The Emotional Lives of Cities: Pandemic, Protest and Urban Life

A public forum and continuing professional development seminar for teachers held at Brisbane City Hall. 
Ali Rad Yousefnia, Brisbane, Digital Print, 2020

The impending climate catastrophe, and the emergence of a post-Fordist society dominated by corporate- and state-driven artificial intelligence, have created a mood of deep uncertainty about the possibilities for a humane urban life. The intensification of the policing of cities as a result of the current pandemic, or because of an upsurge of political protest against systemic inequities of class and race, has augmented this uncertainty—but has also raised hopes for what we might imagine a democratic city to be. This public forum and Continuing Professional Development seminar for teachers brings together art and architectural historians, as well as literature and media scholars, to re-examine how we live in cities now and, how we could inhabit them in the future. Exploring the tangled relations between affect and the built environment, the talks will interrogate a range of concerns relating to urban life including: the imbrications of Yugambeh culture and landscape in the longer history of the Gold Coast’s waterways; the influence of the recent environmentalist civil disobedience for the redevelopment of Brisbane’s CBD; plague and the emotional resilience of Venice; the reimagining of civic spaces in Lucknow and Washington D.C. through the emotions and processional energies of the Shia religious festival of Muharram and the Black Lives Matter protest movements; how digital applications charting the mood of a city are incorporated into “Smart City” proposals; and affect and city life in the borderlands of medieval Central Asia.


  • Professor Mark Andrejevic (Monash University)
  • Dr Andrea Bubenik (The University of Queensland)
  • Dr Natalie Collie (The University of Queensland)
  • Dr Sushma Griffin (The University of Queensland)
  • Joanna Horton (The University of Queensland)
  • Professor Andrew Leach (The University of Sydney)
  • Dr Manu P. Sobti (The University of Queensland)


Date: Saturday 7 November 2020
Venue: Kedron Room, Brisbane City Hall (The Brisbane City Hall has convenient bus and train public transport links as well as discounted weekend parking rates at the King George Square Car Park.)
Register: Free. All Welcome. Please RSVP by 4 November
Enquiries: Sushma Griffin, Public Outreach Officer and Research Assistant, ARC Centre for the History of Emotions (UQ node), email:


The Emotional Lives of Cities: Pandemic, Protest and Urban Life

Sat 7 Nov 2020 9:00am12:00pm