Online Symposium: Pandemic Borders

Pandemic Borders: Hotels, Spaces of Detention, Quarantine and Resistance

Recent scholarship has explored diverse border infrastructures, from border walls, camps to databases and information systems. The role of hotels as border sites, however, has received relatively little attention. In Australia, ‘border hotels’ have come to prominence in the last year as both spaces of detention and quarantine. This is firstly due to their role as Alternative Places of Detention (APODs) for refugees and asylum seekers. Hotels such as the ‘Kangaroo Point Central Apartments’ in Brisbane and the ‘Mantra Bell City Hotel’ in Melbourne have drawn public attention, in part due to ongoing protests. At the same time, hotels have been repurposed as mandatory quarantine centres for arriving international travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. In combination with Australia’s closed international borders, and the ad-hoc approach to internal state border closures and openings, the failures of Melbourne’s the hotel quarantine system has led to renewed interest in how we restrict, detain, and re-route ‘border’ that function across private, government, and public spaces.

The Pandemic Borders symposium, organised by the Australian Critical Border Studies network, brings together critical studies of emerging bordering practices. The symposium will be held on the 16th of February 2021 from 9.15am-3.30pm AEDT via zoom (links will be made available on eventbrite).

Click here to register

If you have any questions please contact Ari Jerrems ( or Kaya Barry (


Welcome and Opening Remarks (9.15- 9.30)

Session 1 (9.30 – 11.05)

Session Chair: Kaya Barry

9.30 – 9.50: Claire Loughnan – ‘Not the Hilton’

9.50 – 10.10: Corinna Di Stefano – Cruises in the Times of Corona. Floating Hotels and the Emerging of Pandemic Borders

10.10 – 10.30: Lucy Kneebone – ‘Staying apart keeps us together’: the Melbourne Public Housing Lockdown and Logics of Detention

10.30 – 10.50: Germana Nicklin – Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities in New Zealand: Seeing and Performing like a Border

10.50 – 11.05: Final questions/collective discussion

Session 2 (11.30 – 12.45)

Session Chair: Andrew Burridge

11.30 – 11.50: Emma Russell and Poppy de Souza – Geolocating Detention: Soundmapping the Carceral Archipelago

11.50 – 12.10: Kasun Ubayasiri and Ari Balle-Bowness – KP120 refugee protests: (Re)thinking ethics and agency in visual communication and photojournalism

12.10 – 12.30: Michele Lobo, Kaya Barry and Nicholas D’Souza – Quarantining the Virosphere: Diagrams of Security, Containment and Control

12.30 – 12.45: Final questions/collective discussion

Session 3 (1.45 – 3.30)

Session chair: Umut Ozguc

1.45 – 14.05: Andrew Burridge – Alternative Places of Detention: expanding  a global hotel geopolitics agenda 

14.05 – 14.25: Tess Altman – An Autoethnographic account of Australia’s Pandemic Borders

14.25 – 14.45: Ari Jerrems – Makeshift Border Infrastructure: Hotels, Hotspots and Spaces of Solidarity

14.45 – 15.05: Emmanuelle Peyvel – Lost in Translation: Quarantine in Vietnam

15.05 – 15.20: Final questions/collective discussion

Closing Remarks (15.20-15.30)

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