Thinking Space Seminar Series

Wednesday 4 March 2015 - Wednesday 3 June 2015

This event has passed


The University of Sydney



School of Geosciences, University of Sydney.

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: international and local perspectives

Geographers and the Environment

Thinking Space is the Geography Seminar Series of the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney.

The following seminars are open to everyone interested in current innovations in geographical research and cutting edge trends in socio- spatial theory.

Each seminar will be held in the Madsen Conference Room 449, The University of Sydney.

For more information on any of the events below, please contact:
Billy Haworth – billy.haworth@sydney.edu.au

Wednesday 4 March, 4pm – 5pm

Dr Filippo Dall’Osso (Geosciences) | Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: international and local perspectives

Dr Fillippo Dall’Osso’s  research interests include Integrated Coastal Zones Management (ICZM), with special regard to risk analysis and vulnerability assessment to extreme natural events, environmental impact assessment, multi-hazard analysis, coastal inundation and erosion processes, tsunamis, sea level rise, GIS and Remote Sensing techniques. He is a post doctoral researcher at the University of New South Wales, and Chief Investigator (with Dominey-Howes) of the COVERMAR project (Coastal Vulnerability to Multiple Inundation Sources), a result of a collaboration with the Sydney Coastal Council Group.

Wednesday 11 March, 4pm – 5pm  

Dr Dan Penny (Geosciences) | “Why stop now, just when I’m hating it?” (Marvin the Paranoid Android): Path Dependency, ENSO, and the fate of Empires.

Path dependent action is encoded into the infrastructure we build, and once created infrastructure is immoblised in space, creating a rigidity – a ‘stuckness’ – that limits adaptive choices in the present and reinforces path dependency.  Infrastructural rigidity can create dissonances between the material and the social and is inherently problematic on a changing planet. This seminar will explore the links between path dependency and the resilience concept, and consider the emergent properties of infrastructural rigidity using the historical city of Angkor (9th-15th centuries C.E.)  – the world’s largest pre-industrial city – as an example.  An outrageous comparison between the Khmer King Suryavarman I (11th century C.E.) and the Vogon Constructor Fleet will also be made.

Dr Dan Penny is an Environmental Geoscientist with an interest in environmental change and its impact on society, and on the Earth System. Major research interests include the history of large-scale environmental processes in the Australasian region (monsoon, ENSO), and the impact of these processes on the terrestrial and near-shore/coastal ecosystems. Dan is currently producing high-resolution records of abrupt climate events in northeastern Cambodia and off the coast of Vietnam, and considering the interaction between social and natural resilience to climate change.

Wednesday 25 March, 4pm – 5pm

Dr Christine Eriksen (UOW) | Between Three Fires: Bushfire, Gender and Social Change

Dr Christine Eriksen is a social geographer with the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) and the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires (CERMB) at the University of Wollongong. Her research examines the role and place of local environmental knowledge in building resilience to natural disasters. A major part of this work focuses on the culturally and historically distinct gender relations that underpin wildfire resilience. Christine is the sole-author of ‘Gender and Wildfire: Landscapes of Uncertainty’. She has been a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) since 2001 and was selected by the International Social Science Council as a World Social Science ‘Risk Interpretation and Action’ Fellow in 2013.

Wednesday April 1st, 4pm – 5pm

Dr Robert Fisher (Geosciences) | TBC

Bob Fisher is an anthropologist. His PhD research was a study of human ecology, focusing on strategies for adapting to drought in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. He specialises in social and political ecological aspects of natural resource management, particularly involving community forestry. After working in Nepal with the then Nepal-Australia Forestry Project in the late 1980s, he taught at the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, before becoming Deputy Director of the Regional Community Forestry Training Center in Bangkok from 1997 to 2001. He has done research or consultancies in a wide variety of countries, including Mozambique, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Recent publications include “Linking Conservation and Poverty Reduction: Landscapes, People and Power” (Fisher et al, 2008. Earthscan) and the edited volume “Adaptive Collaborative Management of Community Forests in Asia: Experiences from Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines” (Fisher et al 2007, CIFOR). He aims to combine theoretical and applied interests and has a strong interest in action research and documentary video production. Bob is a Senior Lecturer in the School with a primary role as Senior Researcher with the Australian Mekong Resource Centre

Wednesday 15 April, 4pm – 5pm

Dr Eleanor Bruce (Geosciences) | A spatial framework for evaluating synergies and trade- offs within the water-energy-food nexus under changing climatic regimes

Eleanor Bruce’s research interests are in environmental spatial analysis and modelling. More specifically this research has focused on examining processes of habitat loss in urban coastal environments, the use of GIS and remote sensing in vegetation change detection and landscape heritage management, marine zone planning and evaluating the impact of spatial data uncertainty in environmental decision-making. Current research projects include examining coastal wetland response to changes in inter-tidal sedimentation rates in Sydney Harbour and investigating links between spatio-temporal pattern and processes of landscape change to facilitate longer-term vegetation monitoring in Angkor, Cambodia. Eleanor is currently working on collaborative research projects with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Ku-ring-gai Council, Department of Environment and Climate Change, APSARA and UNESCO.

