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Human Ecology Forum
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About the Human Ecology Forum

The Human Ecology Forum is hosted by the Fenner School of Environment and Society.

It is an informal gathering of a vibrant but shifting cast of academic staff, PhD and Honours students, as well as interested individuals and members of communities beyond The Australian National University (for example, the Nature and Society Forum and CSIRO). It is open to anyone who would like to come along and we maintain a Forum e-mail list to provide notifications on upcoming Forum sessions.

Themes covered by the Forum are broad, and represent the considerable intellectual breadth of the Forum members and their interests, although generally with a concentration on research topics like complexity (of social and ecological systems), human ecology, rationality, environmental policy, science, social science and the practice of research (notably around methodology, transdisciplinarity and theory broadly).

Our Forum archive can provide some idea of previous forum topics and speakers. We aim to support scholarly research by discussing members' and visitors conference papers, journal articles and student 'milestone' seminars (such as thesis proposals and completions, mid-term reviews, etc), and also to provide a discussion forum for policy-makers and non-ANU researchers with similar interests - all of which provides a valuable opportunity to enrich the experiences of ANU research students.

The Human Ecology Forum is not a seminar series, it is first and foremost a 'space' where interested people can come together and contribute to current or upcoming research and broader topical interests of the day in a constructive environment. In this, sessions at the Forum can range in form from lectures through to open, largely unstructured discussions. The two hour format also gives time for truly broad ranging discussion and feedback to occur. Although human ecology is 'the Forum', so to speak, the general space is transdisciplinary so it is strongly supportive of any (person from an) other discipline or field in leading a Forum - in other words, discussions at the forum do not need to be about or on human ecology directly.

The Forum is hosted by the Fenner School of Environment and Society and held each Friday in the old Forestry library between late February and early December each year (excepting official holidays and, every so often, other important dates on the university calendar).

Taking a Forum session is fairly straight forward and for both presenters/discussion leaders and for those interested we have a yearly Forum calendar and a yearly Forum theme that captures a topical issue we believe is of importance for discussion now and then over the year (as other discussions/presentations allow). The Forum is run by a team of volunteers and the current version of the Forum has been running since (third week in October) 1998, although it has a longer history predating this. It is an offshoot of the Human Ecology Program at the Fenner School.

rock, sea and trees by Alan Fox

Photography courtesy of Alan Fox