EcoPeoPle member Emma Ligtermoet has a brand new appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, working with Natasha Pauly and others as part of the Clean Air and Urban Landscape Hub. Emma’s research project is addressing the roles and perceptions of a variety of stakeholders in the transformation of linear urban spaces (primarily residential street verges, streetscapes and potentially drainage/waterways) from monocultures to biodiverse and waterwise plantings.

EcoPeoPle member Gracie Verde Selva’s PhD thesis entitled ‘Can ecological fiscal transfers contribute to conservation and wellbeing? An examination of local interactions in the Atlantic forest region of Brazil’ was accepted by the Board of the Graduate Research School as satisfying the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in November 2018. Gracie commenced her research in 2013 and undertook her fieldwork over two extended visits to Brazil, whilst studying part-time, raising two young children with husband Marcio, and moving from Perth to Italy and then on to Brazil. Gracie completed all her interviews with research participants in her second language Portuguese – she now speaks four languages. Gracie is now based in Brasilia, and is working as a consultant for the Brazilian Institute for Development and Sustainability ( on a rural sustainability project within the Atlantic Forest biome (which was the geographic region where Gracie’s PhD research was based). Warmest congratulations to Gracie and her supervisors Natasha Pauli, Julian Clifton, and Milena Kiatkoski Kim.

Alison Bartlett and Nandi Chinna have published a new paper, on the material presented at the EcoPeoPle workshop in February: ‘Highways, activism, and solastalgia: Poetic responses to Roe 8’, TEXT Journal, 22.1

Alison has also won a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Environmental Humanities Centre, Edinburgh University in Sep-Oct 2018, working on history walks and activist subjectivities.

Alicea Garcia is speaking at the POLLEN18 conference in Oslo this month (June 2018) on advanced theoretical frameworks for examining gendered social inequality in climate change adaptation. Alicea has also been given the green light to collaborate with two Universities in Ghana to implement educational workshops for farmers on climate change processes and adaptation approaches. The aim is to implement them around March/April next year.

Richard Read will be giving a public lecture on ‘Apocalyptic Skies and the Decay of Public Symbolism’ at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre in Ekaterinburg and Perm Museum of Modern Art, Russia, on 18 and 22 June 2018 respectively. In it, he asks: Do representations of clouds in Western art and architecture bear out Foucault’s claim of a split in the stable relations of words and images after the seventeenth century with a consequent disruption to public meaning?  This talk offer an answer to this question through an environmentalist survey of the changing significance of clouds in the art and architecture of many cultures over several centuries. From a predominantly religious significance in ancient art, the meaning of clouds shifts towards science in the era of industrial progress and global warming. Thus from clouds as premonitions of an ideal after-life, the man-made clouds of industrial pollution and nuclear warfare  create a paradoxical restoration of shared meaning through bleak nostalgia for uncontaminated skies. The lecturer will include discussion of An Te Liu’s Cloud (2008) installation and Lars Von Triers’ movie Melancholia (2011).

Richard has also been awarded a Terra Foundation Research Travel Grant to investigate ‘The Afterlife of Molyneux’s Question in British and American Landscape Painting and Aesthetics’ in New England galleries and New York Public Library, July-August 2018

He will also be a Visiting Scholar, working on ‘Ecology and Perception in Nineteenth-century American Landscape Painting and Aesthetic Writing’, at the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, USA, April-May 2019.

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming ARC Linkage Project – in May, the team led by Jo McDonald and a host of CIs finished its last and 10th fieldtrip in the Dampier Archipelago over three years. The project is now in its final year. The team assessed archaeological evidence of human responses to sea level changes over the last 10,000 years, and the spatial arrangement of walling or structures that correlates with the distribution of food plants – the latter research is led by PhD student Emma Beckett and Botany Hons student Georgie Buck. Some of this research will be presented at the Southern Deserts conference in Karratha, 7-10 August, following a summit to discuss World Heritage listing of the world-famous rock art galleries of the archipelago.

Alison Lullfitz, a PhD student in botany, supervised by Professor Steve Hopper, Joe Dortch, and Menang Noongar elders Carol Petterson and Lynette Knapp, published a paper last year on written and oral historical evidence for Noongar ‘niche construction’ of environments of the Great Southern and Esperance regions. See Alison, who is producing a PhD by publication, is preparing further papers on niche-constructing behaviour and its relationship to the distinct floristic and ecological settings of the region.

