Skip to the content | Change text size

IRS International Conference

In 2003, Dr Mary Griffiths, Head of Communications&Writing,SAMSS, is working as the Research Associate in the interdisciplinary Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).

As a part of her remit, she will be advancing research in the area of e-democracy and the engagement of the IRS with sustainable means of enhancing Australian democracy, through the use of new technologies. Mary will be convening the 2nd IRS international conference on 13-14 November, 2003. Call for Papers.

"E-Governance : Regions, Devolution, Participation, Formation"

First Keynote Speaker : Professor Ann Macintosh, Director of The International Teledemocracy Centre, and Professor of E-Governance, Napier University, Edinburgh.

The effects on regional populations of ICT-assisted forms of governance is the theme of the 2nd Annual IRS conference. Papers are invited which explore issues raised by decentralisation and devolution, the remaking of regions online, and the means used by governments to connect and affiliate citizens to regional community, place, or nation.

Globalising information and communication technologies help to speed up the pressures exerted by cities, nations and regions wanting greater autonomy and a change in the relations they share with centralised governments. Far-reaching devolution of powers and responsibilities has resulted in the UK and EU. Regional or rural populations may now see more in common with counterparts in other regions or countries than they do with their own metropolitan neighbours.

At the same time, central governments are rapidly building regional ICT infrastructure, access and skills. Citizens are being asked to become more involved in their own governance through online means. Policy speaks of the need to invigorate civic and community participation in democratic practices beyond the ballot, to develop human and social capital in innovative, democratic and sustainable ways, and to build affiliation and commitment to a local community. Papers exploring the connections between the new online and offline organisations of political and social space, and addressing the internet's potential to engender a new sense of place and community, are particularly welcomed.

Abstracts of not more than 400 words are invited from academic researchers, consultants, public and private sector workers, practitioners and policy makers. Case studies and/or theory papers may address any of the broad themes below.

What is driving decentralisation and what enables governance when it occurs?

What is the connection between devolution and the new impetus to consult?

In what ways is the idea of region being re-made online? How does online activity differ from more traditional means of participation?

Are citizens, in "regional spaces," using technology to remake affinity to place ,
and retain or regain regional power? How are different groups participating in on-line policy making for example?

What kinds of regional online activities count as e-government best-practice?

Are citizen-government interactions being democratised by the internet - or are new ICT-savvy elites forming?

Revised Timelines

Abstracts for Refereed Stream and Presentations Due: July 16th
Results of Review by Conference Committee: August 1st
Full Papers Due: September 30thth
Results of Review for Refereed Stream and Possible Publication: October 20th
An edited book of selected and expanded conference papers and other articles is planned for publication. All papers for the conference will be peer-reviewed and those accepted for the refereed stream will thus meet Australian DEST requirements.

Full and Reduced-Cost Registrations

Full registration is $250.00 including all meals and conference notes.. Please note that the registration fee does not include accommodation costs.

A limited number of places at the conference will be at a reduced cost. Postgraduate students, staff at Gippsland Campus, and members of community organisations are invited to apply. Please contact the IRS Conference Organiser.


The conference will be hosted by the University's Institute of Regional Studies at the regional campus, located in the central Gippsland town of Churchill, about 160 km southeast of Melbourne. See

Convener: Dr. Mary Griffiths

IRS Conference Organiser: Dr. Mardelene Grobbelaar
IRS Director: Associate Professor Al Rainnie