People

Dr. Trisia Farrelly
PERC Co-Director

Trisia is a Co-Director of PERC. She is also a co-founder of the New Zealand Product Stewardship Council (NZPSC) and the environmental lobby group Carrying Our Future. Trisia is the Massey University representative for the Association of Social Anthropologists Aotearoa New Zealand representative and a member of the Sites Editorial Board. Her current research interests include the political ecologies of plastic production, consumption, and disposal; social license to operate (marine industries); and protected area management.

Dr. Sy Taffel
PERC Co-director

Sy is a co-director of the Massey University Political Ecology Research Centre and is one of the centre’s founding members. His research interests include political ecologies of digital media, digital media and political activism, the material impacts of media hardware, pervasive/locative media, software studies, social media and peer-to-peer production. Sy has published widely around the environmental impacts of digital technologies and along with Nicholas Holm, Sy co-edited the anthology Ecological Entanglements in the Anthropocene. He has also published in journals including Cultural Politics, Culture Machine, and The European Journal of Media Studies.
Sy also makes documentary/activist films, including for environmental groups such as the Environment Network Manawatu and Carrying Our Future.

Prof. Glenn Banks

Professor Bank’s research is primarily focused on the socio-economic and cultural dimensions of large-scale, private sector investment in the extractive industries in Papua New Guinea. He has over twenty five years experience with large-scale mining operations in the region, and includes applied contracted research and consultancy for institutional and private sector actors in the extractive sector in the region. This research is framed by theoretical concerns with development, local agency and empowerment. Professor Banks is currently conducting collaborative research which examines the ways in which customary forms of land tenure can be used by landowners to engage on their own terms with the capitalist economy, based on case studies in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Dr. Sita Venkateswar

Sita is Associate Director of the New Zealand India Research Institute. Her current research interests include multi-species approaches to food resilience and climate justice that focuses on millet cultivation in India and community supported agricultural initiatives in New Zealand; comparative, reflexive and visual anthropological approaches informed by post-feminist and postcolonial theories. Critical, scholar-activist, participatory research methodologies to address internal colonialism, gender, poverty, social oppression and structural violence within the postcolonial and neoliberal contexts of South Asia.

Dr. Philip Steer

Philip Steer is a Senior Lecturer in the School of English and Media Studies. His research is on the intersection of the literary and economic dimensions of settler colonialism in the nineteenth century, and it is increasingly focused on literary responses to the environmental violence of settlement—and our own contemporaneity with that past. His essay on ecology in pre-1950 writing in New Zealand appears in A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2016), and he is co-editor (with Nathan K. Hensley) of the forthcoming Ecological Form: System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire (Fordham University Press).

Dr. Ingrid Horrocks

Ingrid Horrocks is a creative writer and literary scholar based on Massey’s Wellington campus. She writes about the long history of the politics of mobility and place in both Britain and New Zealand. She is the editor, with a group of graduate and undergraduate students, of the digital anthology of writing about Pukeahu, the site of Massey’s central Wellington campus. Her recent work includes: co-editing, with Cherie Lacey, a collection of personal essays on understanding of place, Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays on Place from Aotearoa New Zealand (Victoria UP, 2016), for which she also wrote an essay; a book chapter, “A World of Waters: Imagining, Voyaging, Entanglement,” the opening chapter in A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge UP, 2016); and, a book on gender and mobility in British literary-culture of the Romantic period, Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility, 1784-1814 (Cambridge UP, 2017). She has supervised a number of graduate projects related to ecopoetry and ecocriticism.

Dr. Corrina Tucker

Corrina is an environmental sociologist, whose current research focuses on environmental, political and social issues concerning food consumption, and on the enviro-political lifestyle practices of New Zealanders more broadly.

Dr. Nicholas Holm

Nicholas’ research primarily addresses the political role of aesthetics, in particular the aesthetics of popular culture and the aesthetic and ideological aspects of environmentalism. A founding member of PERC, Nicholas organised the Working With Nature: Understanding Entanglements of Humans and Nonhumans in the Anthropocene conference with PERC co-director Dr. Sy Taffell. He co-edited the recent anthology Ecological Entanglements in the Anthropocene, in which he has a chapter exploring the aesthetics of the suburban environment through the politics of lawn-mowing.

Jonathon Hannon

Jonathon Hannon is the coordinator of the Zero Waste Academy, based at Massey University in New Zealand. This role involves teaching, research supervision, industry/community consultation and advisory on campus and city sustainability. Jonathon has extensive experience and passion for the Kiwi recycling industry, as a crucial environmental service provider to the New Zealand economy. Jonathon is currently undertaking a PhD exploring and evaluating municipal zero waste methodologies.

