Blue Futures Seminar Series

Weekly conversations every Thursday at 12.30pm AEST

Blue Futures is a Global Challenges keystone project: a partnership between the University of Wollongong and Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council. The project includes scientists, data modellers, economists, policy makers, social geographers, writers and artists. Together, we are planning for a future that is sustainable for governments, industries, ecosystems and communities.

Blue Futures Spring Seminars

In this series of lunchtime online conversations, we share the discoveries we’ve made – and the challenges we’ve faced – to develop strategies that allow for a values-based approach to policy and industry. Central to our approach is the ways Aboriginal approaches to Country can inform, challenge and extend research practice.

Introducing Blue Futures

12:30pm - 2:00pm AEDT | Thursday 4th November

This seminar asks you to imagine what a Blue Future might look like and how we can work together to achieve it. Members of the team discuss three streams of Blue Futures:

  • Anticipating & Imagining
  • Governing & Guiding
  • Developing & Enabling

Our focus is on the ways Aboriginal approaches to Country can inform, challenge and extend research practice.

The Blue Futures Series will be opened by Jennifer Martin

Speakers include:

Paul Knight – CEO Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council
Hugh Forehead - Research Fellow, SMART Infrastructure Facility, UOW
Joshua Lobb – Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing, UOW
Michelle Voyer – Senior Research Fellow, ANCORS; Blue Futures team leader



Photo credit: Anna Flannery

Moolawang Ngayagang Yanba
(Come to the mouth of the lake with me)

12:30pm - 2:00pm AEDT | Thursday 11th November

This interactive session discusses the work we have been doing with Lake Illawarra and the people that make decisions on its behalf.

Join us for a yarn about the way in which Aboriginal ways of knowing might inform and guide environmental decision-making processes, with a focus on building meaningful relationships with Country. The seminar will feature members of the Blue Futures team and partners from the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council (ILALC) and Southern Cross University.

Speakers include:

Jade Kennedy - Yuin knowledge holder and Senior Lecturer - Indigenous knowledges
Catherine Moyle - Research Associate Blue Futures, and deputy chair of the ILALC
Catherine Howlett - Senior Lecturer, Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross University
Michelle Voyer – Senior Research Fellow, ANCORS; Blue Futures team leader


Windang Island NSW

Photo credit: Matthew De Feudis

What’s it worth? Exploring the value and values of mangroves using ocean accounts

12:30pm - 2:00pm AEDT | Thursday 18th November

This seminar examines the ways in which different forms of knowledge and data can help us understand the value of our marine environment from a range of perspectives.

Using Lake Illawarra as a case study, we explore the ‘worth’ of the Lake, and in particular the mangroves of Lake Illawarra. The mangroves can be understood in monetary terms, as an environmental service, a community asset, a controversial or unwelcome intruder or as Kin. We ask the question: whichvalues should be consideredwhen we make decisions about the future of our marine and coastal environments?

Chaired by Stephanie Perkiss - Senior Lecturer School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, UOW

Speakers include:

Jordan Gacutan - Secretariat Officer, Global Ocean Accounts Partnership
Rachel Nichols - Research Fellow, ANCORS
Shanaka Herath - Lecturer in the School of Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney
Jade Kennedy - Yuin knowledge holder and Senior Lecturer - Indigenous knowledges
Jennifer (Jenny) Atchison - Senior Lecturer and ARC Future Fellow, School of Geography and Sustainable Communities
Michelle Voyer – Senior Research Fellow, ANCORS; Blue Futures team leader



horizon, mountains and lake

Photo credit: Randa Sacedon

Relationships: the forgotten aspect of ocean governance

12:30pm - 2:00pm AEDT | Thursday 25th November

This session traces the different ways in which we as humans relate to our marine environment, with a focus on the ways Creative Arts and Humanities can provide a different perspective on how we interact with marine places.We discuss four projects that highlight connections with the coast and the ocean, including the Ways to Water exhibition, showing at Wollongong Art Gallery.

Chaired by Joshua Lobb Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing, UOW

Speakers Include:

Freya Croft - Research Associate Blue Futures and PhD candidate
Agnieszka Golda - Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Arts (Visual Arts)
Joanna Stirling - Lecturer, Visual Communication Design, School of The Arts, English and Media UOW
Catherine Moyle - Research Associate Blue Futures, and deputy chair of the ILALC
Joshua Lobb - Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing UOW


sketch of mountains coastline

Photo credit: Jo Stirling

A community based Blue Economy for a Blue Future

12:30pm - 2:00pm AEDT | Thursday 2nd December

This seminar considers ways the Illawarra and South Coast might better engage with the marine environment to build environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits for our coast and our communities.

We look at innovative approaches to improving the environmental sustainability of maritime businesses in our region and opportunities for Indigenous led and community based approaches to a Blue Economy.

Chaired by Hugh Forehead - Research Fellow, SMART Infrastructure Facility UOW

Speakers include:

Tillmann Boehme - Senior Lecturer, School of Management, Operations and Marketing
Rob Chewyings - Joonga Land and Water Aboriginal Corporation
Ewan McAsh - McAsh Oysters and Smart Oysters
Pia Winberg - Venus Shell Systems & Phycohealth



ocean and rocks

Photo credit: Michael Adams 

Other activities and initiatives

Poetry Award 2022 - South Coast Writers Centre

Theme: Ways to Water

Through poetry, tell us about your experiences on the coast, on the beach, in the ocean. Open competition. Submissions close 1st January 2022. $1000 First prize.

Find out more


Ways to Water Exhibition - Wollongong Art Gallery

Ways to Water connects creative,cultural, and scientific disciplines in order to consider different ways of seeing the Illawarra and South Coast. The exhibition brings together historical and contemporary works from Wollongong Art Gallery - as well as new works and digital design modes. The exhibition includes an Augmented Reality component: researchers from Blue Futures talk further about our interrelationships with coastal places.

Find out more

Partners and Sponsors

The Blue Futures keystone project was funded by the UOW Global Challenges Program, with co-contributions from the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, Wollongong Art Gallery and the NSW Government under the Marine Estate Management Strategy.