Work / Life Ecologies

About Work/Life

Air Travel is a significant and growing part of our carbon footprint, and our overall environmental impact. This is particularly the case for universities and academics, who might fly for any number of reasons: conferences, meetings, field work, commuting, and relocating being the most common. But how well recognized is the impact of air travel by academics and universities? Do they see flying as an activity that can be reduced, in the same way that they can reduce the consumption of energy and water? What is leading to our unsustainable patterns of air travel, and can anything be done about it? These are some of the questions we deal with in our research on air travel.

  • In our research on academic air travel, we learned that one of the main reasons academics go to conferences is for the opportunity to interact with other academics in an informal setting. Academics commonly cited the conversations they have during conference breaks and meals as being particularly beneficial for professional and personal networking. But given that eating meals is such an embodied and material experience, what would it look like to experience that remotely? Can we really eat a meal with someone on the opposite side of the world in the same way as though they were sitting next to us?

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  • Flight

    As part of the SUPP project, we are seeking to understand the extent to which Australian universities recognize air travel as a sustainability issue, and what measures they are taking to reduce the amount of flying their employees do.

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  • The Work / Life Ecologies Project aims to understand staff and students’ broader lifestyles as part of a work-life ecology, occurring a cross a range of spaces, both physical and virtual. In using the term work-life ecology, rather than the more common term ‘work-life balance’, we argue that these two realms have become interrelated in contemporary society. The opportunities for these domains to infiltrate each other are increasing, be it through attending to email after hours, or through flexible work arrangements.

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