bushfires

Keynote Address: Bruce Pascoe

BRUCE PASCOE In this keynote address, we join indigenous writer, historian and agriculturalist Bruce Pascoe on his farm on the South East coast of Australia. Bruce employs the theme of Caring to speak to a range of topics close to his heart. While walking on Country with him, we are taken to a ceremonial site on his land that illustrates the importance of cultural heritage, reconciliation, and language to contemporary farming practices in Australia. We visit a forest landscape devastated by the ‘superfires’ experienced over Australia’s 2019/2020 summer, where we learn of the importance of indigenous approaches to land management and controlled burning. Introducing us to some of the nutritious plants and vegetables that indigenous people cultivated in pre-colonial Australia, Bruce talks us through his farming team’s current experiments and future plans to develop indigenous agriculture on a commercial scale on the farm, and he foregrounds the importance of training a new generation of indigenous farmers, chefs, botanists,...

Scaling through Meaning to Action: What the Australian Bushfires Taught Me about Ethnography

CHARLIE COCHRANE Jump the Fence PechaKucha Presentation—This PechaKucha gives a personal perspective on the ethical dilemmas around the impact of an individual's actions, and the meaning of an ethnographer's projects in the context of the scale where these play out. The story begins with the spectacle of the 2020 Australian bushfires and reflects on their enormous scale. Within this context what is the meaning of individual actions to limit global warming? The story shifts to the work context and explores the dichotomy of human impacts vs. the marketing metrics that typically measure success. Using an example of a research project with an overtly purposeful aim we explore the tension between ethnography as a tool for understanding the problem and the question of whether the scaled result truly addresses the end-users’ problem. Returning to the bushfires, we again look at the scaled government response and the question of how successfully this met the needs of those impacted. We explore the...