Associate Professor Robyn Bartel

Associate Professor - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Robyn Bartel

Phone: +61 2 6773 2904



PhD (Univ. of Melb.), Master of Higher Education (ANU), BSc(Hons)/LLB, University Medal in Geography (ANU)

Teaching Areas

The University of New England was the first university in Australia to offer a Bachelor of Sustainability. Robyn designed the course from scratch and it was first offered in 2011. This degree is pretty special because it covers human ‘stuff’ as well as environmental science. After all, if we don’t understand the humans, how can we possibly attempt to control climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation? The course provides a unique opportunity to develop skills and an understanding of sustainability in a holistic manner, integrating social science and humanities with environmental science. More info about the degree can be found at*/courses/BSUS. Robyn coordinates the degree, so if you have any questions, please ask her!

Robyn also teaches into the prestigious suite of awards in urban and regional planning offered by UNE, which are all professionally accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).

Robyn’s teaching areas are listed below. These subjects are also offered within the Geography Majors in the BA and the BSc, and are also available for study in many other degrees (just check with your course coordinator!).

GEPL324 Rural Planning and Resource Management
GEPL335/535 Environmental Planning and Administration
GEPL370/570 Place-making for people and the environment

Supervision Areas

  • Environmental and planning law and policy. Environmental regulation and governance
  • Legal Geography
  • Sustainability

Research Interests

Robyn’s unique background in law and geography means that legal geography is her thing (makes sense!). Legal geography is a pretty new-ish term for a very exciting area of scholarship that explores the interactions between people, place and our legal systems. Robyn is especially interested in ensuring that we all get to stay alive into the future, and, just to make sure we aren’t lonely when we get there, that all of our fellow creatures and mountains and rivers stay alive too. Robyn’s research in legal geography focuses on sustainability and human-environment relationships, especially as influenced by social institutions such as the law.

Robyn’s research is multi-award winning. That sounds impressive doesn’t it!? Here are some of the awards Robyn has won:

  • Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators Network (AELERT) Achievement Award, 2013.
  • UNE  Vice-Chancellor Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation, 2009.

Robyn also wins major competitive grants and these have led to many of the publications below. Robyn’s research is unique (that word again!) in that it is aimed at informing policy as well as advancing intellectual debates and pushing back the boundaries of knowledge. In addition to the publications listed below Robyn frequently makes public submissions in her areas of expertise.

If you would like to find out more about her research, and also postgraduate supervision, please contact Robyn using the details at the top of this page.

Research Supervision Experience

Current Postgraduate Students

Tim Marshall - Organic standards and certification in Australia: History, Challenges and Prospects

Katrina Dickson  - Making time for tea in the public sector: Natural resource management agencies as learning organisations (submitted)

Recently Graduated PhD Students

Dr Liz Charpleix  - What is water really worth? An analysis of innovative approaches to better appreciate the value of water - PhD

Dr Robert John Greenway - A Tale of Success in Improving Coastal Floodplain Water Quality: A Case Study from Northern New South Wales, Australia – PhD

Dr Paul McFarland  - Peri-urban planning in an age of limits - PhD

Dr Grant Pink - Environmental Regulation, Enforcement and Policing: an international analysis of existing and developing agency practice  - PhD and Chancellor's Medal


Publications (since 2011)


Bartel, R., Noble, L., Williams, J. and Harris, S. 2018 Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation. Routledge.

Book Chapters

Bartel, R.  2020. 'The other is us: Conservation, categories and the law', pp 167 - 184. In Tayanah O'Donnell, Daniel Robinson and Josephine Gillespie (eds) Legal Geography Perspectives and Methods, Routledge, pp 167 - 184.

Dickson, K., Bartel, R., Roux, D. and Alter, T. 2019. Achieving Organisational Learning for Natural Resource Management, in Martin, P., Alter, T., Hine, D. and Howard, T (eds). Community-based Control of Invasive Species, CSIRO Publishing. Chapter 3.

Bartel, R. and Graham, N. 2019. Ecological Reconciliation on Private Agricultural Land: Moving beyond the human-nature binary in property-environment contests, In Afshin Akhtar-Khavari and Ben Richardson (eds) Ecological Restoration Law: Concepts and Case Studies, Routledge. pp 93 – 118.

Harris, S., Bartel, R., Williams, J. and Noble, L. 2018. Introduction: Water policy in the Anthropocene, in Bartel, R., Noble, L., Williams, J. and Harris, S. (Eds) Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation, Routledge. Pp 1 – 21.

Bartel, R. Noble, L and Beck, W.  2018.  Quixotic water policy and the prudence of place-based voices (Chapter 11) in Bartel, R., Noble, L., Williams, J. and Harris, S. (Eds) Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation, Routledge. Pp. 211 – 233.

Bartel, R. Noble, L and Beck, W.  2018. Heterotic water policy futures using place agency, vernacular knowledge, transformative learning and syncretic governance (Chapter 12) in Bartel, R., Noble, L., Williams, J. and Harris, S. (Eds) Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation, Routledge.  Pp. 234 – 256.

Bartel, R. 2017 ‘Place-thinking: The hidden geography of environmental law’ in Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Victoria Brooks (eds) Handbook of Research Methods in Environmental Law, Edward Elgar. pp. 159 - 183.

