I am a geographer whose research examines human-environment relations, both conceptual and material. That is, I want to understand how humans have physically changed earth’s systems, how we think about our place in nature, and how these two things are connected. In recent years I have worked mostly in cultural geography, with projects on backyard gardens, wheat and invasive plants. This developed from my earlier interest in Aboriginal land use, ethnobotany and fire. I started my research career using palaeoecology and archaeology to study long term changes in the Australian landscape, and the interactions of prehistoric peoples with their environments.

Current Role

My current role is Head of the new School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. Our aim is to build a world-leading School in which both human and physical geography are strong and can collaborate to help meet pressing social and environmental challenges.

I came to this position from many years at the University of Wollongong, where I was most recently ARC Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER), and before that Head of the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences. I still retain strong research links with AUSCCER.

International Collaborations

My main international collaborations are with colleagues in Sweden and Norway, established during my periods as King Carl XVI Gustaf Visiting Professor in Environmental Science, Kristianstad University (2005-06) and Visiting Professor, Department of Human and Economic Geography, University of Göteborg, Sweden (2012-14).