20 NOVEMBER 2020

“The role of place in an increasingly placeless world” 

ONLINE via Zoom from 12pm – 4:30pm (Melbourne time)

Free registration: Eventbrite

Conference language: English


About the conference theme:

In Te Reo Māori, the language of the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, the word whenua refers to both “land” and “placenta”. It denotes the significance of place as a source of life and a direct link to one’s whakapapa (a line of decent from one’s ancestors) at the nexus of genealogy and identity. Globalization and COVID-19 have brought on many structural changes to our relationships with the places we inhabit physically, socially, emotionally or spiritually both as residents and visitors. In many parts of the world, globalization has made the world indeed flatter and places more transient.

Yet, for Australia and New Zealand the proverbial “tyranny of distance” is perhaps more alive and ubiquitous than elsewhere, especially for those born and with strong links to overseas and/or at the fringes of society. This is particularly true for immigrants who have left their homelands behind and are finding ways to inhabit a place, as their new home. COVID-19 has not only impacted the mobility of people, it has also pushed us to re-think how we work, live, interact and co-exist with our planet. These events and structural shifts have motivated the theme of the 4th SAAA conference, which will for the first take place in Aotearoa New Zealand. We hope the conference can strengthen existing and forge new links between Slovenians and the places they occupy, be that in Slovenia, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand or elsewhere.

Dr Matevž Rašković

Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand


Program (Melbourne time):

SAAA General Assembly Meeting: 10:00am – 11:30am

Conference: 12.00pm – 4.30pm (FULL PROGRAM HERE)

Opening addresses:

  • Her Excellency Dr Helena Jaklitsch, Minister for Slovenians Abroad
  • His Excellency Mr Jurij Rifelj, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Australia

Keynote speakers:

  • Dr Julija Sardelić, Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington: Being placed in the ‘out of place’?: Rethinking the place(lessness) of marginalized citizens across the Globe in 2020
  • A/Prof Sergeja Slapničar, University of Queensland: How do organisations protect themselves against cyber risk? Investigating cyber risk governance and management practices

Business practice talk:

  • Mr Črt Prašnikar, GM Global Premium Strategy at Fisher & Paykel Appliances, New Zealand who will share his experiences of a Slovenian manager working on both sides of the Tasman (interviewed by Ms Mateya Slobodnik from SACC)

Additional confirmed speakers: Dr Kaja Antlej, Dr Matevž Rašković, Dr Sharinne Crawford, Uroš Lotrič, Marta Skrbiš

Post-conference local get-together: Time and venue TBA – Local get-together by Slovenians in New Zealand sponsored by the SAAA New Zealand Section


Organised by: Slovenian Australian Academic Association (SAAA) in collaboration with the Association of Slovenes Educated Abroad (VTIS)  and the Slovenian Australian Chamber of Commerce (SACC)

Organising committee: Dr Matevž (Matt) Rašković, Dr Julija Sardelić, Dr Kaja Antlej, Karmen Lužar, Vesna Makovšek, Mateya Slobodnik

Host institution: Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Sponsor: Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Slovenians Abroad

Supported by: Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Canberra

Contact: (or @LinkedIn)

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Twitter: @Slo_AAA