Klocker, Natascha Dr.

Senior Lecturer, Social & Cultural Geography

  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • School of Geography and Sustainable Communities
  • Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS)

Research Overview


    • Immigration, inter-ethnic intimacy and racism
    • Ethnic diversity and environmental sustainability
    • Geographies of children and young people
    • Alternative research methodologies, including participatory action research
    • Parenting, gender equity and workplaces

    My long-term research interest is immigration and cultural diversity. I am motivated by a desire to understand how Australians from migrant backgrounds encounter diverse spaces and their experiences of racism. I started my research career with a focus on media representations of asylum seekers, but have more recently turned my attention to representations of inter-ethnic (or mixed ethnicity) couples. This latter research focus has expanded into a qualitative investigation of inter-ethnic couples’ place-specific experiences of belonging and discrimination.

    In recent years, my research has also extended to consider the ways in which Australians from migrant backgrounds feature, and participate in, national debates on population, environmental sustainability and climate change. I am the lead CI on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project that investigates the environmental knowledges and skills of migrants and refugees in Australia.

    My PhD research (UNSW, 2008) was focused on a quite different topic: child domestic work in Tanzania. While I am no longer explicitly engaged in research projects pertaining to children’s employment/labour, I have an enduring research interest in children’s and young people’s geographies. This is evident in a recent project exploring young Tanzanians’ use of plastic bag footballs, and in my supervision of student research projects on: ethnic diversity in children’s picture books; Generation Y and environmental sustainability; and children’s engagements with ‘nature’.

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • The Sunraysia Burundian Garden arose via a collaboration between researchers from UOW (Natascha Klocker) and the University of Melbourne (Lesley Head, Olivia Dun), former refugees from Burundi (living in Mildura) and Sunraysia Local Food Future. <br /><br />Many refugees come from agricultural backgrounds, but face obstacles to farming once in Australia. Our research in Mildura (funded via an ARC Discovery Project, 2014-2017) showed that many former refugees living in Australia have a desire to access land on which to grow culturally important crops, but can't afford to do so due to the cost of farmland. Some former refugees also struggle to access employment (due to low English fluency), and thus experience protracted unemployment. To date, the Federal Government has not put strategies in place that make the most of refugees’ existing skills as farmers, despite implementing a rural and regional refugee resettlement programme. Following interviews with Mildura's Burundian community, we organised a stakeholder workshop in Mildura in May 2016. The goal: how could we come together to match ‘landless’ refugee farmers with unused farmland? <br /><br />The workshop (hosted by Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council and Mildura Development Council) kick-started the Food Next Door (FND) project and the Sunraysia Burundian Garden. Following the workshop, volunteers from Sunraysia Local Food Future arranged access to one-acre of farmland; use of which was generously donated by a local business, Sunraysia Produce. The Burundian community planted their first crop of maize in September 2016, and this was successfully harvested in January 2017. The community will plant an additional crop in September/October 2017, and we are currently supporting them to apply for funding to purchase a maize milling machine to produce traditional maize flour: a staple part of the Burundian diet.<br /><br />In addition to a successful maize harvest, evaluation interviews have revealed multiple impacts. This project has contributed to the Burundian community's sense of belonging in Mildura, and also to their physical and mental wellbeing. It has enabled them to demonstrate their farming skills and knowledge to the broader Mildura community, through growing a culturally important food crop. The project has also reduced isolation, particularly for women, by providing a productive activity that they can work towards as a group. Equally, it has strengthened connections between the Burundian community and the broader Mildura community, and has supported inter-generational transfer of traditional farming practices between adult members of the Burundian community and their children.<br /><br />The project has generated positive spin-offs. The Burundian community has been offered an additional two acres of farmland, enabling their farming project to grow. Further, the success of our work in Mildura attracted publicity, leading farmers in Meroo Meadow (near Nowra) to approach us with a desire to do something similar. We were successful in attracting funding through a UOW Community Engagement Grant to make that happen. Finally, Food Next Door is seeking funding to create a community farm that extends the benefits of the Sunraysia Burundian Garden to a broader range of marginalised groups.

Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


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

    • Rural/regional refugee resettlement
    • Ethnic diversity, environmental sustainability and/or climate change adaptation
    • Migration and environmental knowledge (including agricultural knowledge)
    • Knowledge-transfers between Majority World (developing) and Minority World (developed) countries

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Living with children in apartments: sharing, materials and space Kerr, Sophie-May
    Doctor of Philosophy Children’s Play Encounters: Materiality and More-than-Human Theory Kent, Kiera
    Doctor of Philosophy Growing cultures: Cultivating culturally diverse ecological knowledge Gopal, Ananth
    Doctor of Philosophy Climate change adaptation in culturally-diverse Australian households Toole, Stephanie
    Doctor of Philosophy Residential patterns of Australian mixed-ethnicity couples: advancing understandings of ethnic geographies Tindale, Alexander

Teaching Overview


  • GEOG121, Human Geography: life in a globalising world
    GEOG221, Population Geography: people, place, inequality

Keywords


  • Migration and ethnic diversity
    Participatory Action Research
    Children's Geographies
    Environmental knowledge
    Climate change adaptation

Research Overview


    • Immigration, inter-ethnic intimacy and racism
    • Ethnic diversity and environmental sustainability
    • Geographies of children and young people
    • Alternative research methodologies, including participatory action research
    • Parenting, gender equity and workplaces

    My long-term research interest is immigration and cultural diversity. I am motivated by a desire to understand how Australians from migrant backgrounds encounter diverse spaces and their experiences of racism. I started my research career with a focus on media representations of asylum seekers, but have more recently turned my attention to representations of inter-ethnic (or mixed ethnicity) couples. This latter research focus has expanded into a qualitative investigation of inter-ethnic couples’ place-specific experiences of belonging and discrimination.

