Meet Ananth Gopal

Ananth Gopal

Ananth Gopal

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.



Ananth began his PhD with AUSCCER earlier this year. Here he answers questions about his research.


You’ve just begun your PhD. At this early stage, what can you tell us about your research focus?

I’m interested in growing cultures, literally. By that I mean, looking at what role culture and ethnicity might play in the everyday food growing practices of people in the Illawarra. My research sits under the ARC discovery project led by Lesley Head, Natasha Klocker, Heather Goodall and Gordon Waitt. They are investigating the role cultural diversity has on people’s perceptions of the environment and environmental practices. The project is multi-pronged looking at a number of migrant communities and how their background may shape encounters in the Australian environmental context. I hope I can contribute something of worth with my focus on backyards and small-scale local agriculture.

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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