Oceania Observatory

The Oceania Observatory draws together researchers, artists, activists, and communities from across the region to explore a wide range of environmental challenges. Our interdisciplinary and engaged work places issues of justice at its centre and is grounded in storytelling, the creative arts, and an active cross-pollination of Indigenous and other ways of knowing and being.

Research themes

01. Extractivism and environmental justice

Right across this region and around the world, a broad range of extractive industries and practices are impacting on more-than-human communities. Research in this theme focuses on topics that include monoculture plantations, deep sea mining, industrial fishing, deforestation, militarism, and nuclearism, exploring the profoundly inequitable ways in which these practices reshape life and death.

02. Storytelling, art, and music

Oral and written literature, visual and performance arts, and traditional and contemporary music are important aspects of expressive cultures across Oceania. Research in this theme explores how these aesthetic practices constitute vessels of Indigenous wisdom, sites of environmental protest and activism, and pedagogical tools to develop ecological literacy and advocate for justice.

03. Food systems

Food systems speak to the profound and changing relationships between environment, society, and culture and their impacts on the nutritional and dietary health and wellbeing of human and other-than-human beings. Research in this theme explores food systems in Oceania by examining the intersections of different food knowledges, practices and values across traditional and commodified food production, distribution and consumption regimes. 

04. Biocultural diversities

The rich diversity of plants, animals, and other forms of life across land, water and sky is mirrored by an incredible diversity of human cultures, histories and languages. Research in this theme explores biological and cultural diversities in Oceania by elevating Indigenous knowledges and exploring diverse ways of engaging with our living world, that value it both intrinsically and as a resource for life, change and different kinds of shared futures. 

05. Climate change and sustainability

Climate change is one of the most urgent issues in Oceania as rising sea levels, extreme temperatures, ocean acidification, extreme weather, and coral bleaching—among other impacts—pose an existential threat to Pacific islands, cultures, peoples, and other species. Sustainability has become an essential framework through which policy makers, scientists, academics, and the media have articulated responses to climate change. Research in this theme explores how the humanities imagines, represents, communicates, and critiques discourses of climate change and sustainability. 

Main Hubs

University of Sydney and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


Global Humanities Projects


Global Humanities Affiliates


Global Humanities Partners

Oceania Observatory Projects


UH Environmental Humanities Initiative

The Environmental Humanities Initiative at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa will introduce students to...


Pacific Islander Eco-Literature 

For the past ten years, work in this area has sought to foster and develop...


The Living Archive: Extinction Stories from Oceania

This project is creating a multimedia space that provides a platform for people to tell...


Narrative Ecologies of Warragamba Dam

This interdisciplinary environmental humanities project focuses on the proposed raising of the Warragamba Dam wall...


Multispecies Justice

What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the...


Kangaroo-Human Relations

This project aims to uncover the diverse perceptions, knowledges and practices shaping kangaroo-human relations in...

Observatory Affiliates

Community members, researchers and scholars.