Category Archives: Conference

Buen Vivir in Melbourne

Ecuador Vive (Association of Ecuadorian students in Melbourne) with the support of the Embassy of Ecuador in Australia have the pleasure to invite you to 2nd edition of the conference: “Ecuadorian Ideas That Matter”

The aim of the conference is to promote ideas, academic research papers and technological innovations of Ecuadorian students in Australia. The conference will revolve around several topics including human rights, health, innovation and the rights of nature.

Date: 2 June, from 2:00 a 5:00 pm.
Place: University of Melbourne, Gryphon Gallery, GSA Building (1888),
A degustation of Ecuadorian traditional food will take place during the event.
RSVP: 28 May 2014 embassy@ecuador-au.org

AILASA 2014 – Voicing Dissent – AILASA – The University of Sydney

AILASA 2014 – Voicing Dissent – The University of Sydney 2nd – 4th July, 2014.

In the past few decades, in Iberian and Latin American Studies there has been a growth of academic interest in the challenges posed to the status quo by a plethora of social actors. From committed individual voices in the arts, cinema and literature, to collective forms of urban and rural resistance such as social and indigenous movements, Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula have witnessed an increase in the presence of dissenting voices.

Parallel to this phenomenon, the demands that grew from these forms of resistance, often originating “from below” have become part of significant reforms carried out by nation-states. Some of these top-down reforms have been led by people such as Evo Morales in Bolivia and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina, to mention just two examples, with the effect of unsettling traditional perspectives on identity politics, citizenship, and the relationship between politics and culture.

Ping Pong: Colombia – Australia Cultural Connections through Visual Arts

Ping Pong: Colombia – Australia Cultural Connections through Visual Arts

7-30 November at RMIT Design Hub

The Embassy of Colombia in Australia, Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV), and RMIT University are proud to present Ping Pong, a pioneering international cross-cultural visual arts project where visual artists in Colombia partner up with artists in Australia, China and India.

This project is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ “Plan de Promoción de Colombia en el Exterior”, which promotes the country overseas through its cultural expressions.

The Ambassador of Colombia in Australia, Mrs. Clemencia Forero, looks forward to this project that will lead to a cultural exchange between Colombia and Asia Pacific countries: “Projects like Ping Pong strengthen cultural bonds and raise awareness on drawing, one of the most outstanding expressions of Colombia’s current artistic scenario. We are very proud of presenting this project in Melbourne.”

Exhibition 7-30 Nov

Opening: Thursday 7 of November at 11.00 am. Everyone welcome but RSVP is essential to events@rmit.edu.au
Exhibition dates: Thursday 7 November – Saturday 30 November
Venue: RMIT Design Hub (Bldg 100), Design Research Institute Long Room, Level 9, Corner Swanston & Victoria St

Conference Colombia – Australia: Cultural Connections in the 21st Century.
Everyone welcome but RSVP is essential to events@rmit.edu.au
Date: Friday 8 November
Time: 9:30-4:00pm
Venue:RMIT Design Hub Level 3 (Bldg 100), Lecture Theatre

Presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia in partnership with RMIT University and Multicultural Arts Victoria. Supporters: Arts Victoria, City of Melbourne

Image: Jorge Julian Aristizabal, Bathos/Trivialidad 2013, image courtesy of the artist

Epistemologies of the South: South-South, South-North and North-South global learning

From the multilingual Boaventura de Sousa Santos comes news of an important upcoming event in southern thinking:

Call for papers

Epistemologies of the South: South-South, South-North and North-South global learning
Coimbra – 10, 11, 12 July 2014

A sense of exhaustion looms over Europe. It would appear that the old world is no longer capable of rethinking its past and future.

This colloquium challenges participants to consider that an understanding of the world is much broader than a Western understanding and that therefore the possibilities for social emancipation may be different from those legitimised by the Western canon. This is the essential challenge: we do not need alternatives, but an alternative way of thinking about alternatives.

Can the anti-imperialist South teach anything to the global North? Can the global North teach anything that is not defined by centuries of colonialism and neo-colonialism, imperialism and ethno-racial supremacy? Can both learn in such a way that one day there will be no South or North?

The answers to these questions will enable proposals for theory and action to be constructed which effectively confront the logic of global exploitation, oppression and exclusion

The colloquium is structured around the following four main themes,involving the participation of scholars and activists in the global North and South:

  • Democratising democracy
  • Transformative constitutionalism, interculturality and the reform of the state
  • Other economies
  • Human rights and other grammars of human dignity

Full version of the call for papers here

To submit a proposal, please follow this link

Also in Portuguese:

and Spanish:

Warning: Questions Ahead! Southern dialogues at the beginning of 2013

Southern dialogues are developing strongly at this moment in time, though only to highlight the significant challenges ahead.

