of universities as they make lives in a very different kind of world?

The uncertainty is making it difficult for everyone, university leaders, academics and students. Hosted by Tamson Pietsch (Director of the Australian Centre for Public History at UTS) ‘The New Social Contract’ podcast seeks to contribute to a conversation about the kind of higher education sector our society needs. By using the lens of the past, present (and even the future), it investigates what the public can legitimately demand of their universities, and how higher education in Australia might be remade.

…with a new short video from Tamson Pietsch: ‘Temporal thinking in urgent times’

A high-stakes contest is currently taking place between different ways of understanding the systems that create and structure the world we all live in, and the how they can be shaped and changed. This short video outlines the stakes of this contest and the place in it of all those who believe in human agency and the possibility of change.

Full Presentation & Bio (available on July 3rd)

‘Thermodynamics and Shakespeare: A career across two cultures’ (video)

Liz Tynan (James Cook University)

The “two cultures” idea is still powerful, 61 years after it was brought to life by the British novelist and physicist C P Snow. Some ideas come along at just the right time. The ideas may not in themselves be completely true, but they have enough explanatory power to lodge in the collective psyche, to illuminate something that might have been nagging away at people for a while. Such is the Two Cultures idea, C P Snow’s famous contribution to intellectual life. His landmark lecture at Cambridge in 1959 won him some enemies, including the famously acid literary humanist, F R Leavis. Why should pointing out a divide between the humanities and the sciences provoke bitter anger? I have found in my own career that the humanities and the sciences do often stand at odds with each other, and have seen first-hand some petty enmity between the two, often over funding. I have also enjoyed as much as anyone the theatrical revenge of the Sokal Hoax (which I will discuss). But oh, to work in both cultures is such a joy. Most of my career, which started in the humanities and branched into the sciences, has been spent traversing the divide, writing as I go, a science journalist and historical researcher. At times this work has been abidingly difficult, and at others deeply satisfying (or both at the same time). In this short reflection on my two cultures career, I will share what I have learned as I have crossed the divide.

Full Presentation & Bio (available on July 3rd)

‘Addressing the wicked problems of a regional environmental and health disaster: The Hazelwood Health Study as an example of collaboration between the humanities and the medical sciences’ (digital poster + commentary)

Susan Yell (Federation University), Michelle Duffy (University of Newcastle) & Matthew Carroll (Monash Rural Health)

The Hazelwood Health Study was funded by the Victorian State government to address the health and wellbeing impacts of exposure to smoke from the Hazelwood mine fire, which started as a bushfire in the Latrobe Valley near Morwell, Victoria, and spread into the adjoining open-cut coalmine. The fire burned for six weeks in 2014, shrouding Morwell and neighbouring communities in smoke and ash. This poster focuses on the benefits and significance of doing STEAM research in the regions.

Wicked problems such as those brought on by climate change are usually experienced first and most acutely in the regions (Hughes et al 2016). This collaboration across the humanities and the medical and psychological sciences brought together different frameworks to understand the human impact of the mine fire, in ways that either a science-based or humanities-based approach alone could not achieve.

The humanities stream of research within the study enabled the medical findings to be situated within a prior context of socioeconomic and health disadvantage (Duffy & Whyte 2017). It helped inform the recruitment strategies for the epidemiological research methods, and enhanced community understanding of and engagement with the study.

We argue that combining a science lens with a humanities lens enabled a focus on the micro through to the macro impacts of this disastrous event. Epidemiological methods and medical science contributed macro and micro perspectives: macro through connecting population level datasets and to modelled smoke exposure estimates; and micro through the collection of individual cardiovascular, respiratory and mental health data on the impacts of exposure. Qualitative humanities research gave a meso perspective bridging the macro and the micro, by analysing community narratives which gave sense to and framed the lived experience of the community, of health and mental health impacts as well as impacts on the wider social networks and communication ecology of the community.