Meet Kiera Kent

Kiera Kent

Kiera Kent

The Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) is a teaching and research group focusing on cultural and social aspects of environmental issues. AUSCCER’s expertise and research is wide-ranging. Over the next few months we’ll introduce some of our academics and PhD candidates to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Kiera began her PhD with AUSCCER at the start of 2014. Here she answers questions about her research.

 

You’re in the second year of your PhD. What is the focus of your PhD research?

My research looks at where and how children play in the city. For example, built playgrounds are common spaces that represent ‘children’s spaces’ in the city. Playgrounds can provide a lot of play opportunities for children; however, when talking to children about where they prefer to play, research has shown that children will often talk about informal spaces in their neighbourhood or near their school. For example, a favourite tree to climb. When creating city spaces with children in mind, these everyday play spaces are more challenging to plan and design.  This is where my current research interest lies.

The playground at Brighton Lawn/Belmore Basin is one location where children are often seen playing. This is a regional playground meaning that it is larger, and has more play opportunities.

The playground at Brighton Lawn/Belmore Basin is one location where children are often seen playing. This is a regional playground meaning that it is larger, and has more play opportunities.

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Meet Sophie-May Kerr

Sophie-May Kerr (photo credit - Anthony Kerr)

Sophie-May Kerr (photo credit – Anthony Kerr)

The Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) is a teaching and research group focusing on cultural and social aspects of environmental issues. AUSCCER’s expertise and research is wide-ranging. Over the next few months we’ll introduce some of our academics and PhD candidates to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Sophie-May Kerr began her PhD with AUSCCER at the start of 2015. Here she answers questions about her research.

 

You’ve just begun your PhD candidature within AUSCCER. What is the focus of your PhD research?

I’m interested in social and environmental transformations that address high carbon and space-intensive urban lifestyles. In a climate changing world, one way in which cities are changing to accommodate for population growth and an increased demand in housing is through a shift towards urban consolidation. My goal is to inform understandings of sustainable urban living by examining sharing as a sustainable practice. My research will focus on the way urban residents share space (for instance, by living in apartments) and material resources (such as vehicles and household items). Responses to the challenges of urban population growth and carbon intensive lifestyles need to be grounded in an understanding of everyday life and efforts to increase rates of apartment-living must be informed by an understanding of how this mode of living can become socially sustainable. A key aspect of the research will be to consider how high-rise apartments might be made an attractive long-term residential option for a diverse population, including families. My research will focus on sustainability at the household level – understanding the everyday experiences of living in an apartment and the ways people consume material resources and inhabit spaces. I am interested in building form and layout and the strategies families have for making effective and efficient use of small spaces. An important part of this study will be exploring the discourses around raising children in apartments and the way this is portrayed, represented and stereotyped. Whilst living in apartments with children is not yet the norm in the Australian context, many cities around the world have high rates of apartment living, including families and there are no doubt lessons to be learned from these contexts.

Photo credit - Anthony Kerr

Photo credit – Anthony Kerr

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Meet Carrie Wilkinson

Carrie Wilkinson

Carrie Wilkinson

The Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) is a teaching and research group focusing on cultural and social aspects of environmental issues. AUSCCER’s expertise and research is wide-ranging. Over the next few months we’ll introduce some of our academics and PhD candidates to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Carrie Wilkinson began her PhD with AUSCCER at the start of 2015. Here she answers questions about her research.

 

You’re in the early stages of your PhD candidature. How would you describe the focus of your research?

My current doctoral research focuses on the agency, assemblages and materiality of water and water tanks in everyday life. Specifically, I am interested in learning from the everyday water experiences and practices of households which subsist on non-mains water sources – such as bore water, rainwater, river water and/or dam water – in peri-urban bushfire prone landscapes.

Tank water households are largely self-sufficient in terms of gathering, storing, conserving, recycling and disposing of water for household consumption and I am interested in what emerges through residents’ narratives of life with water tanks and tank water, and life without mains water supplies. By taking seriously the vitality of water and water tanks I want to better understand the vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities of tank-water households in a changing climate, where events such as drought and bushfire are expected to increase pressure on water supplies in future.

 “Whitewashed house with corrugated iron roof and water tank, Hill End” c.1870-1875 (Source: State Library of NSW, image by American and Australasian Photographic Company).  What do we know about water tanks?  What can we learn from water tanks? How do we “know” water tanks? I want to provide an historical context and theoretical framework for understanding contemporary Australian water- and water tank-relations. To do so, I have been exploring the catalogues of Australia’s libraries, museums and newspapers to find resources such as photographs, legislation, editorials and so forth relating to different perspectives and times of water abundance and scarcity, and different attitudes to storing and using water and water tanks in Australia.

“Whitewashed house with corrugated iron roof and water tank, Hill End” c.1870-1875 (Source: State Library of NSW, image by American and Australasian Photographic Company).
What do we know about water tanks? What can we learn from water tanks? How do we “know” water tanks? I want to provide an historical context and theoretical framework for understanding contemporary Australian water- and water tank-relations. To do so, I have been exploring the catalogues of Australia’s libraries, museums and newspapers to find resources such as photographs, legislation, editorials and so forth relating to different perspectives and times of water abundance and scarcity, and different attitudes to storing and using water and water tanks in Australia.