The colloquium Diálogo Trans-Pacífico y Sur-Sur: Perspectivas Alternativas a la Cultura y Pensamiento Eurocéntrico y Noroccidental took place on 8-9 January, as part of the grand scale Congreso Interdisciplinario at University of Santiago, Chile. Latin America has been the home of particularly active southern thinking, inspired often by its indigenous cultures. The ‘south’ as a rallying call has been significant given the tangible counter-influence of the United States, to the immediate north.

The Santiago colloquium witnessed a change away from this previously combative north-south argument. The principal perspectives were from Chile, México and Argentina. Much discussion was given to the emerging relations with Asia, specifically China. Alongside this was the growing influence of Brazil across Latin America, reflected in the large number present for the parent congress. In the past, these south-south relations would have been flavoured by a solidarity against USA as the common hegemon. But now there is increasing recognition of a diversity of interests across the south, and the need to reflect this in a conversation which is not reduced to catching up with the North.

One tangible contribution of the colloquium was the title. The word ‘noroccidental’ literally means ‘north-western’. This refers more generally to Western culture in the North, rather than the top left corner of the globe. Such a term accepts that there is a Western culture in the South as well, particularly in countries like South Africa, Australia and Chile. But it differentiates itself from other northern countries, such as Russia and China.

Other emerging terms are ‘Euro-American’ and ‘trans-Atlantic’. The problem with these is that it uses the generic term to represent only one half—North America. ‘Euro-American’ does not include Latin America, nor does ‘trans-Atlantic’ feature exchanges with Africa. The challenge is to find an English equivalent of ‘noroccidental’. Would ‘north-Occidental’ do?

The plenary concluded with a call for a more global understanding of South, reflecting such developments as population flows through the North and the relational identity of North and South.

The challenge is to extend this dialogue beyond Latin America to engage with forums elsewhere in the South. There is much activity in South Africa at the moment around the book by Jean & John L. Comaroff, Theory from the South: Or, how Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa, including the recent critical responses in Johannesburg Salon. In Australia, there is continuing reference to Raewyn Connell’s Southern Theory, as well as Indigenous Studies broadly taking on global themes.

The relative lack of connection between these dialogues is, of course, reflective of the condition of the South itself, as a series of spokes connected with each other only via a central hub in the North. Language is an added challenge. The convenor of the Congreso Interdisciplinario Eduardo Devés has developed his own perspective on the Southern condition through ‘periphery theory’, outlined in his publication Pensamiento Periférico, which is freely available in Spanish. The potential reduction of South to the condition of periphery is an important challenge to the broader historical narratives that it carries. To what extent the issues normally identified with South be characterised by the condition of distance from the centre? Such a perspective puts the historical conditions such as settler-colonialism into question.

Though the distances between the southern countries themselves should be identical to those separating northern countries, the ‘hub & spokes’ model works in a very practical way to mitigate against south-south travel. Many academics from outside Chile had to cancel their involvement in the colloquium due to higher than expected air fares. This is obviously compounded by smaller travel budgets for academic staff in southern universities.

The view looking out of University of Santiago, flanked by Allende and Guevara

The view looking out of University of Santiago, flanked by Allende and Guevara

Nevertheless, the University of Santiago is taking a lead in fostering south-south dialogue. In late October 2013, they will initiate an annual forum/workshop to ‘go full circle’ on the Pacific, looking at how a trans-Pacific exchange might be configured to include Latin America. The Asia Pacific is usually conceived as a domain exclusive to Australasia, East Asia and North America. But as with the APEC forum, the south-east arc of Latin America should be an integral part of that. ‘Full circle’ provides a focus on the Pacific as a space for multilateral relations. What would be the intellectual underpinning of this?

The time seems ripe for a major conference on these various strands of southern thinking. Given its position, hosting an international conference would seem one tangible contribution that Australia could make to this emerging paradigm. Alternatively, if it were to be held in a northern university, this paradox of having to go North to talk about South would provide sufficient material for a conference in itself.

One question that tangibly brings the condition of southern thinking home concerns the north-south asymmetry of the academic world. In particular, if someone had the prospect of an academic position in Europe or North America, would there be any value in remaining in a less well-endowed southern university?

Meanwhile, while waiting for such an event to emerge, four Australian academics have generous offered a summary of their work accompanied by a generative question:

As the Zapatistas would say, inspired by Mayan mythology, ‘walking we ask questions’. Thankfully, the path stretches out ahead.