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Gibbs, Leah Dr

Senior Lecturer in Geography

  • School of Geography & Sustainable Communities
  • Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS)
  • Head of Postgraduate Studies - School of Geography and Sustainable Communities 2016 -
  • Chair - Institute of Australian Geographers Equity Reference Group 2018 -
  • Associate Editor - People and Nature (British Ecological Society) 2018 -
  • Higher Degree Research Coordinator - Faculty of Social Sciences 2019 -
  • Councillor - Institute of Australian Geographers 2014 - 2018

Overview


I am fascinated by people’s interactions with nature. My research focuses on cultural practices and values, and on the politics and processes of governing environments. I am particularly interested in how we negotiate ‘troublesome encounters’ with nature; be that how people use and value water in arid landscapes, negotiate protection of species that may pose a threat to human life, livelihood or valued environment, or make decisions about invasive species in the context of growing environmental change and uncertainty.

I am a human geographer, and my research emerges from training across the disciplines of geography and Indigenous Studies. This training has shaped my interest in learning and communicating across disciplines and with broader audiences. I am a field-based researcher with experience working in arid and coastal Australia, northern Britain, and Tanzania.

Publications in press:
Gibbs L, Fetterplace L, Rees M, Hanich Q (In press) 'Effects and effectiveness of lethal shark hazard management: the Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program, NSW, Australia' People and Nature (accepted October 2019)

Gibbs L, Williams K, Hamylton S, Ihlein L (In press) '"Rock the Boat": song-writing as geographical practice' Cultural Geographies (accepted October 2019) 

Pratt S, Marambio C, Quigley K, Hamylton S, Gibbs L, Vergés A, Adams M, Barcan R, Neimanis A (In press) 'Fathom' Environmental Humanities (accepted September 2019)

Gibbs L (2019) 'Animal Geographies I: hearing the cry and extending beyond' Progress in Human Geography doi.org/10.1177/0309132519863483

Wilkinson C, Gibbs L & Waitt G (2019) 'The questionnaire survey as more-than-human achievement' Area doi.org/10.1111/area.12577

Williams K, Hamylton S, Ihlein L & Gibbs L (In press) ‘Sustaining the seas through interdisciplinary songwriting’ in Probyn E and Johnston K (Eds) Sustaining the Seas: oceanic space and the politics of care. Rowman & Littlefield (accepted April 2019)

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • I am currently working on the following research projects: 

    Human
    -shark encounter
    Sharks have come to be the focus of intense public and policy debate in recent years. My research examines the cultures and politics of human-shark encounter and shark hazard management.

    To date my work has focused on experiences and views of ocean-users in Western Australia (with Andrew Warren, UOW), and interdisciplinary critique of the effects and effectiveness of lethal shark hazard management in New South Wales (with Lachlan Fetterplace, Matt Rees and Quentin Hanich, UOW).

    I am working with an interdisciplinary group of researchers on Project AIRSHIP—a trial of non-lethal shark surveillance technology (with Kye Adams, Allison Broad, Andy Davis and Wanqing Li, UOW), and am contributing to a NSW Department of Primary Industry grant to further investigate new non-lethal shark hazard management technologies (with Gorkin and colleagues).

    Mapping the Islands: how art and science can save the Great Barrier Reef
    This project uses arts-science collaboration to investigate and communicate about climate change. With coastal scientist Sarah Hamylton and artists Lucas Ihlein and Kim Williams, this UOW Global Challenges-funded project explores the efficacy of mapping, drawing, story-telling and other forms of communicating to interrogate the contemporary environmental and social changes that are altering the Great Barrier Reef. In 2017 this iconic Australian coastal landscape underwent a second consecutive mass bleaching event. Driven by carbon emissions and global practices of consumption, this environmental issue represents a truly global challenge. Through this project we are exploring non-traditional scholarly outputs, including music. Here's our first song: 'Rock the Boat'.

    A Love of County: mapping and re-imagining a UOW Geography curriculum
    This project, funded by a University of Wollongong Jindaola Indigenous Knowledge grant, creates an opportunity for colleagues in the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities to pay attention, explicitly and carefully, to the ways that geographic knowledge is produced and practiced, and to further embed Indigenous knowledges and perspectives into the curriculum. Working with Laura Hammersley, Vanessa Cavanagh, Jenny Atchison, Chantel Carr, Gillian Gregory and Michael Adams, and PhD students Carrie Wilkinson, Hilton Penfold and Craig Lyons, we seek to engage our whole of School to map the existing UOW geography curriculum and rethink how we can support our students to effectively and respectfully engage with Indigenous knowledges across our teaching.

    Hope and Grief in the Geography classroom
    Human geography courses frequently touch on distressing material: the inevitability of climate change, food insecurity, the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, and child labour, to name a few. Discussions of how to communicate such information in the public sphere have garnered some attention, with concerns being raised that a ‘doom and gloom’ approach may be disempowering and counterproductive. This project (with Natascha Klocker, Charlie Gillon, Jenny Atchison and Gordon Waitt) engages the existing evidence base around strategies for communicating challenging issues, bringing the focus to the undergraduate classroom.

