Just as the smoke clears, the virus arrives. Given the challenges to respiration over the last few months, this composting is on breathing.

What conditions make life breathable, and for whom? Which systems and relations choke and suffocate – and (how) can we cultivate conditions in which all bodies might breathe easy? What might the similarities and differences in the responses to the bushfire smoke and the Corona Virus have to teach us about the politics and imaginaries of breathing in contemporary societies? How do ‘we’ notice, engage with and respond to our gaseous (e.g. oxygen, carbon) and multispecies (e.g. eucalypts, viruses) relations and how might ‘we’ do this otherwise?

In addition to the readings, you might like to prepare by doing some breath work, or reflecting on your own experiences of breathing over the last few months, and how this might be similar and different to human and non-human others.


Lead Composters: Blanche Verlie and Astrida Neimanis

When: Wednesday 8 April 4-5:30 pm AEDT

Where: WE ARE GOING ONLINE! Join us on ZOOM at


We have three academic readings and you are welcome to read as much as you like from each one. However, we suggest the following key sections:

1) Introduction to Kenner, 2018. Breathtaking: Asthma Care in a Time of Climate Change. University of Minnesota Press.

Key sections: 1 – 8 which is the introductory section, then the section Five Iterations of Care on pages 15 – 20.

Key sections: pages 18-25 (Respite: I can’t breathe, The intro to chapter 1: How Breathing Matters?), 28-31 (Nonreductiveness) and 308-310 (Puffing)

3) Neimanis, 2019. The Weather Underwater Blackness White Feminism and the Breathless Sea, Australian Feminist Studies, 34:102, 490-508.

Key Sections: pages 490-494 (sections The Weather, The Breathless Sea, The Weather Underwater)

Optional/additional reading/listening (all short pieces):

This news article by the Guardian after the police officer who killed Eric Garner was finally fired, but not charged

‘I can’t breathe’: The song written by Eric Garner’s family two years after his death

University of Sydney Honours student Stella Maynard’s blog piece regarding the weaponisation of weather and the starkly racialised breathless conditions at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre

A Breathing Chorus with Alexis Pauline Gumbs” on How to Survive the End of the World podcast


Banner image: Golden Mitochrondria, NIH Gallery. Flickr creative commons.

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