I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land where I live and work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

I am a cultural geographer from Melbourne, Australia. My research explores the changing and mobile lives of workers in transitioning economies, with a particular focus on carbon transitions in China and Australia. I explore industrial transformations as embodied experiences, using qualitative methods and postphenomenological theories of the body and self. In June 2022, I will be joining the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore as an Assistant Professor.

Situated across cultural and economic geography, my research brings theories of affect, subjectivity and embodiment in cultural geography to bear on empirical studies of ‘ordinary’ economic life. It explores questions being raised across geography and the social sciences around embodiment and what it means to be human—issues such as the distributed constitution of the body, relations between self and others, postphenomenologies of sensory experience and the plastic limits of the subject— alongside conditions of sectoral restructuring and economic change. Methodologically, this involves working with non-representational methods and styles, including documentary film.

I completed my PhD in the School of Geography, The University of Melbourne in 2021. My PhD research studied the experiences of workers affected by coalmine closures in regional Australia and central China, exploring the embodied transitions for workers and their families after workplace closure and loss. I originally began this PhD project at the wonderful School of Sociology, Australian National University. Prior to my PhD, my Honours research considered the movement of migrant workers in rural China through the lenses of mobility and social reproduction, exploring the changing life of labour in China’s export-oriented economy.

Alongside research and teaching, I am a member of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation and co-edited the Artist, Farmer, Scientist project publication (with Laura Fisher and Lucas Ihlein). I am currently Treasurer of the RGS-IBG Social and Cultural Geography Research Group. With Lisa Palmer and Jane Dyson, I co-organise the annual IAG Film Shorts.

If you’d like to get in touch, please drop me a line at vickie.zhang@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.