PhD scholarship, Cultures of communication for bushfire preparation
We are looking for a high quality student with a communication or geography background to be part of an interdisciplinary team researching community engagement for bushfire preparation and adaptation.
There is a living allowance scholarship of $AUD 28,092pa (2020 rate) for this project funded by the Australian Research Council for 3.5 years with no extension, that will be considered for an outstanding applicant.
Australia's 2019-20 summer fire season showed that many households and neighbourhoods are inadequately prepared for the 'new normal' of faster, fiercer bushfires. This is particularly concerning on the urban fringe, where rapid development is changing landscapes, and households face complex socio-economic challenges. This project aims to understand how fire management agencies interact with diverse communities about bushfire preparedness, and how different communities interpret and respond to this communication. Tasmanian and Victorian fire services are leading national efforts to develop participatory engagement approaches to bushfire preparation through 'Bushfire Ready Neighbourhood' and 'Community Fireguard' groups. However, the outcomes of these efforts have not been well-documented. Through rich qualitative engagement with residents of high bushfire danger neighbourhoods, including those who participate in these programs, this project will examine the social relationships, subjectivities, discursive processes, moral values and embodied experiences that are absent in much existing research on this issue. Methods will include qualitative interviews, participant observation and focus groups in Tasmania and Victoria. The project will involve working together with communities and agencies to empower diverse Australian communities to become bushfire-ready.
The project is part of an Australian Research Council funded project (SRI200200441, 2021-2024): Enabling cultures of bushfire readiness in Australian communities. The supervisory team would include Assoc Prof Aidan Davison and Dr Chloe Lucas.
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