Infrastructural Inequalities: Resistant Media and Abolitionist Futures

This public program, facilitated by Infrastructural Inequalities, follows the publication of the Infrastructural Inequalities Journal: Policing, Crisis, Abolition, a special issue focused on carceral infrastructures and the struggle to abolish them. Bringing together speakers whose research, activism, and creative practice converge on the problem of carcerality and the hopefulness of abolition, the program will comprise two panels. The first will focus on resistant media and the possibilities of storytelling; the second will focus on abolition as a critical practice and as a mode of organising.

Register here

Session 1. Critiquing the Carceral State, Organising Abolitionist Futures
Featuring Tabitha Lean, Debbie Kilroy, Behrouz Boochani, Omid Tofighian)
Friday May 14
11:30am – 1pm (AEST)
Streaming here

Session 2: Resistant Media and Abolitionist Storytelling
Featuring Alison Whittaker, Rocket Bretherton, and Johanna Bell
Monday May 17
10:00am-11:30am (AEST)
Streaming here

Infrastructural Inequalities Workshop: Building Research Cultures and Infrastructures of Study

Monday May 17
1:00pm-5:00pm (AEST)
UNSW Kensington campus

Interdisciplinary research, public engagement, impact, and social collaboration are key features of contemporary university discourse. Yet achieving such outcomes can be difficult for individual academic workers, in part because of what is institutionally recognised, required, and rewarded – by grants assessors, hiring and promotion committees, media units, and so on. Slow scholarship, a politics of care, and scholactivism are all ways of framing modes of academic labour that contrast with the neoliberal demands of endless production of a generic high quality, yet it is not always clear how to action such approaches, including from positions of insecure work. The dissection of academic research from teaching, the branding demands of corporate universities, and the institutional anticipation of shifting metrics tied to funding can all stand in the way.

This workshop uses Infrastructural Inequalities as one among many approaches to collaboration aimed at public intellectual culture. For us, it is an attempt to build a social infrastructure for critical thinking and public engagement: how to generate projects that enliven such principles in ways that are meaningful, ethical, pleasurable, and practically possible. Describing the Infrastructural Inequalities project, the workshop will reflect on why we might collaborate, with whom, and the ethics and challenges of doing so. It introduces the forms that collaboration can take – such as reading groups, co-authorship, exhibitions and public programs, organising, independent publishing – and asks participants to share experiences and explore techniques for pursuing different forms.

This workshop is aimed at higher degree research students and early career researchers with an interest in thinking about various forms of academic production. Led by Andrew Brooks, Liam Grealy, Astrid Lorange, and Tess Lea its success will depend on the thoughtful engagement of all participants, in relation to past projects, present difficulties, and future aspirations. Participation for the workshop on the afternoon of Monday 17 May will be in-person and capped.

If you are interested, please submit 300-500 words on:

• What do you research?
• What are the infrastructures that your research engages with and/or depends on?
• What are the impediments to your desired project or approach?
• What aspect(s) of collaboration would you like this workshop to consider and why?

Submissions should be made to a.brooks@unsw.edu.au by 5pm Monday 26 April.

II Reading Group – Infrastructural Zones

This reading program interrogates the idea of infrastructural zones. These are both the discrete areas in which infrastructures are built and operate and the relations between networks of places drawn together by infrastructural exchange. Zoning is a constitutive process, enabled through various forms of material and symbolic action: planning, mapping, construction, policing, and so on. In turn, the production of infrastructural zones promotes forms of subjectification and associated attunements, affects, and experiences. These sessions continue the Infrastructural Inequalities readings group (2018–), extending the discussion of topics such as architecture, water, waste, words, wires, data and prediction, the technofix, and extraction. The geographic metaphor of zones draws attention to the spatial elements of infrastructure, considered at multiple scales, while staying attuned to the temporal impacts of infrastructural exchange, expansion, ruin, and delay.

The next session is scheduled for Thursday May 27, by zoom, on the topic ‘Precarious Placemaking’. Reading available here.

Contactliam.grealy@sydney.edu.au