Our People

Australian bushland 

The Environmental Humanities Research Network

Our researchers

Robyn Bartel

Robyn BartelDr Robyn Bartel has qualifications in law, science and education and has been working in the field of environmental regulatory theory and legal geography for over ten years. Robyn's research encompasses regulation, regulatory agencies and the regulated, as well as the social, institutional and natural landscape in which all are situated.

Boyd Blackwell

Dr Boyd BlackwellDr Boyd Blackwell is an applied economist with the UNE Business School having completed a research program on the interface between remote communities (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders) and enduring value from mining for the former CRC for Remote Economic Participation. Boyd also has over 20 years of experience in teaching and practicing the economic valuation of environmental and social services (including ecosystem goods and services, life saving services, invasive species).

He is currently the President of the Australia New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics (ANZSEE) and along with the support of colleagues, successfully delivered UNE's hosting of the society's biennial conference in 2015: Thriving Through Transformation: Local to Global Sustainability. In 2017 as part of the research outputs from the conference, he co-edited a special issue of abstracts and papers with the International Journal of Rural Law and Policy, the ANZSEE conference proceedings of papers, and presentation recordings — all of which are open access.

He likes to work as part of multidisciplinary teams to help solve the world's problems, and enjoys riding his bike to work.

Marty Branagan

Marty BranaganDr Marty Branagan has written extensively on the connections between environmental and peace issues, such as through his 2013 book — Global Warming, Militarism and Nonviolence: The Art of Active Resistance — which examines the carbon footprint of war and militarism, and how to reduce it through, inter alia, nonviolent direct action and constructive programmes. He has also written about learning in social movements; the use of humour; nonviolence against ruthless regimes; and developments in nonviolence and artistic activism which have occurred during Australian environmental movements.

Marty's contributions to the 2014 special edition of International Journal of Rural Law and Policy'Mining in a Sustainable World' — arose from the 2013 UNE conference ‘Mining in a Sustainable World: Environmental, Social, and Political Economic Issues’.

Liz Charpleix

Liz Charpleix on a sleigh pulled by huskies in the snow. Liz Charpleix is a PhD candidate and a member of WRaIN, the Water Research and Innovation Network, at UNE. With previous tertiary studies in hospitality, business, arts, fine arts and accounting, and careers in hospitality management and public accounting, she is now researching the ways in which water is, could and should be valued.

She has begun publishing her work, with one peer-reviewed paper, 'The Whanganui River as Te Awa Tupua: place-based law in a legally pluralistic society', published in The Geographical Journal in March 2018, and a chapter titled ‘Accounting for water: From past practices to future possibilities’ in the anthology Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation: Interdisciplinary Approaches, (Routledge, 2018) edited by Robyn Bartel, Louise Noble, Jacqueline Williams and Stephen Harris.

Michael Allen Fox

Michael Allen FoxProfessor Fox is an Adjunct Professor in School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Queen's University (Canada).

Michael taught courses in environmental philosophy, environmental ethics, and ethics and animals for many years. He has given numerous conference presentations and interviews and has published extensively in these areas. Michael has worked as an advisor and consultant for a diverse range of animal welfare and animal research-sponsoring organizations in Canada, the USA, and Australia.

An eclectic scholar, Michael's research interests include: the value of nature; the philosophical grounds for vegetarianism; and interspecies ethics. His most recent book is Home: A Very Short Introduction, which discusses (among other topics) the importance of place and environment in relation to the concept and meaning of home. Michael contributed a chapter on 'The Value of Water' to the 2018 anthology Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation (edited by Robyn BartelLouise Noble, Stephen Harris and Jacqueline Williams.)

Jennifer Hamilton

Jennifer HamiltonDr Jennifer Mae Hamilton is Lecturer in Literary Studies and researches in the area of interdisciplinary feminist environmental humanities and ecocriticism. Her work explores the relationship between meteorology and anthropogenic structures that moderate the human-weather relation (like narratives and drains). Her first book, This Contentious Storm: An Ecocritical and Performance History of King Lear (2017), is available open access through Bloomsbury Collections.

With Astrida Neimanis she developed COMPOSTING Feminisms and Environmental Humanities reading and research group in 2015 and co-convenes the Hacking the Anthropocene events. And with Tessa Zettel, Kate Wright, Astrida Neimanis and Rebecca Giggs, Jennifer is one fifth of The Weathering Collective.

She tweets @bicycleuser and keeps an intermittent research blog, Weathering the City.

[Image: Walking in the Rain, devised for Performance Space. Photo: Alex Wisser, 2011.]

Stephen Harris

Stephen HarrisDr Stephen Harris teaches in the field of literary studies, with particular interests in American Literature, the 19th and 20th century novel and the historical novel. His research interests include eco-critical perspectives on the relationship between literature and the environment, the poetics of nature writing, and representations of the environment in contemporary Australian literature. As a member of the interdisciplinary research group WRaIN (Water Research and Innovation Network), he is the co-editor of and contributing author to a collection of interdisciplinary essays on the subject of water in Australia, Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Routledge, 2017), and is presently collaborating on another collection of essays focusing on wilderness.

