On Friday 24 March artists, scientists, writers and scholars met to explore the idea of ‘Localising the Anthropocene.’ How do we take a broad, abstract term and make it grounded? What does it feel like to live in times of rapid environmental change? What does the Anthropocene mean for different people and in different places?

We are drawn to an object

We are drawn to an object

In the morning we discussed the aims of the ARC funded project led by researchers and curators from the National Museum of Australia, the Sydney Environment Institute (University of Sydney), and the Australian National University (including two members of the Centre for Environmental History: Libby Robin and Cameron  Muir). We looked at a draft version of an online gallery that is part of the project. It will feature stories that use objects as a prompt to talk about people’s relationships with their local environment and how they feel about the future. Our book project is another means of inviting collaborations, exploring the ideas that shape the project, and for reflecting on what we have discovered.

Crayweed dress-up!

Crayweed dress-up!

The rest of the day was dedicated to sharing Anthropocene object stories among our group of thirty or so participants. It was run the in the spirit of a poetry slam with each presenter pitching their object in a few minutes. The eclectic collection of objects included a coal briquette, coral cores, stygofauna, crayweed artworks, an albatross egg, a brine shrimp layer, Brent oil field rigs, a chainsaw and thongs.




Jilda Andrews, National Museum of Australia

Caitilin de Berigny, University of Sydney

Paul Donnelly, University of Sydney

Ann Elias, Sydney College of the Arts

David Farrier, University of Edinburgh

Renata Ferrari Legorreta, University of Sydney

Will Figueira, University of Sydney

Luke Fischer, University of Sydney

Laura Fisher, Sydney College of the Arts

Prudence Gibson, University of NSW

Jennifer Mae Hamilton, University of Sydney

Leah Lui-Chivizhe, University of NSW

George Main, National Museum of Australia

Iain McCalman, University of Sydney

Marie McKenzie, University of Sydney

Kelly Mitchell, Extrablack

Cat Moir, University of Sydney

Cameron Muir, University of Sydney

Astrid Neimanis, University of Sydney

Jenny Newell, Australian Museum

Emily O’Gorman, Macquarie University

Jude Philp, University of Sydney

Libby Robin, Australian National University

Martha Sear, National Museum of Australia

Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford, Turpin + Crawford Studio

Thom van Dooren, University of NSW

Adriana Verges, University of NSW

Jody Webster, University of Sydney

Josh Wodak, University of NSW

Charlotte Wood, University of Sydney