“Regions, Humanities, Wellbeing: The Relationship Between Humanities and Communities in the Regions” Symposium


Date & time

Thu 18 Jul 2024, 9am – Fri 19 Jul 2024, 3pm


Cairns Institute, James Cook University

The humanities are in a state of transition, and it’s more important than ever that humanities scholarship and education demonstrate impact and relevance. Regional universities provide unique opportunities and challenges for connecting with community, generating grassroots solutions, and exploring partnerships and regionally driven approaches and collaborations. In this symposium we gather scholars, educators, writers, and university and community leaders to explore the capacity of regional collaborations in the arts and humanities, and to focus on how regional approaches to scholarship might be distinct. What are the regional humanities, and how can they make themselves newly relevant and responsive to their communities in the 21st century?

Being in held in Cairns, Australia, a week before the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (25-28 July), this symposium brings together literary scholars, creative practitioners, and humanities scholars who will reflect on what is distinctive about humanities in regional Australia, and how humanities can contribute to the wellbeing of the region.

This event is convened by Associate Professor Victoria Kuttainen (JCU) and Professor Kylie Message-Jones (ANU).

Supported by the Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes (CHCI), the ANU Humanities Research Centre, the Roderick Centre for Australian Literature and Creative Writing at JCU, and the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Researchers and Centres (ACHRC).

Wednesday 17 July
Throughout Wednesday - Participants arriving in Cairns.

5:30pm, JCU Cairns, City Campus
Pre-Symposium Regional Stakeholders’ Meeting
With thanks to chair: Assoc. Prof. Lisa Law.

Day 1: Thursday 18 July

Attendees make way to symposium venue.

9:00 - 9:25am, Cairns Institute
Registrations at the Cairns Institute, Building D3, JCU Cairns, Smithfield campus

9:30 - 9:50am, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 1 -  Opening
Assoc. Prof. Victoria Kuttainen (JCU) and Prof. Kylie Message-Jones (ANU)
Acknowledgement of Country
Program introduction, rationale and overview

9:50 - 10:40am, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 2 – Bridging Interdisciplinarity and Borders: The Role of an Academic Humanities Center
Prof. Javier Duran, Director, Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry Tucson, University of Arizona
Chair: Dr Victoria Kuttainen (JCU)
Presented via Zoom. Password: 497634

10:45 - 11:45am, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 3 – Panel: Community Arts – Not a Luxury (especially in the regions)
Chair: Dr Tully Barnett (Flinders)
Dr Holly Arden, Townsville Galleries Director
Dr Tony Castles, Regional Manager, Regional Arts Services Network Cairns
Dr Simon Spain, Chair of Regional Arts Australia and Director Tasmania?
Regional arts practitioners Victoria Ryle and JCU Adjunct Assoc. Prof. Robyn Glade Wright
Session presented in person and by Zoom. (Password: 563977)

11:45am - 12:15pm, Lunch Break

12:15 - 1:40pm, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 4  - Writing the regions
Chair: Dr Nicole Crowe (JCU)
12:15 – 12:30, Dr Threasa Meads (Federation) Fostering Creative Ecologies for Students and Community
12:30 – 12:45, Dr Elizabeth Smyth (JCU) JCU connects with Cairns Tropical Writers Festival 2024
12:45 – 1:00, Dr Adelle Sefton-Rowston (CDU) Supporting Community Initiatives: Prison Writing
1:00 – 1:15, Yvette Holt Supporting Regional First Nations Writers through FNAWN
1:15 – 1:40, Discussion
This session will be recorded.

1:45 - 2:45pm, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 5 - Spotlight Session: Transdisciplinary futures and the place of the regions
Chair: Dr Victoria Kuttainen (JCU)
Prof. Jo Winning (Monash)
Transdisciplinary futures: working creatively in the 21st C university for cross-unit collaborations.
Presentation followed by moderated Q&A and open questions
This session will be recorded.

2:45 - 3:30pm, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 6 – Roundtable: Critical regionalism and literary studies
Chair: Assoc. Prof. Roger Osborne (JCU)
Assoc. Prof. Julieanne Lamond (ANU)
Dr Brigid Magner (RMIT) via Zoom
Prof. Emily Potter (Deakin) via Zoom
Session presented in person and by Zoom. (Password: 619882)

4:00 - 5:00pm, Cairns Institute Lobby
Roderick Centre Launch Celebration
Welcome to Country - Aunty Jeanette Singleton
Welcome from the Director
RCALC Vision -  Dr Victoria Kuttainen and Assoc. Prof. Roger Osborne
Poetry Reading – Yvette Holt (Chair of First Nations Australia Writers Network, FNAWN), reading from new poetry collection Fitzroy North
Deadly Poets Project – Vicki Saunders, Research fellow, Jawun Research Centre (formerly the Centre for Indigenous Health Equity) CQU
Paul Hardisty Reading/Launch of In Hot Water: The Battle for the Great Barrier Reef (Affirm, 2024)

6:30pm Vivo, Palm Cove
Symposium Dinner - optional
Venue: Vivo, Palm Cove 49 Williams Esplanade
(Pre-booked. Outdoor large table, adjacent to hotel Mantra Amphora)
Participants to pay for themselves

Day 2: Friday 19 July

6:30am, Palm Beach
Optional Beachwalk at Palm Beach
Meet in Front of Vivo for prompt 6:30am departure.

9:00 - 9:40am, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 7 - Spotlight Session
Valuing Cultural Infrastructure and the Regions
Prof. Kylie Message-Jones (ANU)

9:40 - 11:05am, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 8 - Humanities in the Regions Post the Universities Accord: The State of the Sector
Chair: Assoc. Prof. Roger Osborne (JCU)
9:40 - 9:55, Dr Victoria Kuttainen (CQU)
9:55 - 10:05, Dr Erika Kerruish and Dr Mandy Hughes (SCU)
10:05 - 10:20, Dr Jessica White (Uni SA)
10:20 - 10:35, Dr Wayne Bradshaw and Jade Croft (JCU)
10:35 - 10:50, Dr Tully Barnett and Prof. Robert Phiddian (Flinders)
10:50 - 11:05, Dr Adelle Sefton-Rowston (CDU)

11:05 - 11:15am, Coffee Break, biscuits and fruit

11:15 - 12:00pm, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 9 – Keynote
Final reflections and ways forward for creative and critical regionalism

Chair: Prof. Kylie Message-Jones (ANU)
Prof. Alistair Noble (UNE)
30 min presentation followed by open discussion.
This session will be recorded.

12:00 - 12:30pm, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 10 - Further Reflections: Next Steps toward Community Impact
Prof. Kylie Message-Jones (ANU) and Assoc. Prof. Victoria Kuttainen (JCU)

Working Lunch

12:45 - 2:45pm, Cairns Institute Boardroom
Session 11 - Breakout Working Groups
Chairs: Prof. Kylie Message-Jones (ANU) and Assoc. Prof. Victoria Kuttainen (JCU))
Humanities in the Regions group and Critical Regionalism group will hold separate workshops in this final session to reflect within their communities of practice on the previous program and their ongoing work.

3:00pm, Program concludes. All participants depart.

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Updated:  16 July 2024/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications