Call for Papers

Date: 22nd – 23rd June, 2023

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City campus (Building 1- Peter Shergold Building - next to Parramatta Station), Dharug Country

Sponsor: Geographical Society of New South Wales

Abstracts due: Tuesday 28th March 2023

Care involves "everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our world so that we can live in it as well as possible" (Fisher & Tronto 1990: 40). Care infrastructures pattern the organization of care within society (Power & Mee 2019). They are the “more or less embedded ‘tracks’ on which care may run, shaping and being shaped by actors along the way” (Danholt and Langstrup 2012: 515). Things become care infrastructures as they are enrolled into or intervene within practices of care, becoming foundations that give shape to how care is practiced.

Care and how it is configured in places at a range of scales is rapidly changing.  Challenges such as COVID-19 and extreme weather-related events such as bushfires and floods have led to changes in how care is provided, sometimes temporarily and in other cases in ongoing ways.  Economic circumstances are challenging long established care infrastructures, with the rising costs of essential goods and services such as food, electricity, housing and health care putting pressure on household budgets and increasing demand for services such as Food Banks to provide alternative forms of care.  Government policies are also crucial in how care is provided and what types of care diverse people can access.  Recent statements from the Federal government indicate that changes to funding mechanisms for care infrastructures that support vulnerable households are being planned.

In this symposium we will explore the range of care infrastructures that facilitate care in places including inner cities, suburbs, towns, rural areas and remote communities. The symposium invites contributors to explore care infrastructures at multiple scales, from the neighbourhood 'friendly fridge' to city wide food banks, from libraries to housing cooperatives, from informal mutual aid associations to established welfare organisations, from established groups that provide care such as the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre or the Country Women’s Association to those who respond to crisis situations such as the State Emergency Service and the Rural Fire Service.

The symposium will lead to a Special Issue in Australian Geographer.

The symposium will have a mixed format, including:

  1. Papers from invited speakers: Dr Chantel Carr, Dr Lara Daley, Dr Kathleen Flanagan, Dr Catherine Phillips, Dr Lisa Stafford and Dr Ellen van Holstein;
  2. General papers (please submit your abstract!);
  3. A reflective fieldtrip exploring urban care infrastructures.

The symposium will be an in-person event at Parramatta City campus, and attendees are requested to please attend for the two days to allow engagement with the full set of papers and continuity of discussion and ideas. There is no cost to attend the symposium.

Organisers: A/ Prof Kathy Mee, Dr Emma Mitchell, A/Prof Emma Power, A/Prof Ilan Wiesel, Dr Miriam Williams.

Please submit a 250 word abstract to Associate Professor Emma Power ( and Dr Emma Mitchell ( by COB Tuesday 14th March.

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