 

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Meet Ren Hu

Ren Hu

Ren Hu

The Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) is a teaching and research group focusing on cultural and social aspects of environmental issues. AUSCCER’s expertise and research is wide-ranging. Over the next few months we’ll introduce some of our academics and PhD candidates to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Ren Hu began his PhD with AUSCCER at the start of 2015. Here he answers questions about his research.

 

  1. You’ve just begun your PhD candidature within AUSCCER. What is the focus of your research?

My focus is Illawarra dairy farmers. So far, I’ve been reading about the historical background of farming in order to dig up why the majority of Australian farmers live in a kind of economic hardship. Farmers here do not simply represent an occupation, but represent a class of people who are disadvantaged in the global capitalist system.

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Meet Lance Barrie

Lance Barrie

Lance Barrie

The Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) is a teaching and research group focusing on cultural and social aspects of environmental issues. AUSCCER’s expertise and research is wide-ranging. Over the next few months we’ll introduce some of our academics and PhD candidates to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Lance Barrie began his PhD with AUSCCER at the start of 2015. Here he answers questions about his research.

 

You’re in the early stages of your PhD candidature. How would you describe the focus of your research?

My research will explore the lived experience of cycling in Wollongong. I find cycling culture and the people that cycle really interesting and would like to capture in my research the visceral and sensorial experiences of riding. Cyclists are generally viewed by the media and some community members as second class citizens when using shared roads, and part of the reason for this is the discourse around cycling. A lot of cycling research takes a positivist approach and discusses cycling and cyclists in a particular way, categorising and grouping them using traditional methodologies such as surveys and using static measures such as distance travelled. In my PhD, I hope to take a step back; Instead of having a pre-conceived idea about what cycling is or who cyclists are, I will explore what cyclists’ bodies do.

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Meet Ryan Frazer

Ryan FrazerThe Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) is a teaching and research group focusing on cultural and social aspects of environmental issues. AUSCCER’s expertise and research is wide-ranging. Over the next few months we’ll introduce some of our academics and PhD candidates to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Ryan Frazer began his PhD with AUSCCER at the start of 2015. Here he answers questions about his research.

 

What is the focus of your research?

My research focuses on the experiences of Australians who volunteer with newly settled refugees. In particular, I’m interested in the politics of emotions: how emotions form the bodies of individuals, collectives and nations; how emotions have political effects and how politics affects emotions. I’m also interested in voluntary labour and its relation to citizenship, political activism and ethics. Continue reading

Talking research through photographs: notes from the Geographical Society of NSW’s Postgraduate Networking Day

Introduction by Ellen van Holstein

Each year the Geographical Society of New South Wales invites postgraduate students from all over New South Wales to meet up and talk research. Students were invited to bring a picture and briefly present their work based on that image. The event also encouraged the exchange of advice about how to manage a PhD and how to do conferences. The University of Wollongong cohort of postgraduates was represented with ten candidates. The event was an excellent opportunity to think about the core messages of our research projects and to reflect on what it is that makes our geographical minds tick. Having ten new postgraduates start PhDs in geography at the University of Wollongong this year, it was also a great opportunities for old and new AUSCCER postgraduates to get to know each other better and to revel once again in the great wealth of research diversity that AUSCCER accommodates. To get a glimpse of that diversity please click through the photos of the ten AUSCCERites who attended the Geographical Society of New South Wales postgraduate meeting.

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Call for interest in a rural natural resource management session for IAG 2015

The Institute of Australia Geography 2015 conference organisers are calling for session proposals. We are looking to provide a forum for environmental geographers and others working on natural resource and environmental management in rural areas, but we need your interest to put the session up! Our proposed session outline is below. If you are interested, please send us your paper titles as detailed below.

Natural resource management, land use change, and governance in peri-urban and high amenity rural areas: Taking stock.

Shaun McKiernan and Nicholas Gill, University of Wollongong

In 2012 Abrams et al reviewed the environmental implications of amenity migration to rural areas, concluding that it ‘is perhaps best conceptualised as a redistribution of (variably-defined) environmental harms and benefits at multiple scales, due to….[the] consequences of the uneven processes of recreating rural places’. Continue reading

Meet Charles Gillon

This text originally appeared in UOW’s Research & Innovation newsletter.

Charles Gillon

Charles Gillon

As Australia’s coastal population rises with the tide, PhD candidate Charles Gillon turns his human geography lens to the master-planned estates that dot our coastline.

What are you studying?
I am a PhD Candidate at the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER), in the Department of Geography and Sustainable Communities, Faculty of Social Sciences. Continue reading

Meet Elin Slätmo – a visitor to AUSCCER

Elin Slätmo

Elin Slätmo

Elin Slätmo is a PhD student in human geography at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. She is visiting the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) between October and December this year. In this post Elin answers a few questions about her time in Australia. Continue reading