Archaeology PhD student Carly Monks has submitted her fully corrected PhD “Fire and Fauna” to the GRS. The PhD is on zooarchaeological evidence for niche construction, or at least ecosystem engineering, over the last 10,000 years in the northern Swan Coastal Plain. Carly is taking maternity leave now, but will continue research in this topic and in this study area.

Congratulations to Viv Westbrook, whose book Sharks in the Arts, co-authored with Shaun Collin, Dean Crawford and Mark Nicholls, has recently been released by Routledge. “This book is the most thorough exploration to date of the many ways in which a wild creature has been absorbed, reimagined and represented across the ages in all of the major art forms.”

Congratulations also to Erika Techera whose co-authored book International Law of Sharks: Obstacles, Options and Opportunities, was published in April by Brill.

Katie Glaskin‘s new book will be released on 1st July 2017: Crosscurrents: Law and society in a native title claim to land and sea. Crawley: UWA Publishing.

Well done Katie!

Postgraduate member Rachel Galvin is heading to the US on 30 June to the Huntingdon Library on a UWA Graduate Women’s Grant to view the Countess Russell Archives. While there she will be presenting a paper at the Katherine Mansfield/Elizabeth von Arnim Conference entitled, “The Phenomenological Body: Domestic Pain, The Female Body and the ‘Natural’ “.

Bryan Boruff and Matthew Tonts are co-authors on a new article:

Nguyen, N., Boruff, B., Tonts, M., 2017. Mining, Development and Well-being in Vietnam: A Comparative Analysis. Extractive Industries and Society.

Andrea Gaynor has written a blog on Environmental History and the History of Emotions, and will be presenting on this topic at the European Society for Environmental History conference in Zagreb, 28/6-2/7 2017.

She has also been busy publishing:

Andrea Gaynor & Joy McCann, ‘“I’ve Had Dolphins…Looking for Abalone for Me”: Oral History and the Subjectivities of Marine Engagement’, Oral History Review

Andrea Gaynor, ‘Lawnscaping Perth: Water supply, gardens and scarcity, 1890-1925’, Journal of Urban History, first published online 16/2/2017

Andrea Gaynor, ‘Self-sown crops, modernity and the making of mallee agricultural landscapes’, Agricultural History, vol.91, no.2, 2017, pp.171-186. [originated from DP130102169]

Lyn Parker has been publishing work arising out of her research project on environmental education in Indonesia. She recently guest edited a Special Issue of Inside Indonesia on the question “Can Indonesia save its beauty and biodiversity through Environmental Education?”, which included the following essays:

Parker, Lyn, 2017, “A Write-off: School textbooks in Indonesia fail to teach environmental sustainability, Inside Indonesia, Jan-March, Edition 127: Environmental Education,

Parker, Lyn, 2017, “An urgent need for Environmental Education” Introduction to Special Issue on Environmental Education in Indonesia: Can Indonesia save its beauty and biodiversity through Environmental Education? Inside Indonesia, Jan-March, Edition 127: Environmental Education:

She also has another recent paper on environmental education in Indonesia:

Parker, Lyn, 2016 “Religious Environmental Education? The New Curriculum in Indonesia,” Environmental Education Research. DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1150425

Peter Veth has been hard at work, among other things as lead author on three recent articles discussing aspects of the human occupation of north-western Australia in deep time:

Veth, P., et al. Reconceptualising Last Glacial Maximum discontinuities: A case study from the maritime deserts of north- western Australia. J. Anthropol. Archaeol. (2016),

Veth, P., et al., Plants before farming: The deep history of plant-use and representation in the rock art of Australia’s Kimberley region, Quaternary International (2016),

Peter Veth, Ingrid Ward & Tiina Manne (2016): Coastal Feasts: A Pleistocene Antiquity for Resource Abundance in the Maritime Deserts of North West Australia?, The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology,

Andrea Gaynor has been made an Associate Investigator of the Centre for the History of Emotions, UWA, in 2017 to work on a new research project entitled ‘Frog cities: emotion and conservation in urban Australia, 1900-2010’. More information is available on the CHE website.

New ARC grants

Congratulations to Lyn Parker, Anu Rammohan, Michael Blakeney, Greg Acciaioli, Richard Hobbs, Peter Veth and Matthew Tonts on their success in the recently-announced ARC grant round.

EcoPeoPle are involved in four excellent projects. Those involving Lyn, Anu, Michael and Greg aim to protect vulnerable people, including smallholders in India and Indonesia. Richard will be working with a team investigating the potential for uncontested lands to contribute to global conservation. Peter will be investigating the submerged landscape archeology of the Pilbara coast, and Matthew the clustering of resources-related service firms in cities. Full details and descriptions appear below.

