The Dangerous Consumptions Colloquium, now in its 18th year, brings together researchers from around Australia and New Zealand to discuss ‘dangerous’, ‘risky’ and contested consumption. This year’s event was hosted by Associate Professor Anna Olsen from the Australian National University (ANU) Medical School and Professor Helen Keane from the ANU School of Sociology.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, researchers from ANU, UNSW, UWS, LaTrobe, Monash, and University of Auckland were keen to reconnect in person.
Topics at the Colloquium are always diverse ranging across alcohol and other drugs, tobacco, sexuality, food, public health policy, mental health and pleasure - all from a social research perspective. It is no surprise that climate change and COVID-19 were also covered this year.
Representing the ANU, Professor Celia Roberts delved into the intersection of climate change and children in Australians’ attitudes to child bearing and rearing; PhD candidate, Ms Isabel Mudford discussed using meaning, connection and joy to reframe constructions of smoking in queer women; Professor Helen Keane critiqued the problematisation of the ‘drinking at home woman’; Honorary Associate Professor Maddie Brady questioned the use of Indigenous artwork imagery by the wine industry; and Associate Professor Anna Olsen challenged the meaning of ‘harm reduction’ through a series of contemporary case studies.
“It is an opportunity to discuss adventurous ideas and theories with a friendly audience”, says Associate Professor Anna Olsen. “There is no other forum quite like it in my field. I have been going since I was a student because my knowledge and attitudes are always stretched by speakers who play around with social, cultural and critical theory”.
The Colloquium runs over two days with a single stream of papers giving participants the opportunity to share ideas and understandings from different perspectives and enter into collaborative discussions about dangerous consumptions and the conceptual approaches used to make sense of them.