Temporary migration: transnational mobilities, big sisters, and social reproduction

A/Prof Robyn Mayes

Queensland University Of Technology


According to the Cultural Au Pair Association of Australia (CAPAA) au pair agencies in Australia are unable to meet the rising demand. The increasing use of au pairs in Australia is enabled through the Working Holiday Maker visa program. Under this program people between 18 and 30 years of age from designated countries visit Australia for 12 months and support themselves through short-term employment. Not surprisingly, this visa is criticised for providing a ‘back door’ supply of low paid workers to support the Australian economy. This paper presents an analysis of online narratives delineating the au pair ‘experience’ as presented by industry bodies and leading Australian au pair agencies. In doing so it delineates the ambivalent construction of the identity of the ‘au pair’ in Australia as both domestic worker and ‘big sister’. In particular, the analysis foregrounds attendant transnational spatial dynamics and experiences of ‘family life’. It highlights au pair work, not least in terms of the figure of the ‘big sister,’ as an important dimension of contemporary global care chains and contributes to understandings of the ongoing gendered and classed divisions informing the work of social reproduction.


Robyn Mayes is an Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology. She has a long-standing interest in mobilities of work with recent publications on trailing wives, fly-in, fly-out families, and geographies of digital platform work (ARC Discovery). robyn.mayes@qut.edu.au

Exploring belonging in regional resettlement: An examination of Syrian refugees’ resettlement experience on the island of Newfoundland, Canada

Ms Sarah Burrage1

1The University Of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia


This thesis will analyse the resettlement experiences of Syrian refugees within communities on the island of Newfoundland, Canada, with particular focus on their sense of belonging and identity. It considers how a sense of belonging is defined by resettled Syrian refugees within regional communities of Newfoundland and how this relates to perceptions of belonging by the community’s longer-term residents. It will also investigate the impact that regional spaces have on refugee groups’ resettlement experience and the role it plays in their decision to stay or leave. This thesis adopts a sociological approach to the research, utilizing a combination of qualitative ethnographic methods and thematic analysis. It discusses the important role transnational identities play in examining belonging, particularly in how it challenges traditional assumptions of integration.  Factors that lead to a sense of belonging/un-belonging, inclusion and exclusion in regional spaces will be interrogated. The experience of newly settled Syrian refugees within communities on the island of Newfoundland adds to the current literature that investigates resettlement challenges for refugees within regional spaces. By examining the island of Newfoundland this thesis plans to highlight the complex social identities that exist on island regions, particularly how they impact on the resettlement experience for refugees


Originally from St. John’s Newfoundland, I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Following 6 months living and travelling in Tanzania, Africa, I moved to Adelaide, Australia to complete my Master of Arts in International Studies at the University of Adelaide. Since completion of my Masters I have spent many years working within various Human Services and not-for-profit organizations before commencing my PhD with the University of South Australia’s School of Creative Industries. An islander by birth, I feel a strong sense of connection to land, people, culture and heritage.

Forced Migration of Aboriginal People in South Australia

Ms Kylie Lower1,2, Ms Anoinette  Hennessy1

1Blackwood Heritage Consulting, Blackwood, Australia , 2Flinders University, Bedford Park, Australia


The forced migration of Aboriginal people is often ignored in discussions about migrants, especially the emotional stress, turmoil and intergenerational trauma that is still felt today.  We have documented the ‘Return to Country’ with three Aboriginal groups in South Australia with whom we have made conscious efforts to engage, record and document individuals’ emotions and feelings associated with being on Country. Despite their many losses since European colonisation, our findings illustrate a strong attachment to Country that has been passed down through the generations. By capturing moments of self-reflection using visual media and writing, we show that Aboriginal people specifically remain connected to their native lands and environment. Data was collected through numerous cultural heritage surveys conducted with each group, and at Native Title Determinations. Our approach draws on non-representational theory.

Kylie Lower Is PhD student in community-based archaeology at Flinders University and Director of Blackwood Heritage Consulting and has interests in emotional archaeology, cultural landscapes, non-representational theory and Indigenous Nation Building.


Kylie Lower holds a MA in the role of Landscape Archaeology in Indigenous Nation Building. She is also a PhD student in  at Flinders University studying the role of non-representational theory and Director of Blackwood Heritage Consulting.  She is interested in emotional archaeology, cultural landscapes, non-representational theory and Indigenous Nation Building.

Leaving the metropolis: A new generation of seachangers

Dr Lisa Denny1, Dr Nick  Osbaldiston2, Dr Felicity  Picken3

1Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University , Cairns, Australia

3School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University , Sydney, Australia


In recent times there has been an upsurge in public interest in counter-urban trends in Australia. This specifically revolves around the two major capital cities of Melbourne and Sydney. In the past, demographers and geographers have identified this type of counter-urbanisation as amenity migration or ‘seachange’. Often these trends identify older migrants who, following narratives of escape and retirement idylls, leave their metropolitan environments for homes and lifestyles in places of high environmental amenity. Analysis of the most recent ABS Census of Population and Housing and migration data shows a new trend in counter-urbanisation; a shift to younger seachangers. In this paper, key attributes and values that are associated with this shift to younger generations are identified through survey data to better inform this emerging trend. Underpinned by a theoretical framing entitled ‘lifestyle migration’, or the quest for a more authentic or fulfilling life, the factors influencing counter-urbanisation range from everyday metropolitan failings such as traffic congestion and housing affordability through to deeper affiliations with slower, amenity rich landscapes. Seeking to add substance to the wealth of anecdotal evidence, this paper presents our preliminary findings on why younger people are seeking to leave big city life.


Drs Lisa Denny, Nick Osbaldiston and Felicity Picken bring divergent skills and interests to bare on their collaborative work that aims to identify Australia’s changing relations to work, migration, urban and amenity lifestyles. Informed by the disciplines of demography, sociology, geography and urban studies, they are currently aiming to better understand the choices of people to move, how these movements effect internal migration origins and destinations and how these connect to international migration and Australia.

Towards a politics of care: playing between planes

Mr Ryan Frazer1

1University Of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia


This paper offers an intervention within geographical conceptualisations of care. Following the work of Parvati Raghuram (2016), I seek to open a conversation around current engagements with care ethics, suggesting they risk depoliticising, displacing and delimiting care by overlooking the different that place makes. In response, I outline an alternative approach to care as a guiding political principle, drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s geophilosophy and their call to ‘play between planes’: between experimentation and institutionalisation. To illustrate my arguments, I draw on empirical data from a project on volunteers working within an organisation in a small city that provides resettlement services to refugees, and which focuses on the provision of personable and practical support with everyday activities. ​


Ryan Frazer is a PhD candidate in the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities at the University of Wollongong. His research draws on the work of Deleuze and Guattari to explore the geographies of care that emerge through volunteer engagement in refugee resettlement. He also works as Associate Research Fellow in Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University.

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