Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
Watch this space for information updates. 

DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



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Wednesday, November 30 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Stealing Across Borders :: 2A12

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Ben Stubbs: After Dark: An exploration of nocturnal travel writing

In 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that we are blind half our lives because of what we miss at night. If we writers, researchers and travellers are all blind half our lives because of what we miss during the night, what are the narratives and the perspectives on place that we’re missing out on?
      This paper will explore the history of nocturnal travel writing in Europe through the 18th and 19th Centuries, focusing on work by flâneurs, or “noctambulators” as Beaumont calls them, who walked their cities in darkness: from Dickens and his night walks in London (1861) through to Restif de la Brettone (1789) and Nerval who embraced the possibilities of caprice with his “extreme” nocturnal wandering in Paris (1852).
      The second part of this paper will look at nocturnal travel writing and the flâneur from a modern perspective. This will be an auto-analysis of my own work in After Dark: A nocturnal exploration of Madrid (2016) which seeks to capture the same perspective of the “amateur detective and investigator of the city” as inspired by Walter Benjamin, though in a contemporary, nocturnal setting. Beyond presenting a unique perspective of the “otherness” of the city at night, it is my hope that After Dark also challenges the stasis of many contemporary works of travel writing, by not becoming “a function of learned judgement” (1978, p.67) as Said cautioned against in Orientalism, rather a piece which has an identifiable creative and ethical core.

Raelke Grimmer: Writing in Changing Social Contexts: Creating the Genre of Language Journalism 

Language journalism is a genre of writing which has emerged out of creative nonfiction over the past few decades. While the usefulness of genre classification has been debated in literary studies, a linguistic perspective sees genre, and the social contexts genres exist within, as essential in text creation. This paper discusses how language journalism has emerged as a result of how writers have responded to the changing social context of the past half century. Noam Chomsky and his influence in the field of linguistics and the status of English as a global language are used to illustrate the social contexts from which language journalism has emerged due to the ways writers have responded to these changing circumstances. 

Jennifer Anderson: The Art of Travel

'The Art of Travel' is an extract from a chapter of the same name in Permission to Speak: An Australian Student in China, 1979-1983, a memoir that explores the continuing process of personal transformation sparked by living among Chinese people and students from different countries in early post-Mao China. As she studies modern Chinese literature at Nanjing University, the narrator acquires a growing appreciation for Chinese poetics, inflected with a western Anglophone feminist sensibility and further re-shaped by limited Chinese linguistic and cultural proficiency. ‘The Art of Travel’ is a transcultural rumination on the purpose and aesthetics of travel, and on different ways of seeing. It identifies travel as the juxtaposition of moments of intense realization and discovery with those of extreme tedium, irritation and incomprehensibility. It explores the workings of resonance as a Sinophone sensibility in an Anglophone memoir genre.

Kathryn Hummel: Suite from The Bangalore Set: the poetry of ethnographic collaboration
This suite of poems from The Bangalore Set chapbook engages with the fields of postcolonial ethnography and arts-based inquiry. The result of a creative collaboration between Australian writer/ethnographer Kathryn Hummel and a diverse range of people she encountered while in residence in Bangalore, India, in 2015, the compositional process behind the poems suggest how arts-based methods can effect balance between the traditional roles of those involved in ethnographic studies—that is, between Researcher and Researched. Presented chronologically, the poems track Hummel’s progression from an outside observer to participant to interpreter of others’ views of the city, demonstrating how creative collaboration might shift ethnography away from its divisive colonial origins towards a practice more suited to contemporary postcolonial contexts.

avatar for Patrick Mullins

Patrick Mullins

University of Canberra
Patrick Mullins is a lecturer in journalism at the University of Canberra, from where he obtained his PhD in 2014. He was the Donald Horne Creative and Cultural Fellow in 2015, a research fellow at the Australian Prime Ministers Centre at the Museum of Australian Democracy (2015-16... Read More →


Jennifer Anderson

Monash University
Jennifer Anderson is an academic language and learning adviser, and has studied and worked in China, Cambodia and Vietnam. Her memoir Permission to Speak: An Australian Student in China 1979-1983 is being completed as part of a PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University, Melbourne... Read More →
avatar for Raelke Grimmer

Raelke Grimmer

Creative Writing PhD Candidate, Flinders University
Raelke Grimmer is a creative writing PhD candidate at Flinders University. She is researching language journalism as a genre and writing about Australia’s monolingualism and multiculturalism. Raelke holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Adelaide. For her MA dissertation... Read More →
avatar for Kathryn Hummel

Kathryn Hummel

As a Social Sciences researcher, Dr Hummel investigates narrative ethnography and arts-based inquiry, with a focus on South Asia; as a writer, Kathryn’s work includes Poems from Here and The Bangalore Set. Her award-winning new media/poetry, non-fiction, fiction, photography and... Read More →
avatar for Ben Stubbs

Ben Stubbs

Lecturer, University of South Australia
Dr Ben Stubbs is a travel writer and travel writing scholar who investigates the plurality of the form: in particular Ben’s focus is on modern ethical considerations, extending the “learned judgements” in the field to explore how it can advance understanding of culture and place... Read More →

Wednesday November 30, 2016 9:00am - 10:30am PST
2A12 Building 2, UC

Attendees (6)