The very Australian camel

Just in time for Australia Day, AUSCCER’s Leah Gibbs talks with award-winning radio producer Michael Schubert of Soundminds Radio on the subject of the very Australian camel.

Their conversation challenges the ideas of ‘feral’ and ‘invasive’ species, and questions what it means to belong in Australia.

Tune in to the Community Radio Network at 10:45am EST on Thursday 26 January, or listen here.   Continue reading

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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‘Camel country’: on radio 3CR & Geoforum

Camels are the focus of this week’s ‘Freedom of Species’ program on 3CR Independent Radio. AUSCCER’s Leah Gibbs will be talking with 3CR’s Emma Townshend this Sunday, 17 May, at 1pm on 3CR (855am). You can also catch the show later as an MP3.

The interview comes on the back of a paper recently published in Geoforum, by Leah Gibbs, Jennifer Atchison and Ingereth Macfarlane, titled: ‘Camel Country: assemblage, belonging and scale in invasive species geographies’. Below is a taster of the published paper.

Invasive species and their impacts have become a focus of global environmental policy and action. Invasive, alien and in Australia ‘feral’ species have come to represent categories of destructive animals and plants that do not belong. They are frequently pitted against ‘native’ species, which are deemed good and do belong. But in the context of contemporary environmental change and uncertainty, established categories such as ‘invasive’ species need to be examined more closely.  Continue reading

Fieldwork food

Written by Lesley Head, with culinary and photographic contributions by Natascha Klocker, Olivia Dun, Ananth Gopal, Sophie-May Kerr and Lulu.

There are few things more important to successful fieldwork than food. It sustains the bodies and the community of the fieldwork team. It provides points of connection with the broader community. And in our current project on Exploring culturally diverse perspectives on Australian environments, it is an important dimension of the research itself. We are currently in the Sunraysia region of Victoria (around Robinvale and Mildura), where irrigated agriculture provides an abundance of late summer food choices. In the midst of such abundance there are puzzles and challenges – people who don’t have enough to eat, farmers who don’t eat their own produce, and widespread concerns over pesticide use and the changing political economy of Australian food. Here are some moments in our food journey so far. Continue reading

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

‘Getting stuff done’ on a bicycle

I love bicycles. Such simple, efficient, elegant machines. ‘The pinnacle of human endeavour’ according to my companion; I think he’s right. So I’m excited that Wollongong City Council is undertaking a City of Wollongong Bike Plan. More on that in a minute. First, a couple of reflections on cycling.  Continue reading

Let the sea reclaim the pools?

I’ve just returned from the beach. Made my usual, favourite stop at the ocean pool. One of Wollongong’s series of bathing pools cut into the rock platform in the mid- to late-19th Century. Today saw a mix of people there: a bearded guy doing laps; the elderly woman with bright swimming cap I see regularly (I’m sure she swims every day); and a bunch of early 20-somethings looking happy and relaxed.

Climbing the stairs back up to the path, I spotted the flyer – neatly attached with cable-ties to the metal railing – that motivated this post. A newspaper clipping and hand-printed note announcing ‘Save Our Rock Pool’. You see, Wollongong City Council is proposing that it cease to maintain and/or demolish two or three of the city’s ocean pools as a cost-saving measure.

Community action to ‘Save Our Rock Pool’.

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Reflections from the fire front and research in its ashen wake

By Christine Eriksen and Trent Penman

Bushfire is a constant and ongoing part of Australian history, ecology and culture. The love of a sunburnt country, the beauty and terror of fire, and the filmy veil of post-fire greenness described in the century-old poem Core of my Heart (Mackellar 1908) are still apt depictions of Australian identity today (as illustrated in the ‘Suiting Up’ cartoon below). Yet, the bushfires currently burning in the greater Sydney region provide a stark reminder of the challenges and uncertainty of coexisting with fire.

‘Suiting Up’ (The Sunday Telegraph, 30 October 2013)

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Loving your monsters – the Climate Council and #Pinktober

Two particular monsters are in my consciousness at the moment, the newly formed Climate Council and #Pinktober. #Pinktober is a constellation of diverse consumerist activities to publicise and raise funds for breast cancer research, signified by selling things that are pink or can be pinkified. The Climate Council is a non-profit organisation established by leading scientists who argue that ‘Australians deserve independent information about climate change, from the experts’. It is the crowd-funded replacement for the recently axed Climate Commission. That Climate Commission link, by the way, goes nowhere, not even to a useful archive of previous Climate Commission documents (which have however been presciently archived by the National Library of Australia). Continue reading

Meet Professor Lesley Head

Professor Lesley Head

Professor Lesley Head

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. Each month we’ll introduce a new academic or PhD candidate to give greater insight into AUSCCER’s work.

Professor Lesley Head is an Australian Laureate Fellow and the Director of AUSCCER. Here she answers ten questions about what she does and AUSCCER’s work.

 

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