Find Out About Our New Research Areas

SEI is happy to announce that we have established our new research areas: Oceans; Sustainable Materialism; Justice; Culture and Loss; Resilience, Adaptation & Transition; and Food Systems.


Our ‘Oceans’ research area will explore perspectives on oceanic environmental problems. Using the approaches of the environmental humanities, we aim is to offer new perspectives on the social and environmental challenges confronting our oceans and their ecologies.

This research area will also include a joint project collaboration with the Sydney Environment Institute, the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network and Global Environment and Society Academy at the University of Edinburgh, which aims to develop research collaborations between scholars in environmental humanities and social sciences at the University of Sydney and Edinburgh.

Our projects under the ‘Oceans’ research area include The Great Barrier Reef, Ocean Imaginaries, Geology of the Reef, Underwater Realms, and Living with Changing Seas.

Sustainable Materialism

Our focus is examining systems of sustainable living, at a grassroots level by paying attention to the materials we use in our everyday lives – where they come from, the environmental impacts of their production, and the conditions of the people and workers who make or provide them.

‘Sustainable Materialism’ research projects include Environmentalism of Everyday Life, The Sustainable Fish Lab, and Fashioning Sustainability.


SEI’s focus on ‘Justice’ as a research area, will explore the ways of addressing environmental injustice in the development of policy through Cultural respect, recognition, and inclusion; Improved political engagement, participation, and procedures; and a focus on the provision of the basic needs and capabilities of individuals and communities.

Our projects under ‘Justice’ are Environmental Justice and Climate Justice.

Culture & Loss

This research area provides a cross-disciplinary responses to the Anthropocene. Our focus centres on the cultural, social and political dimensions of the Anthropocene, and our task is to explore means of responding to the issues of future health threats, resource conflicts, economic injustices and mass global migrations.

Our ‘Culture & Loss’ research projects include Caring for Country; Understanding Australia in the Age of Humans; and Representing Art and Museums.

Resilience, Adaptation & Transition

Through this research area, we will address the ways communities, states, and nations must respond and transform in order to survive, evolve and adapt in a climate-changed and challenged society. Resilience is about Identifying and preparing for various chronic stresses (inequality, food, insecurity, health services) and acute shocks (heat waves, bushfires, flooding) to communities. Through ‘Adaptation’ and ‘Transition’ we encourage the changes necessary to adjust to climate change and create more sustainable engagement with the environment.

Early this year, SEI was awarded a Community Resilience Innovation Program (CRIP) grant by Emergency NSW to examine community perspectives on vulnerability and resilience, in partnership with Resilient Sydney. The project aims to develop an understanding of the experiences of vulnerable Sydney residents during and after shock events across urban metropolitan Sydney, with the goal of informing and improving the organizational capability of responding agencies and the community themselves.

Our projects under this research area are Energy security and climate adaptation in Australia, Hotspots in Australian climate adaptation, ‘Anastasia,’  The Balanced Enterprise Research Network, and The Citizen experience of shock climate events.

Food Systems

Through our ‘Food Systems’ research area SEI will facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration between food researchers on campus, and aims to drive research and public engagement that places food firmly in its systemic context. Our goal is to enable sustainable and equitable access to food.

Under this research area, SEI is collaborating with the City of Sydney to address food insecurity in the City. The project aims to involve citizens in participatory food systems planning, in the hope of developing a food hub and incubator as a means to address the systemic causes of food insecurity.

Our ‘Food Systems’ projects include Food Systems Planning Policy Lab, Food, People and the Planet, Supermarkets and Animals, Urban Food Security.