CFP: Humanities in the Regions 2020

CFP: Humanities in the Regions 2020

A Virtual Conference
9am – 1pm, 3 July 2020
Hosted by the ACHRC and James Cook University

Call for Papers

The Two Cultures: Confrontation and Collaboration
The Arts and the Sciences in Dangerous Times

Confirmed Keynotes:
  • Dr. Paul Hardisty (Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Marine Science)
  • Dr. Margaret Cook (University of the Sunshine Coast)

With HDR/ECR professional development workshops from Dr. Margaret Cook and Dr. Elizabeth Tynan, in coordination with ASAL 2020.

‘I believe the intellectual life of the whole of western society is increasingly being split into two polar groups. . . . Literary intellectuals at one pole—at the other scientists, and as the most representative, the physical scientists. Between the two a gulf of mutual incomprehension—sometimes hostility and dislike, but most of all lack of understanding. They have a curious distorted image of each other.’

However much a product of its historical moment, C.P. Snow’s provocative analysis of two cultures in his 1959 Rede lecture still stands as a challenge to more effective collaboration between the humanities and the sciences and to a more nuanced, better integrated understanding of humanity and its role in the universe. This one-day symposium on Humanities in the Regions, to be held virtually, has been organised by the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC) and James Cook University (JCU) to interrogate the common assumption that there are two broad, competitive cultures operating within our universities and our society, competing for students, competing for recognition, competing for funding, and competing for the right to ‘science’ (knowledge) itself.
This is especially important today. Jeremy Rifkind’s 2011 bestseller The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World predicted that the world is on the cusp of unprecedented change. According to Rifkind and others, we are currently undergoing a third industrial revolution, requiring innovative thinking, problem solving and solutions on a scale not just equal to, but exceeding, the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century. In 2020, we are witnessing immense economic and humanitarian disruption as a result of bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have already forced society to adapt to new and unfavourable economic conditions. Identifying and normalising alternative models of research, education, communication, and community in a post-pandemic world will be imperative for researchers everywhere – but especially for researchers in regional locations already experiencing the tyranny of distance.
In this symposium, scholars are invited to address the question of the similarities and differences between the sciences and the humanities, especially as they pertain to regional universities, and to tell us how the two sets of disciplines might relate better to each other, what they could learn from each other, and how they might be reconciled in a more balanced model of education. How can the arts and humanities collaborate with the sciences to address these wicked problems, and what could (or should) the regional humanities look like in the future?

Suggested topics may include:

  • STEAM (Arts Plus STEM) in education and research, broadly conceived
  • The role of arts and humanities in addressing COVID-19, for example:
    • Medical humanities approaches;
    • Community-building in a post-pandemic era;
    • Humanities or STEAM-based approaches to legal and moral issues such as surveillance or population management techniques.
  • The role of the arts and humanities in addressing environmental crises, e.g. climate change, bushfires, coral bleaching, protecting the Great Barrier Reef, environmental degradation, and the Anthropocene.
  • The importance of creative collaborations and innovative thinking to address problems such as the UN Development Goals of CO2 emissions, financial inclusion, gender equity, and closing the gap – focusing on Indigenous inequities and the Global South more broadly
  • STEAM in development studies and projects
  • STEAM approaches to stimulating sustainable industries (e.g. eco-tourism, agriculture, mining and fisheries)
  • STEAM and the future of education (at the academic or school level)
  • STEAM and the future of work
  • Practices, potentials, pitfalls, and partnerships between industry and academia
  • STEAM and regional capacity
  • Declining enrolments in the humanities in the regions: is STEAM a solution, or smoke-and-mirrors?
  • Blue and green environmental humanities, or medical humanities, particularly with a regional focus
  • Applied (‘real life problem’) versus blue sky (discipline-driven) approaches to research in the humanities: complementary or competitive approaches?
  • The role of arts, social sciences, and humanities in science communication

This symposium will be hosted live online session from 9am-1pm on 3 July 2020.  Alongside this, we will releasing a variety of artefacts and papers which can be viewed asynchronously.
We welcome submissions for innovative formats or creative pieces suitable for asynchronous online delivery, including but not limited to:

  • Lightning papers (3 min, pre-recorded)
  • Digital poster + Discussion (3 min, pre-recorded or written)
  • Short written paper, published on blog
  • Podcast (20min)
  • Creative objects (art, fiction, short film, etc.) + exegesis (3 min, pre-recorded or written)

Please submit a 300 word proposal/abstract and 100 word bio to by 31 May 2020.
Final artefacts to be submitted by 5pm June 25 2020.

For further information will shortly be available here.

Image: Artwork by Rick Amor (Australian, 1948-), People Watching the Sea, 1995, oil on canvas.