Professor Lynette Parker; Associate Professor Anu Rammohan; Dr Philip Kreager; Dr Elisabeth Schroeder-Butterfill; Dr Jenny Munro

This project aims to study and provide ways to overcome vulnerability in Indonesia. Half the Indonesian population is still clustered around the poverty line, contributing to their vulnerability. This project will identify vulnerable groups and why they are vulnerable. Using a common framework of the life course in eight Indonesian field sites, this project will investigate whether social networks and welfare programs reduce vulnerability, and pinpoint strategies for reducing vulnerabilities in the future. The project expects to show how vulnerable citizens in Indonesia can be made more secure, helping to build a more stable and prosperous region.

The University of Western Australia                                                           $460,500

Professor Christoph Antons; Professor Michael Blakeney; Professor Kadambot Siddique; Professor Dr Philippe Cullet; Professor Dr Yunita Triwardani Winarto; Dr Gregory Acciaioli; Dr Jagjit Plahe

This project aims to discover how local farming communities’ practical knowledge can improve food security. 795 million undernourished people rely on small farmers for food. To protect these farmers from multinational agribusiness and climate change, this project will examine how small farmers turn useful plant material into cultivated crops through plant selection and breeding under conditions of climate change; identify how regulatory structures in India and Indonesia help or hinder this process; and identify opportunities to apply local knowledge and its regulatory framework in Australia. Better understanding local conditions should benefit regulators, NGOs, businesses and aid agencies.

Deakin University                $257,000

Dr Eve Mcdonald-Madden; Professor David Pannell; Professor Richard Hobbs; Dr Edward Game

This project aims to map uncontested lands worldwide and assess their potential contribution to global conservation. Globally the area of agricultural land is shrinking due to environmental degradation, market changes and social trends. In the last 15 years, the area of Australia’s pasture lands steeply declined. Although expensive, restoring degraded lands no longer used for agriculture should offer economic opportunities, help mitigate climate change and involve minimal social or political opposition. The outcome will identify the extent and location of uncontested lands and provide a framework for deciding how best to invest in their regeneration.

The University of Queensland                                                                   $370,000

Dr Jonathan Benjamin; Professor Sean Ulm; Professor Peter Veth; Professor Jorg Hacker; Dr Michael O’Leary; Professor Geoffrey Bailey; Professor Mads Holst

This project aims to investigate the records of the now-submerged Pilbara coast (50,000 to 7000 years ago). Nearly a third of Australia’s landmass was drowned after the last ice age, and sea-level change displaced generations of people. Submerged landscape archaeology will help reveal past sea-level rise, population resilience, mobility and diet. The project integrates cultural and environmental studies and material analysis, and adapts a method from the world’s only confirmed submarine middens. It will use marine and aerial survey techniques to investigate physical and cultural submerged landscapes. This project expects to influence heritage and environmental management and the marine heritage sector.

The Flinders University of South Australia                                                 $597,000

Professor Matthew Tonts; Professor Dr Ben Derudder; Dr Thomas Sigler; Dr Kirsten Martinus; Dr Glen Searle

This project aims to understand how and why resources-related service firms cluster in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Maintaining Australia’s competitive position in global affairs depends on delivering innovative services in established national areas such as mining, energy and agriculture. This project will approach Australian cities’ economies from a ‘global’ perspective using social network analysis, to understand how local firm clusters are internationally networked through branch office and affiliate corporate linkages. This project seeks to better direct urban and economic policy by positioning these sectors to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

The University of Western Australia                                                           $222,074

New publications

We have had a productive year! Here is a list of 2016 publications with EcoPeoPle lead authors (to December 2016):

J. Dortch, and J. Sapienza, ‘Site Watch: recent changes to Aboriginal heritage site registration in Western Australia’. Journal of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists 4, 2016:1-12.

Greg Acciaioli and Alka Sabharwal, ‘Frontierization and Defontierization: Reconceptualizing Frontier Frames’. In Transnational Frontiers of Asia and Latin America from 1800, ed. Jaime Moreno and Bradley Tatar. Burlington Oxon: Ashgate – Taylor and Francis, 2016, pp. 31-45.

Greg Acciaioli, ‘The Place of Non-Place in Bugis Ritual: Ethnographically Interrogating the Distinction of Modernity and Supermodernity’. In Keeping Indonesia in Mind: Festschift for E. D. Lewis. New York: Peter Lang, 2016, pp. 1-34.

