The Sydney Environment Institute introduces its new Postdoctoral Fellowship Lecture Series, a series that celebrates the contributions and careers of our Postdoctoral Research Fellows. The inaugural lecture will recognise the inquisitive and critical research of Killian Quigley, whose long-term presence at the Institute will leave a remarkable legacy. Through his scholarship and his colleagueship, Killian has become an internationally-recognised figure in the oceanic humanities, with his research spanning literary history to aesthetic theory and delving deep into the environmental humanities.

Under the surface of the sea, encrusting marine life-forms take shape among and upon diverse substrates, “artificial” as well as “natural” — shipwrecks clad in sponges, oil platforms adorned with cup corals, aquaculture cages “fouled” by hydrozoans. Unlike the depth and stability evoked by soily rootedness on land, encrustation frequently connotes the superficial, the ornamental, the accidental, and the even the invasive.

This talk, which draws primarily on the discourses of Western science, aesthetics, and environmental humanities, asks how these encrusting lives challenge received impressions of place, relation, motility, and even life.

The lecture is on Tuesday, 1 December 2020, 5:00 – 6:00pm (local Sydney time). Registration available here.


Killian Quigley is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Sydney Environment Institute. His research spans literary history, aesthetic theory, the history of science, colonial and postcolonial studies, historical geography, and the environmental humanities. He is co-editor of The Aesthetics of the Undersea, author of articles on plastic, marine pastoral, and other subjects, and was researcher in residence, recently, with Works on Water/Underwater New York. He is the Research Lead on Unsettling Ecological Poetics and Ocean Ontologies.