UOW Hosts First Mobility Justice Symposium

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The University of Wollongong is hosting a number of speakers who will discuss the continued impact of Covid-19 and how personal and societal mobility has been altered as a result.

The seminar, titled Mobility Justice Symposium 2022, is organized by the UOW in collaboration with the Geographical Society of New South Wales (GSNSW) in collaboration with the Australian Mobilities Research Network (AusMob) and the Australian Center for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS). He will reflect on the impact of the pandemic on personal, social and professional life.

ACCESS Associate Researcher Theresa Harada is the symposium leader.

“The pandemic, although catastrophic, has been an opportunity to reflect on the importance of freedom of movement for everyday life and what it means in a world of overlapping crises,” she says.

“From remote working to home deliveries, to decreasing the use of public transport and ephemeral cycle lanes, adaptive practices have brought to light the hidden aspects of mobility justice. Essential workers and those in precarious employment were at higher levels of risk from COVID-19 because they did not have the option of working from home.

“Persons with disabilities face mobility inequities in their daily lives due to infrastructural and social barriers that prevent them from moving freely in 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 the justice of planetary mobility.

Following Tuvalu’s first case of covid in May 2022, Farbotko’s presentation will explore some of the pandemic mobilities and immobility of Tuvaluans, including urban-rural migration and the experiences of Tuvaluan migrant workers in Australia. The pandemic immobility and climate change issues facing Tuvalu will be explored, as will the justice of mobility as a cultural, temporal and geographic issue.

Sheller’s keynote explores how the world could regain its habitability at ecological limits, following pandemic-related mobility and economic disruption. The Dean of Worcester Polytechnic will examine how society can create more equitable forms of housing and travel in the legacy of various injustices, and how post-pandemic politics and decarbonization planning create a more fair, equitable and sustainable in the face of climate change.

Other topics such as the challenges of mobility and transport in global cities, the intersection of climate change and human movements; the continued effects of border closures; the physical and economic accessibility of transport; and the tourism, educational, social and geopolitical implications of mobility will also be addressed.

The Symposium is currently underway. For more information, Click here.

Image: NSW Government

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