Session: Culture, Sustainability and Cities

Cultural Sustainability Stream


Day 3, Parallel Session 3B: 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16) – Lower Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Room 1

Chair: John Smithies (Cultural Development Network)


Alexander Monreal The (Im)mobile Life of Mundane Technologies and the City

  • Presenter and main author: Alexander Monreal (University of Newcastle, United Kingdom)
  • Abstract: Reducing the movement of both people and objects is increasingly seen as a key part of creating sustainable cities in the future. Yet these aims will be difficult to achieve without understanding the complex and dynamic interconnections and interdependencies between small, mundane technologies which constitute part of larger systems and practices that generate these mobilities. Mundane technologies and their use in practice are, arguably, the building blocks of urban infrastructures and sustain the reproduction of social systems that can be more or less sustainable and more or less mobile. This presentation will present an innovative methodology and findings from empirical research conducted in the United Kingdom which looked at one set of small, mundane technologies – food and drink packaging. Following food and drink packaging, and innovative food and drink packaging in particular, through its various urban contexts enables us to understand how these technologies interact, underpin, sustain and shape the flows and immobilities of food and drink into the city which in turn shape and sustain the tempos and metabolisms of daily urban life. Gaining insights on these complex processes may help formulate future innovation and sustainable urban development policies.
  • About the presenter: Alexander (Cary) Monreal is currently a PhD researcher based at Newcastle University, England. He is in his final year writing up a study of the “Mobile life of food and drink packaging” which is associated with an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project entitled “Technologies and Travel”. Cary’s research aims to highlight the various ways in which food packaging, which ultimately become (im)mobile problems as waste products, nevertheless interact with and shape the everyday mobilities of people, of food, of pathogens and chemicals, capital and so on. 
Shanene Ditton Whose Place? Sustaining Cultural Conversations

  • Presenter and main author: Shanene Ditton (Griffith University)
  • Abstract: The notion of place is integral to any understanding of cultural sustainability. Present and future places are the product of the political negotiations of past places. How we recreate and represent the history and the stories of a place impacts the individual and collective cultural identities associated with that place; these representations determine who belongs or who doesn’t belong. When planning for the sustainment of cultures, we need to draw on our ethical responsibility to ensure that everybody and every culture enjoys the right to a sense of belonging. To do this, we must turn to questions such as, whose story is primarily being represented through the identity of a particular place? Or, whose place is being replaced and reimagined without acknowledgement or permission?  And how will these communities and individuals, whose stories are not amplified, become sustainable? To respond to some of these questions, this presentation presents an analysis of placemaking on the Gold Coast. It sketches insights from cultural practitioners, industry leaders, cultural workers and community to expose heterogeneous Gold Coasts wrestling with the one identity. Most notably, it documents the emergence of a cultural voice that is developing via artist-run spaces involving joint collaborations between the academy and the community. By adopting transdisciplinarity alongside an historical approach to conversation, this presentation will suggest some alternative ways forward for policy which point towards fostering and sustaining culture, rather than just reproducing more of the same.
  • About the presenter: Shanene Ditton is a PhD student in the School of Humanities and Griffith Centre for Cultural Research at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. Shanene’s thesis analyses how the commodification of the city impacts cultural production on the Gold Coast. Her research highlights some of the cultural politics involved in processes of placemaking, and it also points to the emergence of a collective cultural voice that promises to disrupt current notions of the city. Shanene also lectures and tutors at Griffith University and QIBT. Shanene is board member of rabbit+cocoon creative precinct, and project leader of the Sold Coast Project.