Listening for Layers: Exploring Place through Walking and Talking

Matt Novacevski1

1The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC


This paper explores the development of layered walking, a research method that builds on walking interviews to gain a deeper understanding of places and how they are made. Layered walking is a three-stage process. Firstly, researchers conduct an observational field session, which frames the second phase, a series of one-on-one walking interviews with people that have a particular connection with the place being studied. The third phase uses coding techniques to collate emerging themes. The practice bridges phenomenological and relational ways of knowing place, understanding places as irreducible wholes that comprise interconnected layers of meaning, experience, interpretation, stories and interaction. Layered walking is phenomenological because it interrogates the experience of place, and relational because it explores and provokes interactions between researchers, place and people. The method allows for a real-time emergence of stories that illustrate places as palimpsests, revealing peculiarities, prospects and processes. This paper reflects on the evolution of layered walking in researching a bayside walking trail in Geelong’s industrial north. While various field interview methods have been used to study relationships between places and people, this paper positions layered walking as a method that brings particular depth and clarity to place-based inquiry.


Matt Novacevski is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. His work focuses on exploring how western and Indigenous ways of knowing place can inform an Australasian approach to evaluating placemaking activity. Alongside his teaching and research, Matt has worked as a planner and placemaker in local government. His Masters thesis on peri-urban place identity won a commendation from the Planning Institute of Australia in 2016.

Young men’s smartphone sports gambling: masculinities, homosociality and risky places

Prof. Gordon Waitt1, Mr Hayden Cahill1, Professor Ross Gordon2

1Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space; School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia,

2Queensland University of Technology Business School, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia


Gender is a key lens for interpreting gambling. An overwhelming amount of gambling studies focus on gender as solely predetermined by genetic, psychological makeup, or configured by social structures or cultural scripts. In response, this article extends feminist geographical engagement with the work of Deleuze and Guattari to better understand how gender emerges through offering the concept of mobile smartphone sports gambling assemblage. We argue that an embodied engagement with gambling to help think through ways gender is lived through the spatial dynamics of mobile sports gambling. Our account draws on interviews with young men living in the small regional city of Wollongong, Australia.  We illustrate that despite the capacity to gamble anywhere and anytime, there is nonetheless a very specific emotional geography to mobile sports gambling, which is very much about finding a place for friendship and fulfilment between men.


Gordon Waitt is a Professor of Geography at the University of Wollongong. His work focuses on various social and environmental issues including energy efficiency, household sustainability, traffic congestion and gambling through a critical and reflexive lens.

Being out of place: where do urban children belong?

Ms Lynette Spence1

1RMIT, Melbourne, Australia


Adults, through deed and word, can construct childhood as an imaginative worlding of past times and places. When these imaginative worlds are read within the Romantic legacy – as nature/culture and past/present dualisms – everyday lives of urban children are gathered into the childhood concept as a spatial ideology, enabling adults, perhaps haunted by their past, to diagnose urban children with a nature deficit syndrome in need of rewilding. From this process, nature, as an elsewhere, is reproduced as the authentic spatial container for the being and becoming of a child. This Romantic legacy, of re-marked nature, has implications for how childhood is read in theories of representation and experience, and in discourse on rights to the city. If, for example, childhood authenticity is named by adult interlocutors, how can the child speak, or be? This presentation approaches these questions from a discussion on the poetics of place, with reference to Jeannie Baker’s picture books of re-marked nature: Window and Belonging. Reading registers illustrate how adults place childhood as historical and spatial imagination, alongside the ways in which childhood can belong in the urban landscape.


Lynette Spence is a PhD student in the The School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT.

