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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)
  • 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 -
  • Head of Postgraduate Studies - School of Geography and Sustainable Communities 2015 - 2019
  • Councillor - Institute of Australian Geographers 2014 - 2018

Overview


I am a social and cultural geographer. I’m driven by a desire to understand and address environmental damage, inequities and injustices.

My work takes two broad approaches:

  1. To interrogate mechanisms of environmental damage, including through processes of colonisation, policy, governance and carelessness.
  2. To explore how people maintain and create relationships with nature in the face of degradation, through cultural practices.

I draw on concepts and methods from cultural geography, more-than-human approaches, environmental governance, and interdisciplinary scholarship.

Examples of my current research projects are listed below, under 'Research overview'.


Publications in press:

Gibbs L (Forthcoming) 'Animal Geographies II: killing and caring (in times of crisis)' Progress in Human Geography

Gibbs L (2020) 'Agency in human–shark encounter' Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848620929942 

Gibbs L, Fetterplace L, Rees M, Hanich Q (2020) 'Effects and effectiveness of lethal shark hazard management: the Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program, NSW, Australia' People and Nature 2(1) 189–203 https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10063 

Williams K, Hamylton S, Ihlein L & Gibbs L (2020) ‘Sustaining the seas through interdisciplinary songwriting’ in Probyn E, Johnston K & Lee N (Eds) Sustaining the Seas: oceanic space and the politics of care. Rowman & Littlefield International, London & New York, pp281–92 (rowman.com/ISBN/9781786612830/Sustaining-Seas-Oceanic-Space-and-the-Politics-of-Care)

Pratt S, Marambio C, Quigley K, Hamylton S, Gibbs L, Vergés A, Adams M, Barcan R, Neimanis A (2020) 'Fathom' Environmental Humanities 12(1) 173–8 https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-8142264

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Human-shark encounter
    Sharks have become 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); 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); and a trial of non-lethal shark surveillance technology Project AIRSHIP (with Kye Adams, Allison Broad, Andy Davis and Wanqing Li, UOW).

    In the public realm I have contributed to a Commonwealth of Australia Senate Inquiry and legal proceedings in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal regarding shark hazard management around Australia.

    Mapping the Islands: how art and science can save the Great Barrier Reef
    This project uses interdisciplinary 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, Craig Lyons and Makrita Solitei, 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 in the following areas:

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

    Current postgraduate students are listed below ('Graduate Advising Relationship'). 

    Past postgraduate students:

    Charlie Gillon (PhD, 2018) ‘Houses built on sand: Rethinking cultures of homemaking, nature and finance in a coastal master-planned estate’. Primary supervisor; co-supervised with Prof. Chris Gibson
     
    Nicholas Skilton (PhD, 2017) ‘Privilege and marginalization in Australia’s national imaginary: constructions of mining and sex worker identities through technologies of power’. Co-supervised with Prof. Chris Gibson
     
    Ellen van Holstein (PhD, 2017) ‘Community and Ownership: a relational study of community gardens’. Co-supervised with Prof. Lesley Head
     
    Katie O’Neal (MEnvSc, 2016) ‘Improving coastal management outcomes through science and the law’. Primary supervisor; co-supervised with Prof. Richard Kenchington (Australian National Centre for Ocean Research and Security)
     
    Andrew Wilbur (PhD, 2012) ‘Seeding alternatives: Back-to-the-land migration and alternative agro-food networks in Northern Italy’. Primary supervisor; co-supervised with Dr Jo Sharp (University of Glasgow) and Prof. Jane Jacobs (University of Edinburgh)

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
    Master of Philosophy -SOC Exploring Perceptions and Policies Concerning Shark Mitigation on the East Coast of Australia. Mifsud, Teaniel

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


  • Human-shark encounter
    Sharks have become 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); 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); and a trial of non-lethal shark surveillance technology Project AIRSHIP (with Kye Adams, Allison Broad, Andy Davis and Wanqing Li, UOW).

    In the public realm I have contributed to a Commonwealth of Australia Senate Inquiry and legal proceedings in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal regarding shark hazard management around Australia.

    Mapping the Islands: how art and science can save the Great Barrier Reef
    This project uses interdisciplinary 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, Craig Lyons and Makrita Solitei, 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 in the following areas:

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

    Current postgraduate students are listed below ('Graduate Advising Relationship'). 

    Past postgraduate students:

    Charlie Gillon (PhD, 2018) ‘Houses built on sand: Rethinking cultures of homemaking, nature and finance in a coastal master-planned estate’. Primary supervisor; co-supervised with Prof. Chris Gibson
     
    Nicholas Skilton (PhD, 2017) ‘Privilege and marginalization in Australia’s national imaginary: constructions of mining and sex worker identities through technologies of power’. Co-supervised with Prof. Chris Gibson
     
    Ellen van Holstein (PhD, 2017) ‘Community and Ownership: a relational study of community gardens’. Co-supervised with Prof. Lesley Head
     
    Katie O’Neal (MEnvSc, 2016) ‘Improving coastal management outcomes through science and the law’. Primary supervisor; co-supervised with Prof. Richard Kenchington (Australian National Centre for Ocean Research and Security)
     
    Andrew Wilbur (PhD, 2012) ‘Seeding alternatives: Back-to-the-land migration and alternative agro-food networks in Northern Italy’. Primary supervisor; co-supervised with Dr Jo Sharp (University of Glasgow) and Prof. Jane Jacobs (University of Edinburgh)

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
    Master of Philosophy -SOC Exploring Perceptions and Policies Concerning Shark Mitigation on the East Coast of Australia. Mifsud, Teaniel

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