Call for contributions for an Early Career and Doctoral Researcher Symposium –
Infrastructures for Troubled Times, June 6th 2018, at University of Brighton.

Keynote: Derek McCormack, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
Discussant: Leila Dawney, School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton. 

Hosted by the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics and Responsible Futures, University of Brighton. Location: 68 Middle Street, Brighton   

You can now register online for this event here

About the Symposium

Infrastructure is not identical to system or structure, as we currently see them, because infrastructure is defined by the movement or patterning of social form. It is the living mediation of what organizes life: the lifeworld of structure […] all the systems that link ongoing proximity to being in a world-sustaining relation. (Berlant 2016: 393)

Infused with power relations, infrastructures shape our worlds in all sorts of ways. From transport networks that get us to-and-from places, pipes that carry our sewage, flood mitigation structures, or ‘green infrastructures’ in cities, to less tangible structures that shape economies, governance and representation, mediate social-environmental interactions and establish knowledge structures.

How can we  understand and research infrastructures in ways that question perceptions of them as neutral or passive underlying material structures? A question that is crucial in today’s ‘troubled times’, when such structures are not only increasingly complex, multi-scalar and interconnected; but are affecting and effected by climate change, and patterns of global economic debt, financial management and resource extraction/use.

We are interested in the possibilities that thinking through and with infrastructures provides in terms of starting from material contexts rather than knowledge claims, and its potential for connections across disciplines.

How can we research these multiple, material, underlying, sometimes intangible or imagined structures? And how might they be re-imagined, re-understood and re-built in ways that are more socially, politically and environmentally just?

We would like to invite you to explore these issues with us through a one-day symposium, bringing together experience from across disciplinary contexts. We are particularly interested in different ways of understanding infrastructures, as well as methodological and technical approaches that allow us to interrogate the material, social, ideological and onto-epistemological formations that support their existence and effects.

We will kick off with a keynote from Derek McCormack, followed by world café style sessions for exploring questions together in more depth and a final whole group plenary.

What is world café?

The world café format is designed to enable a better flow of conversation between participants and more sustained discussion. Each session involves multiple stations (usually 4) with a question, provocation or theme posed by a facilitator for discussion.

Each session will be 2 hours long with short breaks every 30 minutes when participants are encouraged to move around the room to engage with conversations and activities at different tables. Participants are not obliged to move tables every 30 minutes and participants can move before the 30-minute time-period is up if they like.

Call for Contributions

The call for contributions is for raising a question or issue related to your research at one of these stations. You get a 30-minute session in which you can deliver a short 5-10 minute talk, share some creative work or run an activity on the symposium theme of ‘Infrastructures for troubled times’. It’s an opportunity for us to work together to explore and address key issues and questions in our research. If you would prefer your idea to be facilitated by one of the symposium organisers, just let us know in your submission.


We welcome contributions from diverse disciplinary background, addressing topics such as, but not limited to:

  •      Climate change
  •      Human-nature relations
  •      ‘Green infrastructures’
  •      Sustainable consumption
  •      Spatial politics
  •      Mediating/communicating infrastructures
  •      Infrastructures and commoning
  •      Everyday/mundane politics of infrastructure
  •      Physical infrastructures
  •      Tourism and hospitality
  •      Impacts on class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality…
  •      Political Ecology
  •      Ontological politics of infrastructures

Please submit your proposal of maximum 300 words to J.Romhild Raviart[at] and E.Hoover1[at] by 30th April 2018. Please include your institutional affiliation and a sentence or two about your research interests.

You can now register online for this event here

Free event, lunch and refreshments will be provided.
We also have a number of travel bursaries available (more information in the registration form)

Sessions confirmed by 14th May 2018.

We look forward to hearing from you!
Judith, Kate, Shai, Lorenza and Elona
Doctoral Candidates, Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, University of Brighton


  • Organisers: Elona Hoover , Judith Roemhild-Raviart, Kate Monson, Lorenza Ippolito and Shai Kassirer.
  • image: Ron Cogswell photo of the installation ‘Infinity Mirrored Room — Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity’ by Yayoi Kusama 2009 at The Hirshhorn Museum (DC) March 2017
    (CC BY 2.0)