22-23- Nov 2018
Venue: TBA

Alternative Futures and Regional Prospects Symposium Working across Differences, beyond Carbon, Capital and Commodity

22-23- Nov 2018; Venue: TBA

Full Symposium Program and Abstracts (TBA)

Organizers: The University of Newcastle, University of Technology Sydney, Common Alternatives Network

A two-day symposium including roundtable discussions, to cross-fertilize between several game-changing communal responses, pioneering workable policy agendas and ‘real utopian’ visions in the current era of economic uncertainties

The post-mining boom era has already started, and it has posed serious challenges to the Australian economy in general and to the Hunter region communities in particular. Among the most important challenges commonly acknowledged by the entrepreneurs, small business owners and workers in the region are: prospects of rising under/un- employment especially among the youth, environmental degradations, unconstructive competitions (between sectors like farming, wine production, tourism and mining), wage stagnation, decline in property investment and water management issues. New insights and leadership are needed for a future after coal. Prospective trajectories of change in future should be predicted. Alternatives and solutions to such challenges, instead of short-term remedies, need to be envisioned by drawing on careful analysis of the roots of today’s challenges and changes. Many lessens can be learnt from projects and experiences that have already gained momentum in other places across the world.

Alternative Futures Project through its first national Symposium aims to create a collaborative dialogue between the academics and potential local/national industrial/communal partners. At the end of each day, there will be a discussion roundtable run by designated discussants (see the tables below for more details). The event and further online communications will be used to disseminate the outcomes of studies, explore all the potentials for research collaboration, enhance a focused discussion of the participants’ views and research outcomes, and to strategize for successful linkage grant applications.

Each session will start with plenary presentations of academic views on post-GFC and Post Coal/Carbon Futures and the policy implications for regional city centers in NSW, particularly the Hunter Valley followed by a discussion involving delegates from key community organizations and enterprises, to benefit from the experiences/inputs/feedback of a representative cohort of local community organizers, social activists, policy advisors, advocates and analysts from the national and regional civil society sector.

Symposium Draft Program (in progress):

Day 1 – Thursday, 22 Nov 2018

 Start End Sessions
9:00 9:30 Arrival Tea and Coffee
9.30  9:45 Welcome and Introduction
9:45 11:00 Plenary Session I: Towards Post-Capital Futures and the Incorporation of Southern Perspectives/Experiences

1) Professor Emerita Raewyn Connell: In Our Time: From Southern Neoliberalism to Cooperative Futures

2) Dr Michelle Maloney (Director of Earth Laws and New Economy)

Q & A and a discussion of the policy implications

11.00 11:30 Morning Tea
 11:30 13:00 Panel I: Political Utopianism, Community Economy, and Eco-Socialism in 21st Century

1) Professor Verity Burgmann: Ecotopianism and the Future of Labour in 21st Century

2) Associate Professor Hans Baer: Toward Democratic Eco-socialism in Australia: Systemic-Challenging Transitions Steps

3) Dr Stephen Healy: Community Economy: Experiences, Potentials and Challenges in 21 Australia

 Discussion forum chaired by: Associate Professor Goodman

13:00 14:00 Lunch
 14:00 15:00  Panel II: Post-Keynesianism and Circular Economy

1) Professor Martin Watts and Dr James Juniper: The Triple Crisis: A Modern Monetary Theory Response

2) Mr. Steven Liaros: Regenerative Development in the Hunter: Building Circular Economy Innovation Hubs

Discussion forum chaired by: Professor Frank Stilwell

15:00 15:30 Afternoon Tea
15:30 16:30 Panel III: Post-Consumerism and Post-Capitalism

1)  Professor Richard Denniss: Curing Affluenza through Vibrant Communities and Rich Experiences

2) Dr Jim Stanford: Does Post-Capitalism Lurk Within the Corporation? Rethinking the Corporate Form

Discussion forum chaired by: Professor Roger Markwick

16:30 17:30 Roundtable Discussion: Reflections and Challenges

Discussion drawing together themes and challenges arising from Day 1

Key Participants: Professor Frank Stilwell and Ms. Miriam Lyons (from GetUp)

19:00 Symposium Dinner (TBA)

   Day 2 – Friday, 23 Nov. 2018

Start End Item
9:00 9:30 Tea and Coffee
 9:30 11.00  Panel III: Post-Patriarchal Southern Perspectives and Eco-Feminism

1)  Dr Sara Motta: The Ecology of Knowledges, New Forms of Feminized Resistances and their Role in the (Re)creation of Emancipatory Political Subjectivities in Latin America

2)  Associate Professor Ariel Salleh: Eco-Feminism as Politics and the Fallacies of Green Economy

Discussion forum chaired by: Dr Caroline Veldhuizen (from Tom Farrell Institute)

11:00 11:30  Morning Tea
11:30 13:00 Panel IV: Economic Democracy and Eco-Social Commons

1) Associate Professor James Goodman and Associate Professor Stuart Rosewarne: Climate Transition, Municipalization of Energy: Towards 100% Socialized Community Energy in Hunter Region;

2) Dr S A Hamed Hosseini: Future of Capital and its Democratic Alternatives

Discussion forum chaired by: A/Prof. Nancy Cushing (Radical Newcastle)

13:00 14:00 Lunch




Alternative Commons – Co-operative solutions to work, energy, housing and care.

This panel brings together a group of people who have experience in designing, analysing and implementing co-operative solutions to our most pressing everyday needs – work, energy, housing and care. The panel members will introduce four case studies that demonstrate how the co-operative model is being used in the most innovative and practical ways to solve these problems at a grass roots level (for more details, please see the full symposium Program):

Case Study 1: Professor Bronwen Morgan (UNSW Law) and Dr Joanne McNeill (UWS) will look at examples of digital platform co-ops that bring job security to those that are engaged in precarious work.

Case Study 2: Dr Jarra Hicks (Co-Founder and Director of Community Power Agency) will discuss the work of the Community Power Agency is helping to support and build the capacity of community energy co-operatives.

Case Study 3: James Brown (CEO, Common Equity NSW) will discuss how Common Equity, the peak body of Co-operative Housing, NSW has enabled a Filipino community to set up a housing co-operative in Western Sydney.

Case Study 4: Robyn Kaczmarek (Founder and Managing Director, The Co-operative Life), will tell her story about how Australia’s first worker-owned cooperative delivers quality social care services and offers care workers a better deal.

After their introductory sessions, the panel members will participate in both facilitated and open discussion to answer questions about opportunities and barriers and the potential to replicate these co-operative solutions in regional and urban Australian communities. The panel has been organised by Ann Apps (Newcastle Law School) and Dr Sidsel Grimstad (Newcastle Business School) who will provide a brief introduction to the session, linking it to the conference themes and will facilitate the general discussion at the end of the individual presentations.

15:30 16:00 Afternoon Tea




Closing Discussion: Reflections, Challenges, Avenues for Collaborative Research and Actions

Roundtable Discussion hosted by: Dr S A Hamed Hossein, Prof Verity Burgmann and A/Prof James Goodman

  17:00 Symposium Ends

For more information please contact:

Dr. S. A. Hamed Hosseini F.
School of Humanities and Social Sciences,
The University of Newcastle,
Callaghan, NSW, 2308
Phone: +61 2 4921 5878
fax: +61  2 4921 6933
Email: hamed.hosseini@newcastle.edu.au

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