About the Program

Environmental crisis, largely caused by human activity, is the greatest challenge of our time. We urgently require deeply historicised and interdisciplinary knowledge that can help make sense of environmental change in the twenty-first century. The media does not simply represent environmental crisis, they play a pivotal role in shaping attitudes to the environment and lead the way on producing knowledge of the human dimension of environmental change and the motivation for facilitating a sustainable future.

The Environment & Media Research Program is made up of researchers from across Film and Screen Studies, Media & Communications and Journalism. Members pursue research that grapples with key problems presented by the relationship between how we understand the environment and media practices. The program has three core research priorities:

  • Representing Sustainability
  • Documenting Ecologies
  • Environmental Politics, Data and the Digital

In an era where the communication of environmental science has become deeply politicised
and shapes actions for the future, we urgently need in-depth analysis of the role film and
media plays in the changing relationships between people and the environment.

The problem of environmental communication:

  • How does media reflect and negotiate the dilemma of promoting environmental awareness through technologies, texts and activities that also generate their own significant ecological footprints;
  • How might we confront the presumed centrality of media power in communicating environmental issues through cross-disciplinary ways of researching media use and understanding “media agency” in its everyday, lived context;
  • How do we understand the media sector’s lack of effectivity in prioritising environmental issues and communicating to a national public?
  • How are environmental issues such as climate warming, sustainability, disaster management and habitat degradation continue to be produced, imagined, stabilised, problematised and mobilised by media forms?

The relationship between the human, the environment and media:

  • How might we rethink underlying assumptions about the multiform connections between media forms and environment and the means by which we study both in tandem? These assumptions encompass the traditions and systems through which we understand the human and humanism (including disciplinary formations); and the links between environment, colonialism, Indigenous resistance and knowledge practices.

The images on the front page of this site are by Australian photographic artist Yasmin Nebenfuhr.