The culture of play in inclusive playspaces: Gaining visual and spatial insights from children with disabilities

Dr Lisa Stafford1, Assoc. Professor Jenene Burke2, Professor Simon  Darcy3, Mr  Matthew  Ahmadi1, Professor Stewart Trost1

1Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia,

2Federation University, Ballarat, Australia,

3University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia


Emerging scholarship in disabled childhood geographies, along with a shift to creating more inclusive playspace over past 10 years, has initiated a new sub-area of study – The culture of play within Inclusive Playspaces. This presentation provides awareness of this emerging sub-area through visual and spatial insights of children with diverse cognitive, neurological and sensory impairments, five of whom use non-verbal communication.  The presentation centres on our study, which set out to understand play through the eyes of children with disabilities. We were also curious about how inclusive playspaces shape children’s play. To do this we needed methods that allowed the children to direct their play and the research, so we initiated child-led tours with self-filming along with a free play session where children wore GoPros, Accelerometers and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. Through this approach, the children helped us to see that their play is diverse, that they observe and direct play, and that the environment and infrastructure in a playground can influence play. These rich insights from this experiential data helps build understanding of inclusive playspace as specific geography, and the importance such playspaces have in the lives of children with disabilities and their families.


Dr Lisa Stafford is a Senior Lecturer in School of PHSW and a 2019 ARC DECRA Fellow at QUT. Her research is in inclusive communities, disabled childhood geographies, and participatory process to hear the most marginalized ‘voices’ in community and research practices. Lisa is the lead researcher on this collaborative exploratory study of inclusive play spaces.

Moving in place: the relationship between movement and emplacement for young adults in Katoomba, NSW

Ms Francesca Sidoti1

1Western Sydney University


Conceptualizations of place as an ‘event’ ask us to consider the idea that human movement occurs in relation with the multiple dynamic processes that comprise a place (Casey, 1993; Casey, 1996; Massey, 2005, Pink, 2011). Yet, for young adults in Katoomba, NSW, certain types of human movement are constructed as legitimating emplacement while others are excluded. In this regional town, young adults perform the movements of ‘leaving’, most commonly through migration and travel, in order to be recognized as legitimately in place. The dominance of this process obscures the importance of other forms of movement in emplacement, such as the circulation of affects between bodies and environments and the pedagogical and relational processes of moving through a dynamic landscape (Tsing, 2005). Drawing on ten ‘moving’ interviews, as well as supplementary interviews and survey responses, this paper examines the registers of movement for young adults in Katoomba. I argue that, while the achievement of migration or travel remains the lauded form of movement, the practices of young adults suggest that other forms of movement have equal influence on their lives, their experience of youth and adulthood, and processes of emplacement.


Francesca Sidoti is a PhD student at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. She studies the relationship between place and young adulthood in the regional town of Katoomba, NSW.

The role of place in policy responses to address disadvantage experienced by social housing residents

Ms Ella Horton1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


Disadvantage in Australia is geographically distributed (Randolph & Tice, 2017), and there is increasing evidence that outlying suburbs with high concentrations of social housing experience even higher rates. Suburbs such as these, in which there is often quantifiable and visible associations between social housing, poverty and place, are discursively problematised (Doney, McGuirk & Mee, 2013), stigmatised (Verdouw & Flanagan 2019) and become political and policy issues (Peel, 2003). Despite the complexity of spatial disadvantage, place and associated social housing have been constructed as the source of the problem by scholars and policymakers (Darcy, 2010). This rhetoric underpins place-based initiatives, which selectively apply interventions to physical places where disadvantage is perceived to exist. It is unclear as to whether or not place-based interventions can address disadvantage, however they remain a popular policy approach in Australia (Pawson, Hulse & Cheshire, 2015). Reflections on the role of ‘place’ – how it is understood, defined, experienced, sensed and constructed – by residents and policymakers throughout the lifecycle of a place-based intervention, and its role in determining its level of success is the focus of this presentation. This will inform a case study of a place-based initiative in the neighbourhood of Bridgewater/Gagebrook, Tasmania.


Ella Horton, PhD Candidate in the School of Social Sciences, research interests include spatial disadvantage and social housing.


About provides delegate registration, website and app solutions, and financial management for conferences, conventions and scientific meetings.

Terms & Conditions

All registrations and bookings are subject to our standard term and conditions.

Contact Us

Please contact the team at with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2017 - 2020 Conference Design Pty Ltd. is a division of Conference Design Pty Ltd.