Alice Beban

Alice’s research addresses land rights, agricultural production and gender concerns to understand people’s changing relationships with land. She holds a PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University in the United States. Recent projects include research on ‘land grabs’ and redistributive land reform in Cambodia, cross-border migration of smallholder farmers from Vietnam to Cambodia, and organic rice production in the Mekong Delta. She also publishes on methodological research approaches in feminist political ecology. She is part of an international research project “Land concentration, gendered agrarian transformation, and the right to food” (2015-2020) in association with the Swiss National Science Foundation. She also works with community activist groups and NGOs in Cambodia to further rural people’s access to land.

Fraser Williams

Fraser is completing his Master of Arts in Social Anthropology at Massey University, and tutors the core citizenship course within the Bachelor of Arts programme. His thesis is an ethnography exploring an New Zealand eco-village that was established to realise a desire to live sustainably. Sustainability is articulated as living lightly on the earth and closer to nature, representing a break from what they perceive as the competitive, consumerist values that prevail in mainstream society. Some community members take this further, and seek to influence the world beyond their community. In an attempt to achieve these goals, the eco-villagers have adopted permaculture principles, and have ample economic resources to draw upon. Despite this, Fraser discovered a frustration amongst the eco-villagers that feel they have been unable to see their values materialise. A common theme presented was ‘sustainability is not possible.’ All have encountered challenges, and taken divergent approaches to create their ideal lifestyles, which caused conflict in the community. These challenges, and the attendant inability to achieve ideals, have in-part resulted from the social and economic context within which the eco-village project has been attempted.

These experiences illustrate the need for context to be considered in whether individuals have the ability to put their values into action. Fraser attempts to contribute to a body of work that contends that ‘sustainability’ cannot simply be the result of individual action and responsibility – systemic change must be foremost. Furthermore, rigid conceptions of ethical ‘success’ or ‘failure’ do not account for the attempts of individuals, with diverse backgrounds and world views, to lead better lives in constrained circumstances. Ecologically ethical living at an individual level is better understood as a progressive movement towards an ideal, rather than succeeding or failing in specific instances.


Alex De Vries

Alex is a Master of Arts student studying Social Anthropology. Having recently graduated from a BA in Anthropology and Politics at the University of Auckland, Alex has enjoyed a pleasant transition to postgraduate study at Massey University. Alex’s research involves an analysis of humans’ relationship with the urban ecosystem, using political ecology to explore transport on Auckland’s North Shore. Alex’s experience as an executive editor of Interesting Journal, brings a unique and fresh perspective to the role, with an emphasis on making PERC research and initiatives more accessible.

Dr. Karen Hytten

My research is focused on the interface between science, politics and the public. I am interested in the way environmental issues and options for addressing them are constructed in contrasting, often contradictory ways by actors promoting competing discourses. In particular, I am currently exploring climate change politics and the potential to promote more effective climate change engagement in Australia and New Zealand. I am also privileged to work with postgraduate students investigating diverse topics ranging from climate change politics in the Bahamas, to community based adaptation to climate change in Cambodia, forestry policy in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, perceptions of climate change within the tourism industry in Mauritius, and e-waste management in Tanzania.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas’ broad interest is in complex environmental problems which require interdisciplinary perspectives to approach, and he has conducted research on interdisciplinarity itself. Thomas holds a BA/BSc in social anthropology/nanoscience, and an MA in social anthropology from Massey University, New Zealand. Recently having finished a fixed term contract as research officer with Te Puna Whakatipu, Massey University, Thomas is a member of the Meech Working Group, an interdisciplinary group of professionals working on sustainable development with regards to extractive industries.

For Thomas, political ecology has strong potential as an integrative framework for interdisciplinary environmental research. His Masters thesis focused on the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Colombia. Thomas has previously researched and published on the debates around bisphenol-A in New Zealand, an estrogen mimicking chemical found in many common plastics which likely causes a range of negative human and environmental health effects, yet remains largely unregulated. He has also conducted exploratory work for an interdisciplinary research project on on-farm biodiversity in New Zealand. This work regularly overlaps with perspectives from Science and Technology Studies.

Thomas would be very keen to make connections with researchers working in similar fields.


 

Comments 2

  1. Hi Trisia. How are you? It was great to attend the previous conference featuring Ass/Prof. Jennifer Silver. It will be great to get updated information about such events in the future. Thanks

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