Dr David Curtis

Adjunct Research Fellow - Institute for Rural Futures (IRF)

David Curtis

Phone: +61 2 6773 2220

Email: irf@une.edu.au


David has over 30 years of practical and theoretical experience of revegetation, farm forestry, landcare and conservation in rural and urban areas in Australia. His career has included work as a national and regional manager, university lecturer, environmental educator, researcher and policy adviser in the non-government, university and public sectors. His ecological research included a 10-year study into the regeneration and rehabilitation of ecosystems impacted by rural dieback. His trans-disciplinary sociology research through the Institute of Rural Futures and the School of Ecosystem Management at UNE examined the role that the arts have in shaping environmental attitudes and behaviours. He found that the arts could significantly affect environmental attitudes through aiding in the communication of environmental information, creating empathy for the natural environment, and catalysing ecological sustainability. He has organised several large community arts events and is founder, and current president, of EcoArts Australis Inc., a group dedicated to using the arts to further environmental sustainability. He is currently writing a book with three colleagues on New England Dieback and the community's response to it.

Research Interests

  • Building community capacity to address challenges in natural resource management.
  • Long term health of ecosystems affected by rural dieback.
  • Roles of the arts in environmental education and shaping attitudes towards climate change.
  • Using the arts to build capacity for Landcare and natural resource management.


Curtis, D.J., Reid, N. and Reeve, I. 2014. Towards ecological sustainability: observations on the role of the arts. S.A.P.I.EN.S. Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society 7(1), 15p.

Curtis, D.J., Howden, M., Curtis, F., McColm, I., Scrine, J., Blomfield, T., Reeve, I., and Ryan, T. 2013. Drama and environment: joining forces to engage children and young people in environmental education. Australian Journal of Environmental Education 29(2), 182–201.

Curtis, D.J. and Anguilar, L. 2013. (editors) Linking Art and the Environment: Proceedings of the first EcoArts Australis Conference, 12-13 May 2013, Wollongong, NSW. Wollongong: EcoArts Australis Inc.

Curtis, D. J., N. Reid and G. Ballard. 2012. Communicating Ecology Through Art: What Scientists Think. Ecology and Society 17 (2): 3.

Curtis, D.J. 2012. Articulating a critical voice: artists who 'rattle the cage' for the environment. In The art of social critique: painting mirrors of social life. S.C. Bingham (Ed.). Lexington Books, Chapter 20, pp.491 [20].

Curtis, D.J. 2011. Using the arts to raise awareness, and communicate environmental information in the extension context. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension 17(2), 181-194.

Curtis, D.J. 2011. Towards a culture of landcare: the arts in community capacity building for natural resources management. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management13(4), 673-696.

Curtis, D.J. 2010. Plague and the Moonflower: a regional community celebrates the environment. Music and Arts in Action, 3(1), 65-85.

Curtis, D.J. 2009. Creating inspiration: the role of the arts in creating empathy for ecological restoration. Ecological Management and Restoration 10(3), 174-184.

Curtis, D.J. 2008. The Farmer as Artist: towards an ecological aesthetic. Agroforestry News, 62, 5-7.

Curtis, D.J. and Curtis, F.M. 2006. Performance and environmental awareness. In The Universal Mosaic of Drama/Theatre: The IDEA 2004 Dialogues, pp. 257-268. Edited by L.A. McCammon and D. McLauchlin, IDEA publications, City East, Qld.

Curtis, D.J. 2006. Mobilising rural communities to achieve environmental sustainability using the arts. Agricultural Economics Review. 17: 15-25.

Curtis, D. 2003. The vegetation of New England as described by early settlers and travellers 1830-1880. Armidale and District Historical Society 46: 1-10.

Curtis, D.J. 2003. The arts and restoration: a fertile partnership? Ecological Management and Restoration 4: 163-169.

Curtis, D., Sandstrom, M and Carr, D. 2001. Combining Nature Conservation with Production through Farm Forestry in Northern New South Wales, Australia. In Nature Conservation 5: Managing the Matrix. Surrey Beatty & Sons.

Curtis, D. 2001. A Socio-ecology extension model for managing native vegetation – experiences in Northwest N.S.W. Land and Water Australia Vegetation Arena Research and Development Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, CD.

Carr, D.B. and Curtis, D.J. 2000. Plants in Your Pants II: A pocket guide to the trees and shrubs of the Northwest plains of N.S.W. Greening Australia, Armidale N.S.W.

Curtis, D., Nadolny, C. and Ford, H.A. 1995 Lessons from a Network of Dieback Repairers, In Nature Conservation 4: The Role of Networks, Surrey Beatty & Sons, pp. 175-186.

Curtis, D. 1992. Trees on farms: the next decade. Australian Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 4(4): 9-15.