With support from GALA, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Adelaide University to present a paper at the interdisciplinary conference ‘H20: Life & Death’ (14-16 Sep) organized by thefor Creative Practice, and part of GALA’s Lost Water series. My paper, ‘Flooding the Bathtub: The Politics of Invisibility and Community Resilience in Behn Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)’, was one of a host of innovative and challenging presentations that spoke to the question of how we can explore and remake what waters mean to us. It was the first time I have presented at an international conference, and the first opportunity I have had to discuss artistic responses to water and water related ecological concerns with fellow scholars and artists. The conference featured ecocritical thinkers, writers, artists, filmmakers and composers from around the world. I was particularly grateful to hear from representatives of the University of Auckland, who generously shared Maori kinship-based understandings of water and ecology, and reminded us that while it is important to consider environmental justice issues surrounding global waters, it is of equal importance to begin caring for the waterways closest to us as we might care for family and friends. Well worth the long and particularly turbulent journey, the experience was invaluable at this early stage in my research, and provided an opportunity to meet and establish relationships with scholars working in the environmental humanities internationally. The engaging and, at times, incredibly moving presentations throughout the conference gave me a lot to think about on the return journey home, and have already influenced my work moving forward. I want to take this opportunity to thank Camille Roulière for organizing such an insightful and thought-provoking event.
Sunset over Henley beach
Conference delegates (including me hiding in the back!)