Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space

ACCESS Research

Contemporary global conditions are characterised by profound change, uncertainty and innovation, arising from intertwined environmental, economic and social processes. These processes are transforming relationships between society and environment as they rework social relations, cultural norms, community capacities and institutional practices.

Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space

[Pauline] For our planet to prosper in the future we've got some real challenges about how we understand the relationships between the human and the nonhuman world. My name is Pauline McGuirk and I'm the Director of ACCESS, the Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space.

[Nicholas] My name's Nicholas Gill and I'm one of the researchers in ACCESS and also the Deputy Director. I think the overarching challenge in living with environmental change is that many of the issues we deal with are not going away. Climate change is not going away, invasive plants and other animals are not going away. What we have to do is find ways, strategies principles that we can live with these kinds of non-human phenomenon in the long term.

[Pauline] Our researchers have had lots of impact, both through working with students but also through working with government departments, with community organisations and with various forms of media.

[Nicholas] I think one general area we're having an impact in, is looking at the ideas and the cultural practices that drive resorts consumption and issues such as land use. So two examples would be, how the ways in which we consume energy in households and also looking at what constitutes looking after agricultural land and how farming practises flow from that.

[Pauline] Right now in ACCESS, we're really interested in building our international links. Through these new links we're going to build our research capacity to address our key research platforms but we're also looking to bring international PhD students to Wollongong and to encourage Wollongong students to visit other international universities.

[Nicholas] I think one of the valuable things about our research is that although we think big, you know we think about big picture change, climate change and all those kinds of things, we also think very much about people's everyday lives, what they value, how they get around, the food they consume, how we're going to continue to meet those kinds of needs, is something that our research can contribute to.

[Pauline] Our research really unpacks those relationships, tries to generate new ways of thinking about them and it creates really important knowledge that can inform policymakers, about how we might need to change the way we manage the planet.


- End Transcript

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In a volatile world, how are the challenges and opportunities of changing socio-environmental relations to be understood and addressed to shape more just and sustainable futures for people and places?

ACCESS research integrates analysis of environment, culture, society and space to:

  1. identify and analyse the place-based, multi-dimensional challenges and opportunities that emerge as environments, cities, regions,  economies and communities are differentially transformed across space and place;
  2. explore how decision-making and action to address these challenges and opportunities can be imagined and enacted at multiple scales and across institutions and communities. 

ACCESS Research and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The ACCESS SDG report outlines our current research projects that are contributing to the UN SDGs.

Read the ACCESS SDG report (PDF 1.7mb)
Field of corn with wind turbines on horizon

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Dharawal, Yuin and Wadi Wadi peoples as the Traditional Custodians of Country in the Illawarra. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, to all Indigenous peoples living in the region, and extend that respect to other Indigenous peoples with whom we engage. Through our research and engagement we seek to help others appreciate and act in respect of the significance of Country.