Symposium – Contagion Design: Labour, Economy, Habits, Data

Symposium – Contagion Design: Labour, Economy, Habits, Data


Contagion Design: Labour, Economy, Habits, Data

International Symposium

22 October – 12 November 2020

Hosted by Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University


Organizers: Gay Hawkins and Ned Rossiter


How is contagion designed? How do labour, migration, habits and data configure contagion? Across a program of four weeks of discussion and debate, this event explores the current conjuncture through these vectors to address issues of rising unemployment, restricted movement, increasing governance of populations through data systems and the compulsory redesign of habits. Design logics underscore both biological contagion and political technologies. Contagion is redesigning how labour and migration are differentially governed, experienced and indeed produced. Habits generate modes of exposure and protection from contagion and become a resource for managing biological and social life. Data turns contagion into models that make a virus actionable and calculable. But can the logic of pre-emption and prediction ever accommodate and control the contingencies of a virus? The aim of this event is to explore these issues and their implications for cultural, social and political research. If contagion never abandons the scene of the present, if it persists as a constitutive force in the production of social life, how might we redesign the viral as the friend we love to hate?

This event organised by the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University includes speakers from the ICS together with national and international colleagues.

Please note: there are 4 events held over a 4-week period. The details of each event are included below, including the links to register. You may register for all or some of the events. Please register separately for each event you would like to attend.

The full pdf of the symposium program can be downloaded from the URL above.

Migration and Labour

22 October, 11:30am – 1pm

Register on Eventbrite:

 Chair: Brett Neilson

Ritajyoti Bandyopadhyay, ‘Economic Informality and Democracy in India at the Time of Covid-19’

Joyce Liu, ‘What Comes After the Lockdown? A New Wave of Nationalisation and the Local Divide’

Anne McNevin, ‘Temporal Contagion as an Antidote to Renationalization’

Contagious Mutualities

29 October, 4–5.30pm

Register on Eventbrite:

Chair: Katherine Gibson

Stephen Healy and Declan Kuch, ‘Contagious Mutuality: Spreading Postcapitalist Possibilities’

Peter North, ‘Building Back Better in the UK or Back to Work?’

Teppo Eskelinen, ‘Redefining Community in Nordic Countries After the Pandemic’

Habits of Contagion

4 November, 4–5.30pm

Register on Eventbrite:

Chair: Tony Bennett

Franck Cochoy, ‘On the Art of Burying One’s Face in a Band: How the Sanitary Mask Encounters the Habits of Laypersons and Experts’

Ben Dibley, ‘Demophobia and the Infrastructures of Infection’

Gay Hawkins, ‘Social Distance: Security, Suggestion, Insecurity’

Data Contagion

12 November, 11am – 12.30pm

Register on Eventbrite:

Chair: Ned Rossiter

Mark Andrejevic, ‘Biometrics “at-a-distance”: Touchlessness and the Securitization of Circulation’

Rolien Hoyng, ‘Datafication and Contingency in Circular Economies’

Orit Halpern, ‘Resilient Natures: Algorithmic Finance, Radical Events and Ecological Models’