     


      

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications


Impact Story


Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


  • I am interested in supervising research students working on the following topics:

    • Human-shark encounter
    • Human-wildlife conflict and co-existence
    • Cultures of water
    • Urban natures

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Saving Water for a Rainy Day: thinking through the materiality, agency and assemblage of water tanks and tank water in a changing climate Wilkinson, Carrie
    Doctor of Philosophy Children’s Play Encounters: Materiality and More-than-Human Theory Kent, Kiera
    Master of Philosophy -SOC Moisture in vulnerable households: an interdisciplinary approach Pham, Vivian
    Doctor of Philosophy Anthro-zooecological Geographies of Île de la Réunion: Understanding Local Perceptions of Nonhuman Animals and Their Roles in Natural and Cultural Heritage Management through Landscape Analysis and Ethnography McClung, Rebecca

Education And Training


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies 2006
  • B Science (Hon) in (Human Geography; Resource & Environmental Studies; Aboriginal Studies), Macquarie University, Department of Human Geography 1999

Full Name


  • Dr Leah M. Gibbs

Mailing Address


  • School of Geography and Sustainable Communities

    University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave.

    Wollongong

    NSW

    2522

    Australia

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • I am currently working on the following research projects: 

    Human
    -shark encounter
    Sharks have come to be the focus of intense public and policy debate in recent years. My research examines the cultures and politics of human-shark encounter and shark hazard management.

    To date my work has focused on experiences and views of ocean-users in Western Australia (with Andrew Warren, UOW), and interdisciplinary critique of the effects and effectiveness of lethal shark hazard management in New South Wales (with Lachlan Fetterplace, Matt Rees and Quentin Hanich, UOW).

    I am working with an interdisciplinary group of researchers on Project AIRSHIP—a trial of non-lethal shark surveillance technology (with Kye Adams, Allison Broad, Andy Davis and Wanqing Li, UOW), and am contributing to a NSW Department of Primary Industry grant to further investigate new non-lethal shark hazard management technologies (with Gorkin and colleagues).

    Mapping the Islands: how art and science can save the Great Barrier Reef
    This project uses arts-science collaboration to investigate and communicate about climate change. With coastal scientist Sarah Hamylton and artists Lucas Ihlein and Kim Williams, this UOW Global Challenges-funded project explores the efficacy of mapping, drawing, story-telling and other forms of communicating to interrogate the contemporary environmental and social changes that are altering the Great Barrier Reef. In 2017 this iconic Australian coastal landscape underwent a second consecutive mass bleaching event. Driven by carbon emissions and global practices of consumption, this environmental issue represents a truly global challenge. Through this project we are exploring non-traditional scholarly outputs, including music. Here's our first song: 'Rock the Boat'.

    A Love of County: mapping and re-imagining a UOW Geography curriculum
    This project, funded by a University of Wollongong Jindaola Indigenous Knowledge grant, creates an opportunity for colleagues in the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities to pay attention, explicitly and carefully, to the ways that geographic knowledge is produced and practiced, and to further embed Indigenous knowledges and perspectives into the curriculum. Working with Laura Hammersley, Vanessa Cavanagh, Jenny Atchison, Chantel Carr, Gillian Gregory and Michael Adams, and PhD students Carrie Wilkinson, Hilton Penfold and Craig Lyons, we seek to engage our whole of School to map the existing UOW geography curriculum and rethink how we can support our students to effectively and respectfully engage with Indigenous knowledges across our teaching.

    Hope and Grief in the Geography classroom
    Human geography courses frequently touch on distressing material: the inevitability of climate change, food insecurity, the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, and child labour, to name a few. Discussions of how to communicate such information in the public sphere have garnered some attention, with concerns being raised that a ‘doom and gloom’ approach may be disempowering and counterproductive. This project (with Natascha Klocker, Charlie Gillon, Jenny Atchison and Gordon Waitt) engages the existing evidence base around strategies for communicating challenging issues, bringing the focus to the undergraduate classroom.

     


      

Selected Publications


Impact Story


Potential Supervision Topics


  • I am interested in supervising research students working on the following topics:

    • Human-shark encounter
    • Human-wildlife conflict and co-existence
    • Cultures of water
    • Urban natures

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Saving Water for a Rainy Day: thinking through the materiality, agency and assemblage of water tanks and tank water in a changing climate Wilkinson, Carrie
    Doctor of Philosophy Children’s Play Encounters: Materiality and More-than-Human Theory Kent, Kiera
    Master of Philosophy -SOC Moisture in vulnerable households: an interdisciplinary approach Pham, Vivian
    Doctor of Philosophy Anthro-zooecological Geographies of Île de la Réunion: Understanding Local Perceptions of Nonhuman Animals and Their Roles in Natural and Cultural Heritage Management through Landscape Analysis and Ethnography McClung, Rebecca

Education And Training


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies 2006
  • B Science (Hon) in (Human Geography; Resource & Environmental Studies; Aboriginal Studies), Macquarie University, Department of Human Geography 1999

Full Name


  • Dr Leah M. Gibbs

Mailing Address


  • School of Geography and Sustainable Communities

    University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave.

    Wollongong

    NSW

    2522

    Australia

Research Areas