EVENTS: ‘Pissing in the wind’ at the Antipodes

Pauliina attended a week long conference – ‘Wild Thinking’ Summer Institute of the Antipodes – at the University of West Sydney in Australia (a collaboration between WSU and Manchester Metropolitan University). The masterminds behind the amazingly inspiring week were the Asia-Pacific (and UK) gurus of post-structural qualitative inquiry Margaret Somerville, Maggie MacLure, Eileen Honan, Marek Tesar, Susanne Gannon, David R. Cole and Karen Malone.

Before the academic adventures Pauliina was graciously taken to the seapool at Bondi Beach to wash off the 27 hour travel from Oulu to Sydney. Splashing in the waves with Karen and Carol she stubbornly refused the offered sun tan lotion (“I never burn”) and of course burnt her neck and chest on the very first day. This, however, made her feel like she blended in perfectly with her new environment – her skin peeling off just like the bark on the native paperbark trees!

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The first conference day begun with a keynote by Alison Jones and Te Kawehau Hoskins. Unpacking the categories of ‘coloniser’ and ‘colonised/victim’ Alison and Te Kawehau engaged in discussing a wicked problem, in other words ‘pissing in the wind’ (their expression!). Next, Susan Nordstrom led a ‘doing’ workshop in which the participants used walking to think about and break habits and conventions of doing research. Needless to say, the red-necked Pauliina had to do her walking exercise in the shades of trees as the +37C scorching sun had serious agency in her walk. The third session of the day was a ‘making’ workshop with Fikile Nxumalo, Nikki Rotas and Narda Nelson: A microbial workshop – thinking with a relational micropolitics of attunement. Pauliina, Mindy and Veronica made a delicious microbial environment out of soil, water, eggs and torn newspaper (carbon) while discussing micro- and macro level politics of soil.

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Tuesday began with a keynote by no less than Rosi Braidotti herself. A true perfomer and an astounding cartographer, she presented her mappings of the ‘breeding grounds’ (!) of critical Spinozism and discussed the ‘posthuman’ as a navigational tool rather than a concept. The YouTube videos of all of the keynote speeches should be available shortly via the Antipodes fb page (https://www.facebook.com/Antipodes2016/?fref=ts). The next workshop Pauliina selected was by the North American postqual guru Mirka Koro-Ljungberg: Philosophy of slowness. The    slowness     of     the     session      created     more     insights      and       n  o  t  e  s      t  h  a  n      a  n  y       o     t     h     e     r         s     e     s     s     i    o    n   Pauliina attended. Slowness, or speed, is relative to the situation in which it is measured. Where (from who/what) do we aquire the pace with which we think and do research? Could we pace ourselves differently?

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The final workshop for Tuesday which Pauliina attended was held by Susanne Gannon and Sheridan Linnell and included the crafting of ‘literary diffractive devices’ – different means to disrupt, interrupt and complicate text (data/materials). After diffracting and mocking up old psychology textbooks Mirka and Pauliina escaped to the Blue Mountains for the rest of the day, assisted by the conference coordinator of all conference coordinators Tracy Buckridge. The ensuing dinner included pumpkin pizza and balls of some sort (yes) and super hipster 100% rainwater filtered and bottled on site.

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The third conference day saw an inspiring keynote by Veronica Pacini Ketchabaw on multispecies ethnographies and the multiple notions of time in addition to clock-time with which we are used to pacing ourselves by. Veronica and her Common Worlds collective ask us to consider how we might experiment with what is already taking place in the world, as a way to break down the anthropocentrism of educational research practices. Of all of the workshops on offer after the keynote Pauliina chose Abigail Hackett’s session on ‘Exploring the temporal and spatial nature of movement as a methodological challenge’. Abi’s walking maps were about transferring movement from foot to pencil and produced thoughtful creations by the participants.

Wednesday ended with Ann-Hege Waterhouse and Ann Merete Otterstad and embroidering data in and with theories. The room was quiet for an hour and a half, buzzing with concentrated people stitching, sewing, cutting, tearing, collaging and combining materials, images and passages from theories – working theories into affective compositions.

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Thursday began with Pauliina’s keynote. Except that she referred to it as a ‘note speech’ within the lineup of KEY speakers before and after her. And she almost teared up before even beginning the talk: people had carried little stones in their pockets to the lecture hall and placed them on the table in front of her (just in case every single person in the universe has not read all of Pauliina’s papers, which is unlikely because she is such a superstar, the stones were a reference to her 2013 article in Children’s Geographies (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14733285.2013.812278)). Notes were made of life and death as multiple and of the species problem as generative both philosophically and empirically.

The final workshop that Pauliina attended was given by David Lines on ‘Sounded rhizomes’ and included an embodied lesson of ‘groove’ in music. The wonderfully inspiring session ended with ‘ear dreaming’ – doodling to music. This session was also attended by David R. Cole, who led the ‘talking’ sessions Pauliina attended (well, most of them she did) throughout the week with insight and wit.

The last day of the conference begun with a keynote speech by Margaret Somerville together with aboriginal artists Daphne Wallace and Treahna Hamm. The multi-voiced presentation shed light to the methodology of ‘thinking through country’ and the intimate attachments between people and land in a project surrounding pedagogies of water.

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At the time of writing this Pauliina has moved on to Melbourne to attend the Australian Association of Research in Education annual meeting. Stay put for a report in due time!

 

 

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