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Thursday, December 5 • 1:30pm - 3:30pm

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Chair: Steve Matthewman

Tan Bee tin: Acting for the future: Promoting creativity through pedagogic tasks

Future studies ‘must become acting for the future’ (Masini, 2006, p. 1166). As Alan Kay (1971) notes, ‘the best way to predict the future is to invent it.’ The goal of education programmes is to develop in our learners key attributes of future-oriented individuals. Creativity is a vital capacity which will help us ‘go beyond the crisis of the future’, ‘cope with postnormal times’ and uncertain futures (Montuori, 2011). ‘The complex questions of the future will not be solved ‘by the book’, but by creative, forward-looking individuals and groups’ (Dawson, 2011, p.6). Creativity (the ability to produce new, valuable ideas) is important for solving ill-defined problems with unknown solutions. Despite the burgeoning interest in the value of creativity, we have a poor understanding concerning the implementation of creativity in pedagogical practice. Creativity is often misunderstood to be associated with the arts, freedom and choices. This talk explores how creativity can be developed through pedagogic tasks with particular reference to language learning contexts. In addition to developing language proficiency, language learning tasks develop additional learning outcomes such as social values, attitudes and cognitive abilities. The issues discussed are of relevance for other pedagogic programmes, helping learners to act for the future.

Carisa Showden: Activism, Social Media, and Neoliberalism: What’s shifted, and what hasn’t?

This presentation offers a preliminary analysis of interview and participant observation data from an on-going study Putting Hope into Action: What Inspires and Sustains Young People’s Engagement in Social Movements. Our team of researchers is working with six activist groups led by or comprised entirely of New Zealand activists aged (roughly) 18-29. I will explore how the social and political opportunities of our current moment facilitate collective action by young activists engaged in climate change, anti-sexual assault, and indigenous rights activism. More specifically, I look at how the internet—particularly social media—assists or hinders offline activism. This discussion is situated in the social movement studies literature concerning slacktivism (or clicktivism) and worries it dilutes or inhibits embodied, offline protests. Our initial observations reveal that these concerns are overblown. What we see instead is a shift in what it means to call oneself an activist, leading me to question if this change arises because of the combined effects of social media and neoliberal rhetoric. In this presentation, I will explore this intersection and its implications for activism aimed at a more just and hope-filled future, asking whether and how online organising and community-building opportunities have fundamentally shifted how activism happens.

Jay Marlowe: Transnational settlement futures: Forced migration and social media

The rapid proliferation and availability of information communication technologies – particularly the smart phone and social media – herald new ways that refugees can remain connected across distance. With more than 70 million people forcibly displaced globally, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees acknowledges the potential of these tools to ‘digitally reunite’ proximate and distant networks. Whilst there is dislocation, there is also the possibility of connection. Numerous sites of displacement now have access to 2G and 3G digital coverage. These opportunities for communication effectively create a bridge, at times a lifeline, between ‘here’ and ‘there’. Applications such as Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and SnapChat can reunite families and friends and support various flows that are social, cultural, political and financial. Such connections have the potential to transform settlement futures as people maintain significant and ongoing relationships with their transnational networks. I present a sequential mixed method design comprising a one year digital ethnography with 15 people from refugee backgrounds and a subsequent national survey about how refugees use social media in New Zealand. Drawing on Vertovec’s work on the social organisation of difference, I articulate what transnational interaction represents for refugee settlement futures within an increasingly, but unevenly, mobile world.

Suzanne Woodward: Digisexuality, Erotobotics and the Future of Intimacy

Cybersexual developments are challenging many of our social concepts – intimacy, fidelity, monogamy, sexuality, consent, virginity – and none more so than sex robots. While we might be tempted to see robots as ‘relational artifacts’ (Turkle, 2006) rather than true partners, the tendency to project human emotions and needs onto them, and the growing number of people in digisexual relationships, is raising significant and complex questions about robots’ roles, rights and responsibilities in society. If tabloid coverage of sexbot developments is to be believed, traditional social institutions such as marriage, family, and parenthood are already at risk. Is it possible to have a genuine dyadic relationship between a human and a robot, or is a relationship with a sex robot a form of auto-eroticism? The concept of intimacy is complicated, and encompasses a range of relationships, from romantic partnership to community, but generally depends on mutual responsiveness, subjectivity, and emotional reciprocity. What conditions would need to be met for a robot to consent and engage in an intimate relationship? In what ways are sex robots challenging social institutions, or are they being designed to conform?

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.


Carisa Showden

Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
avatar for Jay Marlowe

Jay Marlowe

Associate Professor, University of Auckland

Steve Matthewman

University of Auckland
avatar for Suzanne Woodward

Suzanne Woodward

PTF, University of Auckland

Thursday December 5, 2019 1:30pm - 3:30pm NZDT
206-203 - Lecture Theatre 2