    In recent years, my research has also extended to consider the ways in which Australians from migrant backgrounds feature, and participate in, national debates on population, environmental sustainability and climate change. I am the lead CI on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project that investigates the environmental knowledges and skills of migrants and refugees in Australia.

    My PhD research (UNSW, 2008) was focused on a quite different topic: child domestic work in Tanzania. While I am no longer explicitly engaged in research projects pertaining to children’s employment/labour, I have an enduring research interest in children’s and young people’s geographies. This is evident in a recent project exploring young Tanzanians’ use of plastic bag footballs, and in my supervision of student research projects on: ethnic diversity in children’s picture books; Generation Y and environmental sustainability; and children’s engagements with ‘nature’.

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • The Sunraysia Burundian Garden arose via a collaboration between researchers from UOW (Natascha Klocker) and the University of Melbourne (Lesley Head, Olivia Dun), former refugees from Burundi (living in Mildura) and Sunraysia Local Food Future. <br /><br />Many refugees come from agricultural backgrounds, but face obstacles to farming once in Australia. Our research in Mildura (funded via an ARC Discovery Project, 2014-2017) showed that many former refugees living in Australia have a desire to access land on which to grow culturally important crops, but can't afford to do so due to the cost of farmland. Some former refugees also struggle to access employment (due to low English fluency), and thus experience protracted unemployment. To date, the Federal Government has not put strategies in place that make the most of refugees’ existing skills as farmers, despite implementing a rural and regional refugee resettlement programme. Following interviews with Mildura's Burundian community, we organised a stakeholder workshop in Mildura in May 2016. The goal: how could we come together to match ‘landless’ refugee farmers with unused farmland? <br /><br />The workshop (hosted by Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council and Mildura Development Council) kick-started the Food Next Door (FND) project and the Sunraysia Burundian Garden. Following the workshop, volunteers from Sunraysia Local Food Future arranged access to one-acre of farmland; use of which was generously donated by a local business, Sunraysia Produce. The Burundian community planted their first crop of maize in September 2016, and this was successfully harvested in January 2017. The community will plant an additional crop in September/October 2017, and we are currently supporting them to apply for funding to purchase a maize milling machine to produce traditional maize flour: a staple part of the Burundian diet.<br /><br />In addition to a successful maize harvest, evaluation interviews have revealed multiple impacts. This project has contributed to the Burundian community's sense of belonging in Mildura, and also to their physical and mental wellbeing. It has enabled them to demonstrate their farming skills and knowledge to the broader Mildura community, through growing a culturally important food crop. The project has also reduced isolation, particularly for women, by providing a productive activity that they can work towards as a group. Equally, it has strengthened connections between the Burundian community and the broader Mildura community, and has supported inter-generational transfer of traditional farming practices between adult members of the Burundian community and their children.<br /><br />The project has generated positive spin-offs. The Burundian community has been offered an additional two acres of farmland, enabling their farming project to grow. Further, the success of our work in Mildura attracted publicity, leading farmers in Meroo Meadow (near Nowra) to approach us with a desire to do something similar. We were successful in attracting funding through a UOW Community Engagement Grant to make that happen. Finally, Food Next Door is seeking funding to create a community farm that extends the benefits of the Sunraysia Burundian Garden to a broader range of marginalised groups.

Potential Supervision Topics


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

    • Rural/regional refugee resettlement
    • Ethnic diversity, environmental sustainability and/or climate change adaptation
    • Migration and environmental knowledge (including agricultural knowledge)
    • Knowledge-transfers between Majority World (developing) and Minority World (developed) countries

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Living with children in apartments: sharing, materials and space Kerr, Sophie-May
    Doctor of Philosophy Children’s Play Encounters: Materiality and More-than-Human Theory Kent, Kiera
    Doctor of Philosophy Growing cultures: Cultivating culturally diverse ecological knowledge Gopal, Ananth
    Doctor of Philosophy Climate change adaptation in culturally-diverse Australian households Toole, Stephanie
    Doctor of Philosophy Residential patterns of Australian mixed-ethnicity couples: advancing understandings of ethnic geographies Tindale, Alexander

Teaching Overview


  • GEOG121, Human Geography: life in a globalising world
    GEOG221, Population Geography: people, place, inequality

Keywords


  • Migration and ethnic diversity
    Participatory Action Research
    Children's Geographies
    Environmental knowledge
    Climate change adaptation
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Research Areas