Greg Acciaioli and Oetami Dewi, ‘Opposition to Oil-Palm Plantations in West and Central Kalimantan: Divergent Strategies, Convergent Outcomes’. In John McCarthy and Robert Cramb (eds), The Oil Palm Complex: Agrarian Transformation, State Policy and Resource Conflict in Indonesia and Malaysia. Singapore: NUS Press. 2016, pp. 327-353.

Andrea Gaynor, Jodi Frawley and Kathleen Schwerdtner Máñez, ‘‘Slim female records the same old story’: Newspapers, gender, and recreational fishing in Australia, 1957-2000. Geoforum, vol.77, 2016, pp.114-123.  Exemplifying use of newspapers as rich and complex sources for understanding past recreational fisheries, this article provides evidence of women’s sustained and diverse participation in angling in Australia and explores a newspaper column’s complex and contingent role in gendering the spaces and practices of recreational fishing.

Michael Blakeney, ‘The negotiations in WIPO for international conventions on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions’ in Jessica C Lai and Antionette Maget Dominicé, Intellectual Property and Access to Im/material Goods, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2016, 227-25.
This chapter surveys the way in which the ICG committee of the World Intellectual Property Organisation has responded to calls for the protection and preservation of the knowledge and cultural practices of Indigenous peoples.

Michael Blakeney, ‘DNA Patenting’ in Harikesh B. Singh, Alok Jha and Chetan Keswani, eds., Intellectual Property Issues in Biotechnology, Wallingford, Oxon, CAB International, Inc, 2016, 128-137.
‘This chapter examines the development of patent law beyond the protection of mechanical, electronic and pharmaceutical inventions to embrace the patenting of DNA.’

Michael Blakeney, ‘Minimisation of Food Waste and Labelling Regulation’ (2016) 22 (4) International Trade Law & Regulation, 125-130.
A succinct review of legislation relating to the date labelling of food, which shows that the effect of these laws is consumer confusion around date labels and a contribution to the unnecessary wastage of food; a problem with very significant economic and environmental dimensions.

Joe Dortch, Matt Cupper, Rainer Grün, Bernice Harpley, Kerrie Lee, Judith Field, ‘The timing and cause of megafauna mass deaths at Lancefield Swamp, south-eastern Australia’, Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 145, 1 August 2016, pp. 161-182.
Joe Dortch has published with colleagues research investigating megafaunal mass deaths at a site in south-eastern Australia, which concludes that Pleistocene climatic variability was a factor in regional megafauna extinctions.

Matthew Tonts, Fiona Haslam McKenzie, and Paul Plummer, ‘The Resource ‘Super-Cycle’ and Australia’s Remote Cities’, Built Environment, vol. 42, no. 1, 2016, pp. 174-188.
This paper uses the case studies of Karratha and Port Hedland to examine the ways in which remote cities have been affected by the resource “super-cycle” and how policy makers and planners have responded to the challenges that are posed by different forms and stages of resource development.

Petra Tschakert, Partha Jyoti Das, Neera Shrestha Pradhan, Mario Machado, Armando Lamadrid, Mandira Buragohain, and Masfique Alam Hazarika, ‘Micropolitics in collective learning spaces for adaptive decision making’, Global Environmental Change, vol. 40, 2016, pp. 182-194.
This article examines decision-making processes in the context of climate change adaptation. It examines the power dynamics within a collective learning scenario relating to participatory flood management and planning in the Eastern Brahmaputra Basin of Assam, India. It concludes that emancipatory agency and transformational adaptation are unlikely to spontaneously emerge from participatory co-learning spaces.

Petra Tschakert, Nancy Tuana, Hege Westskog, Bettina Koelle, and Alida Afrika, ‘TCHANGE: the role of values and visioning in transformation science’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 20, 2016, pp. 21-25.
TCHANGE was a transdisciplinary research project that aimed to examine communities that had embarked on transformational pathways. It was interested in the roles played by values and world-views, the usefulness of envisioning desirable futures, the obstacles encountered and their solutions. This paper discusses the difficulties of creating a research methodology for such a project and concludes that interdisciplinary research is frustrating but leads to a more nuanced understanding of values and visioning.

Petra Tschakert, ‘Shifting Discourses of Vilification and the Taming of Unruly Mining Landscapes in Ghana’, World Development, vol. 86, 2016, pp. 123-132.
Tschakert argues that Chinese miners in Ghanaian gold mines were demonised in order to obfuscate structural failures and to protect the vested interests of the most powerful actors within the mineral extraction sector. She contends that the expulsion of Chinese operators from gold-mining areas in 2013 represented a forceful disciplining of “unruly spaces” by the state, to conceal its own failure to implement genuine development policies in the industry.

