Facts On The Ground

Situated reading group on ideologies of land use in a settler-colonial town

Hannah Ekin & Jorgen Doyle


How do acts of colonial incursion and settler occupation continue into the present and manifest in Alice Springs through public space amendments, popular anxiety around behaviours and uses of space, the recurrent trope of a town in decline and the politics of regeneration? Which ways of ‘being public’ are privileged as ‘normal’, and which are problematised as improper, wasteful, idle, dangerous?

This is an invitation to take part in a performative reading group hosted by Watch This Space visiting artists Hannah Ekin and Jorgen Doyle over 6 weeks from early June until mid – July. The reading group will take place in a number of historically and/or culturally significant and contested locations in Mparntwe/Alice Springs. As a collective reading group, we hope to draw connections between a number of theoretical texts, and tangible, embodied, conflicted, exhilarating experiences of living in this settler-colonial town, with a particular emphasis on land use and modes of being in public.

These texts deal with ideologies of land use and colonial mythologies that have, and continue to, shape the physical form and the particular identity of settler-colonial places such as Alice Springs. Using these texts, we aim to lift up some of the categories and knowledges by which we usually understand Australian urban landscapes, with a view towards imagining and enacting new ways of being in public which reflect this process.

Alongside the reading group, we hope to enact other playful ways of critiquing Alice Springs’ urban places and the identities they support by collecting newspaper narratives, having a collective social media research depository, and using other visual, aural, and textual modes of place representation.

Find below the proposed reading group agenda. We will have physical copies to share on meeting in person.

Contact Hannah Ekin hannahekin@hotmail.com for digital copies of the readings in advance.



Every Saturday, 3pm

10 June - 8 July, 2017



1. 10 June, 3pm | The First Lot (Caltex Petrol Station): Waste/Value – Vinay Gidwani // In Whole and In Part: The Racialisation of Indigenous People in Australia – Patrick Wolfe

2. 17 June, 3pm | Yeperenye Shopping Centre : Being Moved (On) – The Biopolitics of Walking in Australia’s Frontier Towns – Lea et al. // The Red Race on our Borders: Dispossessing Indians, Making the United States – Patrick Wolfe // The Alice Springs 2009 By-laws

3. 24 June, 3pm | Anzac Hill : The House That Jack Built – Aileen Morton Robinson

4. 1 July, 3pm | Under The Stott Terrace Bridge : Lhere Mparntwe – Dick Kimber // Urban Commons – Vinay Gidwani

5. 8 July, 3pm | Watch This Space : Counter Publics – Kurt Iveson