Wednesday 22 April, 4pm – 5pm

A/Prof. Dale Dominey-Howes (Geosciences) | Seeing ‘the dark passenger’ – reflections on the emotional trauma of conducting post-disaster research

Associate Professor Dominey-Howes is a global leader in natural hazards and disaster risk reduction. His work spans the interface between the human and earth environments/sciences – exploring the characteristics of natural hazards (distributions, frequencies & magnitudes) and their impacts on people, communities and human systems. His work examines human hazard knowledge and perception, action and inaction. His goals are to enhance community resilience; reduce losses from natural disasters; and develop appropriate disaster risk reduction strategies.

Wednesday 29 April, 4pm – 5pm

Dr Jeff Neilson (Geosciences) | TBC

Jeff’s research focuses on natural resource management and rural economic development in South and Southeast Asia, with specific area expertise on Indonesia. These interests are explored through two complementary research programs. The first explores the livelihood implications of market engagement for smallholder farmers in the Global South using a value chain framework. The second examines emerging forms of environmental and resource governance arising from the confluence of conventional state structures, civil society organisations and market-driven regulation such as certification schemes and payments for ecosystem services.

Wednesday May 6th, 4pm – 5pm

Prof. Mark Patrick Taylor (Macquarie) | Licensed to pollute but not to poison

Mark is an environmental scientist with research, teaching and community advocacy interests in contaminated environments, human health, urban riparian systems and environmental law. He has a PhD from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in geomorphology and environmental science. In 1999 he came to Australia in to work at Macquarie University, where he is now a Professor in Environmental Science. He has also worked as a Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court between 2007 and 2009. Mark holds positions on natural resource advisory boards providing pro bono assistance and scientific support.

Wednesday May 13th, 4pm – 5pm

Prof. Graciela Metternicht (UNSW) | Using geospatial technologies for raising awareness on environmental degradation

Professor Graciela Metternicht is the Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW. Her research interests include environmental assessments, indicators of sustainable development, scenario planning, applications of optical, IR and microwave remote sensing and GIS for mapping and monitoring, agricultural landscapes, rangelands, land degradation, spatial analysis and modelling with emphasis on fuzzy logic and fuzzy sets, soft image classifiers.

Wednesday 20 May, 4pm – 5pm

Dr Josh Whittaker (RMIT) | Australian hazards geography: a review

Joshua is a Research Fellow with RMIT University’s Centre for Risk and Community Safety. His research focuses on community vulnerability and resilience to a range of environmental hazards and disasters, as well as issues of climate change adaptation in the emergency management sector.

Wednesday 27 May, 4pm – 5pm

Dr Josephine Gillespie (Geosciences) | Environmental Protection and Regulatory Failure: the view through a geographical lens

Jo is a geographer with a background in both law and geography. Jo completed her PhD thesis in 2010 with research investigating landscape regulation at the World Heritage property at Angkor, Cambodia. For this research Jo was an APAI on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project. Jo’s research links geography and law under the broad categories of legal geography and environmental regulation. This scholarship explores links between law, place and society. Jo’s interests focus on the ways that regulatory frameworks shape and form landscapes by restricting, manipulating and/or enabling the way in which people interact in their environs. Jo’s research is also concerned with the interaction between human rights and environmental issues. Jo is a qualified lawyer who, prior to returning to academia, worked for many years in the legal profession and she has worked as a Judicial Associate in both Federal and State jurisdictions. In 2012 Jo received an appointment as a Visiting Fellow with the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

Wednesday 3 June, 4pm – 5pm

Rebecca Hamilton (Geosciences) | A palaeo-approach to assessing the resilience of south- east Asian dry forests to monsoon extremes

Rebecca Hamilton is a PhD candidate. Her project seeks to retrospectively assess how mainland south-east Asian dry forests have responded to variations in monsoon intensity since the mid-Holocene in order to gauge how resilient or sensitive they may be to future changes of a similar magnitude. This will be achieved by establishing proxy records of ecological, land use and climatic change from the application of palynological techniques to sediment cores extracted from several closed-catchment crater lakes in the Ratanakiri province of north-east Cambodia.

Tegan Hall (Geosciences) | Iron and Fire: geoarchaeological history of a Khmer industrial city during the decline of the Angkor Kingdom

Tegan Hall is a PhD candidate. Her project aims to employ a systems theory approach in the analysis of the devolution of complex, low-density societies. Using the Khmer Empire as a case study, it will investigate the power of a subset of systems theory – network theory – in explaining the structural and spatial disintegration of the kingdom. This project will use palaeoenvironmental techniques to reconstruct landscape histories (and from which infer settlement occupation histories) of a number of peripheral settlements throughout the kingdom from the beginning of the Angkor period to the Empire’s collapse, and onward through Cambodia’s transition to modernity. Moving beyond the reductionist approach of causal correlation models and toward one that captures the broader, dynamic principles at work in human-environment systems (without ignoring the more complex and multivariant inputs specific to each case) will provide necessary insight into the resiliency or vulnerability of complex societies and contribute to the understanding of the processes governing complex systems in general.