I’d like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land where I live and work, the Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

I’m a cultural geographer from Melbourne, Australia.

I’m currently a PhD Student in the School of Geography, The University of Melbourne. My PhD research considers experiences of loss and its relation to corporeal transformation, through examples of workers affected by recent coalmine closures in regional Australia and China. I originally began my PhD in 2017 at the wonderful School of Sociology, Australian National University, and currently hold the Elizabeth and Vernon Puzey Scholarship from The University of Melbourne.

My empirical work is concerned with changing working-class life in the contemporary era. My conceptual interests are in affect, mobility and (post)phenomenology, particularly around themes of vulnerability, feeling and desire. A key motif that runs through my research is an expanded concept of ‘translation’, one which connects to my broader interest in issues of intersubjectivity, reflexivity and the first person singular. I work with experimental and non-representational styles of writing and presenting, in particular documentary video.

I make films alongside, and as part of, my research. I have been working on a longer-term documentary project on social and cultural change in a village in northern China.

In 2015, I was an Honours student in the School of Geography, The University of Melbourne. My Honours research considered the movement of migrant workers in rural China through the lenses of mobilities and social reproduction. My undergraduate studies, also at The University of Melbourne, were in Environmental Geography and German; as part of these degrees, I spent a year on exchange at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

I also help to run the Cultural Geography Study Group of the Institute of Australian Geographers as PhD convenor, the Geography Artist in Residence Program at The University of Melbourne and am co-editing the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation’s Groundswell publication.

If you’d like to get in touch, please drop me a line at v.zhang@student.unimelb.edu.au.


Image: Screenshot from a video recorded onsite at Bruce and Serana Hunt-Hughes’ property in Violet Town, Victoria, for a weaving grass planting day with 2018–2019 School of Geography Artist in Residence Museum Incognita. Museum Incognita is a collaborative project of Fayen d’Evie and Katie West, which revisits neglected, concealed or obscured histories of place to active new encounters through a custodial ethic. The plantings are a continuation of the project developed by Katie and Fayen during their residency. The aim is to cultivate resources for local weavers from Kaiela Arts, as a step to healing country, culture and future.