Sensemaking about Space

Juan Francisco Salazar is an environmental anthropologist and documentary filmmaker. He is a Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and Fellow of the Institute for Culture and Society, at Western Sydney University. He is an ARC Future Fellow (2020-2023) with a project titled Australia a Space Faring Nation: Imaginaries of Space Futures.

Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised scholar in the field of space archaeology and author of the award-winning book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future (MIT Press, 2019). Her research focuses on the archaeology and heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-earth mining, and space habitats. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide and a Vice-Chair of the Global Expert Panel on Sustainable Lunar Activities (GEGSLA).

Rami Mandow is the Founding Director and Editor of the Australian space community website, – a platform that expands the accessibility to space for young people across Australia through news, events, education and citizen science projects. Currently, he is also one of Sydney Observatory’s resident astronomers. In his final year of his Masters of Astronomy & Astrophysics from Swinburne University of Technology, Rami has also dedicated his passion to studying the field of radio astronomy, including researching the exotic and mind-boggling compact remnant objects known as Pulsars. As part of these studies, Rami has logged over 330 hours of observing pulsars across the galaxy, using the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope (also known by its Wiradjuri name ‘Murriyang’).

Dr Jeremy Walker is a Senior Lecturer and co-director of the Climate Justice Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). His research focusses on the history of neoliberal economic theory and government in relation to energy and climate change. He is currently. His recent monograph More Heat than Life: the Tangled Roots of Ecology, Energy and Economics (2020) presents a panoramic history of the development of (neo-)liberal economic theory in parallel with the emergence of the modern combustion engineering, energy physics and the Earth system sciences.

Ceridwen Dovey is a fiction writer and essayist based in Sydney. She’s the author of several works of fiction (Blood Kin, Only the Animals, In the Garden of the Fugitives, and Life After Truth), and non-fiction (On J.M. Coetzee: Writers on Writers and Inner Worlds Outer Spaces: The Working Lives of Others). Her essays have been published by, the Smithsonian Magazine, WIRED, the Monthly, and Alexander. In 2020, she won a prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Award for her long-form essay critiquing the commercial push to mine the Moon. Ceridwen is a Doctorate of Creative Arts (DCA) candidate within the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University, and is the writer and producer of the film Moonrise (2021, 11 minutes).

Session 1: Sensemaking about Space

How have we seen Space? How, more especially, have Australians seen Space? What questions do we have, what answers do we need, as we approach the likelihood of Space landings and habitation? What challenges and opportunities await us? And what dangers and pitfalls must we avoid? How can our different nations and peoples work together in Space?

Such questions pose searching social, ethical, philosophical, and cultural dilemmas, and add depth to the challenging agenda that the physical sciences have faced for years. This session seeks to explore these dimensions, and to outline some of the complex predicaments at play in sensemaking about Space.

Following a short film, Moonrise (Rowena Potts & Ceridwen Dovey, 2021) panellists will share their thoughts about  a range of  pressing issues, including Space environmentalism, access and diversity within the Space community, and the need for better communication across the arts, the humanities, the social and Space sciences, and the wider Space community.

Moderator: Prof Juan Francisco Salazar, Western Sydney University


  • Dr Alice Gorman, Space Archaeologist
  • Rami Mandow, Founder
  • Dr Jeremy Walker, Climate Justice Research Centre, UTS
  • Ceridwen Dovey, Author

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