written by Zahra Mohamed-Saleh


Monsoon [+Other] Waters is the second in a series of symposia convened by the Monsoon Assemblages project. It will comprise inter-disciplinary panels, key-note addresses and an exhibition. It will bring together established and young scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, knowledge systems and practices to engage in conversations about the ontologies, epistemologies, histories, politics, practices and spatialities of monsoon waters.

Confirmed key note speakers at the symposium are:

Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha: landscape architects based in Philadelphia, USA and Bangalore, India, whose work is focused on how water is conceptualised and visualised in ways that lead to conditions of its excess and scarcity, and the opportunities that its ubiquity offers for new visualizations of terrain and resilience through design.

Kirsten Blinkenberg Hastrup: environmental anthropologist based in Copenhagen, Denmark, whose work deals with social responses to climate change across the globe, currently centered in the Thule Area, NW Greenland.

When: 12th and 13th April 2018

Where: Room 416, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS

Event Programme

Thursday 12 April

13:30  | Registration

13:45  | Welcome: Harry Charrington

14:00 – 15:45 | Panel 1: Sub-merged Imaginaries

  • Ifor Duncan, University of London: Fluvial Visions
  • Pamila Gupta, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa: Ways of Seeing Water
  • Laura Denning, Bath Spa University: Rhyne and Huish
  • Jesse Ransley, University of Southampton: Living by, in and on water: Watery Assemblages in the Keralan Backwaters

15:45  | Tea

16:15 – 17:30 | Panel 2: Liquid Matters

  • Megnaa Mehtaa, London School of Economics: Ethical imaginations of the monsoons: The sweet and the salty of the Sundarbans delta of West Bengal
  • Pedro Pombo, IIT Gandhinagar: Soaking cartographies: of water and materiality
  • Pushpa Arabindoo, University College London: Chennai’s Hydropolitics [and the urgent need for a seasonal (re)imaginary]

18.00 | Keynote 1: Anuradha Mathur, University of Pennsylvania + Dilip da Cunha, Columbia University

Friday 13 April

09.45 | Registration

10.00 | Welcome + Introduction: Lindsay Bremner

10.15 – 12:00 | Panel 3: Overflow + Risk

  • Theresa Zimmermann,  Free University of Berlin, Germany: Exceeding the imaginable
  • Avantika Bhaksar + Jayshree Vencatesan, Care Earth Trust, India: Catching it where it Falls: Water Management Challenges in a Drought Prone District of Southern India
  • David Wallace Mathewson, University of Westminster: Historic institutionalism and urban morphology in Jakarta: Moving towards building flood resiliency into formal planning and development
  • Laura Verdelli, University of Tours, France: Integrating Flood risk in Urban and Architectural Projects

12.00 | Keynote 2: Kirsten Hastrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark: Water Literacy: Challenges of Living with Troubled Waters

13.30 | Lunch

14:30 – 16:15 | Panel 4: Instrumentalising Material Waters

  • Matthaus Rest, Max Planck Institute, Germany: Nepalko pani janatako lagani: Nepal’s Water for Nepal’s People?
  • David Whyte, University College London: Surfing out of the Atmosphere: Lamenting the loss of saltwater in Man-made wave pools
  • Anthony Acciavatti, Columbia University, USA: Ganges Water Machine: Changes of State Across the Ganga Basin
  • Ranee Vedamuthu1 + R.H. Rukkumany, Anna University, India: Storing Monsoon waters: The Tank systems of Tamilnadu

16:15 | Tea

16.45 – 18.00 | Panel 5: Registers + interlocutors

  • Mary Geary, University of Brighton: Chronos and Kairos: Time, water, memory and the wayfaring riverbank
  • Olusegun Stephen Titus, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria: Oil Exploration and Sea Degradation: A Musical Narrative from Niger Delta Region of Nigeria     
  • Beth Cullen, University of Westminster: Eris as monsoon infrastructure: a re-reading of Chennai’s rainwater tanks

18:00 | Closing remarks: Exhibition + Drinks

Click here to book your free ticket on Eventbrite

Beyond the Anthropo—Scenes, Mediums, Apparatuses and Environments

Event date: Friday 19 May 2017

Location: The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 2 Hope Park Square, EH8 9NW, Edinburgh, UK

a Susan Manning IASH Workshop

Bringing together scholars from theatre and performance studies, philosophy, media studies, religion and geography, the workshop aims to critically explore notions of mediality, ethics, and performance in a world irrevocably altered by the events of 2016—carbon dioxide threshold reached, the US presidential election, and the Dakota Access protests, to name a few.
The multiple threats of anthropogenic action and inaction call into question notions of efficacy in relation to the role of scholars as advocates and eco-critics. The workshop aims to address issues relating to human and non-human agency, in a climate of what American journalists call ‘post-truth’—i.e. an electorate that seemingly based their votes on sentimentality and persuasion instead of facts, especially ‘expert knowledge’. The main focus of the workshop, thus, will be on mediality and agency, and how we might participate, more decisively, as humanities scholars in eco-criticism and environmental studies. Does this gesture entail closer collaboration with scholars from other disciplines and fields in an attempt to become more ‘inter-disciplinary’? Does this also mean that we must perform better as scholars, and ‘perform or else’ (Jon McKenzie 2001, Perform or Else)? If we were to perform, do we act as a collective species, i.e. human beings vis-à-vis other species in a shared environment? How would we even begin to describe or recognise this environment?


Carl Lavery, Professor of Theatre and Performance (Theatre, Film and Television Studies), University of Glasgow

Wallace Heim, Writer and Independent Researcher

Pauline Phemister, Professor of Philsophy, University of Edinburgh

Hayden Lorimer, Chair of Cultural Geography, University of Glasgow

Tim Barker, Senior Lecturer in Digital Media, University of Glasgow

Cara Berger, Lecturer in Drama, University of Manchester

Minty Donald, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Performance Practices, University of Glasgow

Alvin Eng Hui Lim, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh; National University of Singapore


9:00              Introductions

9:30-11:00     Session 1 – Scenes

Parables of Islet Ecologies and Interstitial Biologies
Alvin Eng Hui Lim

guddling about
Minty Donald and Nick Millar                   

11:00-11:15    Coffee/Tea

11:15-12:45    Session 2 – Mediums

Theatre and the Ecological Image
Carl Lavery

A Media philosophical approach to isolation, insulation and exposure
Timothy Barker

12:45-1:45     Lunch

1:45-3:15       Session 3 – Apparatuses

Theatre’s Vegetal Imagining
Cara Berger

‘The sea cannot be depleted’
Wallace Heim

3:15-3:30     Coffee /Tea

3:30-5:00     Session 4 – Environments

Lessons from Leibniz
Pauline Phemister

Passing Places
Hayden Lorimer

5:00-6:00    Roundtable Discussion

6:00            Dinner

If you would like to participate as an audience member, please contact Alvin Lim (

Image: Hutton’s Unconformity at Siccar Point. Image credit: Alvin Lim