UOW to hold the first symposium on Mobility Justice

UOW to hold the first symposium on Mobility Justice

Speakers to discuss ongoing impact of COVID-19 changes in personal and societal mobility

As borders closed and flights were cancelled, the worldwide hiatus in mobility brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption, leading to unemployment, supply chain shortages, social isolation, interruptions to business operations and economic downturns.

On 13 and 14 June, the University of Wollongong (UOW), the Geographical Society of New South Wales (GSNSW) in collaboration with the Australian Mobilities Research Network (AusMob), and the Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS) will host the Mobility Justice Symposium 2022,  reflecting on the remarkable impact the pandemic is having on personal, social and professional lives.

Convenor of the symposium Dr Theresa Harada, Associate Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS) and UOW School of Geography and Sustainable Communities said the symposium will address some of the enormous societal changes that have arisen out of the pandemic.

“The pandemic, while catastrophic, has provided an opportunity to reflect on the importance of freedom of movement for everyday life and what this means in a world of overlapping crises.”

“From remote working to home deliveries, decreased use of public transport and pop-up cycling lanes - adapted practices have brought to light the hidden aspects of mobility justice.”

“Essential workers and those in precarious employment, were exposed to higher levels of risk from COVID-19 because they did not have the option to work from home.”

“People with disabilities face mobility injustices in their everyday lives because of infrastructural and social barriers that prevent them from moving freely through many public and private spaces.”

Keynote presentations include Carol Farbotko, ARC Future Fellow University of Melbourne speaking on the COVID-free islands of Tuvalu and Mimi Sheller, Dean of The Global School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts discussing planetary mobility justice.

In late May 2022, the Pacific Islands of Tuvalu recorded its first-ever case of COVID-19, following over two years of extensive border closures and strict quarantine measures. Dr Farbotko’s presentation will explore some of the pandemic mobilities and immobilities of Tuvaluan people, including urban-rural migration and experiences of Tuvaluan migrant workers in Australia. Considering Tuvalu’s pandemic immobilities in relation to the risk of uninhabitability posed by climate change to Tuvalu, the presentation explores mobility justice as a cultural, temporal and geographical issue. 

Professor Sheller’s keynote will investigate how the world might recover habitability while on the threshold of ecological limits, in the aftermath of pandemic related mobility and economic disruption. Can we create more equitable forms of dwelling and moving in the legacies of racial, climate and mobility injustice? How can post-pandemic policy and planning for decarbonisation create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world in the face of a changing climate?

Over the two-day symposium, leading and emerging academics in the field of mobilities research will discuss perspectives on mobility and transport challenges in global cities, the intersection of climate change and human movement; the ongoing effects of border closures; physical and economic accessibility of transport; and the tourism, educational, social and geopolitical implications of mobility.

Attendees will have an opportunity to present their research, workshop ideas with fellow researchers, receive mentorship, and participate in several ‘infra-labs’ on site.

The Mobility Symposium demonstrates UOWs commitment to the UN Global Sustainability goals 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 13 (Climate Action).


Event details

Dates: 13-14 June 2022

Venue: The University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong, NSW 2522

Bookings: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/mobility-justice-symposium-2022-tickets-273965065887