Petra Tschakert, ‘The Role of Inequality in Climate-Poverty Debates’, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7677, May 17, 2016. Available at SSRN:
Tschakert argues that uneven power relations make poor and disadvantaged people more vulnerable to climate change than do their exposure and sensitivity to climatic hazards. The paper compares different approaches to assessing poverty, explores processes that drive inequality, investigates how climate change may exacerbate poverty and what interventions could establish climate-resilient development pathways.

Petra Tschakert, Vincent Ricciardi, Erica Smithwick, Mario Machado, David Ferring, Heidi Hausermann, and Leah Bug, ‘Situated knowledge of pathogenic landscapes in Ghana: Understanding the emergence of Buruli ulcer through qualitative analysis’, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 150, 2016, pp. 160-171.
The authors analyse qualitative data collected to investigate the intersection between Buruli ulcer (BU) occurrence, environmental factors and community (“situated”) knowledge in Ghana. The study found that participants had no trouble identifying the link between ecological devastation (logging; contaminated, stagnant water) caused by illegal gold mining, and incidence of BU. Participants could identify certain places and activities which increased their risk of BU infection.

Erika J. Techera, ‘A review of marine protected area legislation in Australia’, in Geoff Wescott and James Fitzsimons (eds), Big, Bold and Blue: Lessons from Australia’s Marine Protected Areas, Clayton South, VIC, CSIRO Publishing, 2016, pp. 243-256.
All states and the NT have legislation that allows for the declaration of Marine Protected Areas, managed through plans, often zoning, and administrative structures which differ from state to state. Enforcement officers, offence provisions exist within the legislation of each state, but organisation of these, and the related penalties, differ. The author argues that a more integrated and coordinated approach to marine protection is needed to achieve desired outcomes for fisheries resources and biodiversity.

Lyn Parker, ‘Religious environmental education? The new school curriculum in Indonesia’, Environmental Education Research, 2016, pp. 1-24.
Parker examines the new curriculum introduced by the Indonesian government in 2013 to asses the extent to which it meets the UN’s recommendation that environmental sustainability be embedded  within school curricula. She finds that the new curriculum does not address the relationship between economic development and environmental sustainability but rather positions the environment in terms of religious values. The curriculum neglects to alert students to human responsibility for the destruction of the natural world and the socio-econo-political structures that drive this destruction.

Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, ‘Cooper, Cather, Prichard, ‘Pioneer’: The Chronotope of Settler Colonialism.’ Australian Literary Studies 31.3 (2016): 1-26.
Hughes-d’Aeth outlines the emergence of settler colonial studies as distinct from (or a discrete subset of) postcolonial literary studies. He poses the question of how we can bring into being a common theory or reading practice for settler studies. Using 3 novels as test pieces, he comes up with 4 features they share: 1) consideration of an internal geography of textual world; 2) presence of a legal drama; 3) generational structure; 4) presence of “primal” scene.

Nin Kirkham, ‘Recognizing Our Place in the World’, Environmental Ethics, vol. 38, no. 1, 2016, pp. 97-119.
Nin Kirkham argues that the idea of “living in place” can be proposed as an environmental/technological “virtue” (as opposed to a social virtue). She posits – with reference to Heidegger – that the virtue of “living in place” would be one whereby human art and technology serve to “bring the natural world into being” rather than to dominate or manipulate nature.

Richard J. Hobbs, ‘Degraded or just different? Perceptions and value judgements in restoration decisions’, Restoration Ecology, vol. 24, no. 2, 2016, pp. 153-158.
Richard Hobbs argues that there is no universal understanding of what constitutes a “degraded” ecosystem. Increased consideration of “difference” (ie. in ecosystems that have changed due to external factors but which might not be considered degraded) is required in order to better inform restoration and management decisions.

Jane Balme and Susan Connor, ‘Dingoes and Aboriginal social organization in Holocene Australia’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol. 7, 2016, pp. 775-781.
This paper investigates the relationship between dingoes and Aboriginal people by examining both historic observations post 1788 and archaeological faunal sequences from the Holocene era. Dingoes were highly valued by Aboriginal communities and were domesticated for a variety of reasons. Dingoes are not useful for catching large game, but are often used by women to flush out small game, suggesting that the introduction of dingoes as a “live technology” could have resulted in the re-organisation of labour.