Amy Lykins

Dr Amy Lykins is Associate Professor in Psychology at UNE and a registered clinical psychologist. She is also Co-Director of the Environmental Psychology Research Group. Her work in environmental psychology primarily involves the intersection between mental health and the environment. She has completed projects on climate change and mental health in rural Fijians, maintained vs 'wild' nature exposure and mental health and nature connectedness, and mental health sequelae of natural disaster exposure in second responders. Dr Lykins is currently investigating biophilia and its relationship to pro-environmental behaviours, and personality and mental health factors associated with decision-making when faced with a natural disaster using virtual reality. She is also interested in human-animal interactions and animal ethics, and has completed projects on equine-assisted therapy and cognitive dissonance associated with the 'meat paradox'.

Paul Martin

Paul MartinProfessor Paul Martin is the Director of the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law in the School of Law. His interests include rural landscape governance, and the effectiveness, efficiency and fairness of legal arrangements. He is a member of the Governing Board of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.

Louise Noble

Louie NobleLouise Noble's research area is early modern English literature and culture with a focus on the relationship between literature, culture and the natural world in early modern England and extending to post eighteenth-century Australia. Specifically she is interested in the imaginary history of water and how different representational forms, such as literature, music and art, shape resilient cultural approaches to water and what we can learn from this for the future. She is presently working on a book on water management in sixteenth and seventeenth-century rural England and its ideological and metaphorical constructs.

Louise is a member of WRaIN, the Water Research and Innovation Network at UNE, and with Robyn Bartel, Stephen Harris and Jacqueline Williams is currently co-editing an interdisciplinary book titled, Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation: Interdisciplinary Approaches, under contract with Routledge Press in their Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management series.

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Melissa Parsons

Melissa ParsonsDr Melissa Parsons is a river scientist with broad-ranging research interests in rivers as social-ecological systems. She has worked in the fields of monitoring and assessment, large flood disturbances, river ecology, river and floodplain resilience, building resilience to natural hazards, public policy and water resource management. Melissa works at the interface between theoretical and applied science, examining the ways that emerging theories such as resilience can be applied to deliver natural resource management outcomes.

Melissa has worked on several national-scale environmental assessments including the National Carbon Accounting System and the AUSRIVAS river health assessment. Her post-doctoral research examined the ecological effects of the February 2000 floods across southern Africa on the rivers of Kruger National Park. Melissa currently co-leads a project within the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to develop an Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index.

Melissa teaches natural hazards and river science at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia.

John Ryan

Dr John Ryan standing on a rock near a creek with his reflection on the water.John Charles Ryan is a poet and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UNE. His current project, ‘The Botanical Imagination: Poetry as a Means for Inspiring Ecological Appreciation and Community Wellbeing’, explores the potential of poetry to redefine human-plant relationships. The research combines creative, critical and community-based approaches focused on the floristic diversity of the Northern Tablelands of NSW.

John’s teaching, supervision and research cross between the environmental and digital humanities. He is the author or editor of the research books Digital Arts (Bloomsbury, 2014, as co-author), The Language of Plants (University of Minnesota Press, 2017, as contributing co-editor), Plants in Contemporary Poetry (Routledge, 2017, as author), Southeast Asian Ecocriticism (Lexington Books, 2017, as contributing editor) and Forest Family (Brill, 2018, as contributing editor).

Neil Taylor

Neil TaylorProfessor Neil Taylor coordinates the Education for Sustainability Network at the School of Education. The major collaborative project being undertaken by this network involves producing an edited book, Teaching for the future: Educating for sustainability in primary schools. This will comprise 15 chapters and involve 14 current staff in the School of Education along with a five former staff members. This book is intended for primary teacher educators, pre-service primary students and practicing primary teachers. The publishing contract is with Sense Publishers, an international publishing house based in the Netherlands, and the book will be published early in 2015.

Neil is also currently involved in a $400,000 school gardening research project in the Sultanate of Oman in collaboration with the Sultan Qaboos University. This project is been funded by the Omani Research Council.

Rose Williamson

Rose WilliamsonRose Williamson is currently undertaking a research project on the rhetoric of resilience and natural disaster in Australia. The project examines parliamentary speeches (federal and state), press reports and magazine articles on the responses to natural disaster made by Australians from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. It seeks to identify the ways in which these responses define Australians nationally and regionally, and in relation to the natural environment. Rose is a member of WRaIN, the Water Research and Innovation Network at UNE.

Kate Wright

Kate WrightKate Wright is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of New England, Armidale. The focus of her research is the important role played by more-­than-human communities in working toward social and environmental justice, with a particular emphasis on decolonisation in Australia. Her current project is a collaboration with Armidale’s Aboriginal community to develop and maintain a community garden at the old East Armidale Aboriginal Reserve site as an activist platform for Aboriginal reclamation and cultural revival. This public environmental humanities research project experiments with novel multispecies assemblages and more-than-human methodologies to develop alternatives to neoliberal, colonial and anthropocentric modes of living and thinking. Kate recently published her first monograph, focused on decolonising philosophy and writing through intimate, embodied and situated encounters with the more-than-human world, titled Transdisciplinary Journeys in the Anthropocene: More-than-human Encounters in the Routledge Environmental Humanities Series (2017). Kate holds a PhD from Macquarie University that received the Vice Chancellors Commendation for Excellence in Research, and is co-editor of the Living Lexicon section of the Environmental Humanities journal.

Further information