Pink, G. and Bartel, R. 2015. ‘Regulator Networks: Collaborative Agency Approaches to the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law’ in Martin. P. and Kennedy, A. (eds). Implementing Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, Abingdon UK). pp. 308 – 338.

Bartel, R. and Bricknell, S. 2015. ‘Researchers and Practitioners: building collaboration for evidence-based policy-making’ in Pink, G. and White, R. (eds) Environmental Crime and Collaborative State Intervention (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke Hampshire). pp. 213-235.

Refereed Journal Articles

Bartel, R. 2019. Academic Freedom: an invitation to promote its advancement, Geographical Research. 57(3): 359-367. DOI:10.1111/1745-5871.12350

Bartel, R. 2018. Place-speaking: attending to the relational, material and governance messages of Silent Spring. Special themed section on "Legal pluralism, justice and spatial conflict: new directions in legal geography". The Geographical Journal. 184(1): 64-74.

Graham, N. and Bartel, R. 2017. Farmscapes: property, ecological restoration and the reconciliation of human and nature in Australian agriculture. Griffith Law Review. Special issue "Ecological restoration and the Law: recovering nature's past for the future". 26(2): 221 – 247. . (ERA A*)

Bartel, R. and Graham, N. 2016. Property and place attachment: a legal geographical analysis of biodiversity law reform in New South Wales. Geographical Research. 54 (3): 267 - 284

Bartel, R. 2016. Legal Geography, Geography and the research-policy nexus. Geographical Research. 54 (3): 233 - 244

Barclay, E. and Bartel, R. 2015. Defining Environmental Crime: the perspective of farmers, Journal of Rural Studies, 39: 188-198. (ERA A *)

Bartel, R. 2014. Vernacular knowledge and environmental law: cause and cure for regulatory failure, Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 19(8): 891-914. (ERA A).

Bartel, R., McFarland, P. and Hearfield, C. 2014. Taking a De-Binarized Envirosocial Approach to Reconciling the Environment vs Economy Debate: Lessons from Climate Change Litigation for Planning in NSW, Australia. Town Planning Review. 85(1): 67- 96.  (ERA A*)

Bartel, R., Graham, N., Jackson, S., Prior, J., Robinson, D., Sherval, M. and Williams, S. 2013. Legal Geography: An Australian Perspective. Geographical Research. 51(4): 339-353.

Hardy, J., Smith, S., Bartel, R., Littledyke, M., & Ryder, D. 2012. An Appraisal-based analysis of staff perceptions of recycling in an Australian regional university. Journal of Law and Social Sciences. 2(1): 139-147. ISSN 2251-2853

Bartel, R. and Barclay, E. 2011. Motivational postures and compliance with environmental law in Australian agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies. 27: 153 – 170. (ERA A *)

Refereed Conference Proceedings

Hardy, J., Smith, S., Bartel, R., Littledyke, M., and Ryder, D. 2013. A case study of staff perceptions of sustainability in an Australian regional university, Proceedings of the 1st Annual Multidisciplinary Studies on Sustainable Development International Conference, Phuket, Thailand, 10th - 12th January, 2013. Multidisciplinary Studies on Sustainable Development, International Studies (Social Sciences & Humanities) Paper No. 2, p. 1-10.

McFarland, P. and Bartel, R. 2012. Satisfactory performance by whose measure? The challenges of delivering a professional planning degree in a post-modern world at the University of New England, Armidale, The Australian and New Zealand Association of Planning Schools Conference, 21-23 September 2012, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria.

Bartel, R. and Stone, C. 2011. Lessons for environmental harmonisation: a rising tide that lifts all boats? Proceedings of the International Conference on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement, International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), 9th International Conference, 20-24 June, Whistler, BC, Canada.

Major Reports

Martin, P., Verbeek, M., Riley, S., Bartel, R. and le Gal, E. 2012. Innovations in institutions to improve weed funding, strategy and outcomes: Proposals for a national weed institutions research agenda, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, 12/091.

Bartel, R., Hine, D. and Morgan, M. 2012. High Country Urban Biodiversity Report: Social Monitoring and Evaluation, Research report to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), NSW. 80 pp.

Barclay, E. and Bartel, R. 2011. Order with and without the law: Understanding perceptions and attitudes towards formal and informal controls of natural resources. Report to the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Significant Project, Part 1: 197 p.

Barclay, E. and Bartel, R. 2011. Order with and without the law: Understanding perceptions and attitudes towards formal and informal controls of natural resources. Research report to the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Significant Project, Part 2: Community Consultations, 174 pp.

Beck, W. and Bartel, R. 2011. Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Offsets in Mining Areas, Research report to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), NSW. 97 pp.

Bartel, R., Stone, C., Martin, P. and White, R. 2011. Scoping of Harmonisation of Environmental Regulation and Regulatory Practice across Jurisdictions in Australia, Research report to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), NSW. 64 pp.

Bartel, R. 2010. Understanding the Native Vegetation Regulated Community, Regulatees' Perspectives of Land Clearance Laws & Enforcement: Perceptions in northern central NSW, Research report to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), NSW. 151 pp.


  • Geographical Research Editorial Board Member
  • Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) Vice-President (President Elect)
  • PIA (Planning Institute of Australia) Member