// About

About the Human Ecology Forum

The Human Ecology Forum is an informal gathering of a vibrant but shifting cast of academic staff, PhD and Honours students, as well as interested members of communities beyond the University, such as the Nature and Society Forum, and CSIRO. It is open to anyone who would like to come along.

Themes covered by the Forum are broad, and represent the considerable intellectual breadth of the Forum members and their interests, but revolve around research topics of complexity (of social and ecological systems), Human Ecology, rationality, environmental policy, science, social science and research issues of methodology, transdisciplinarity and theory. Previous forum topics and speakers are available in our archives. We aim to support scholarly research by previewing members’ conference papers, journal articles and student ‘milestone’ seminars (such as thesis proposals, 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 contribute and receive feedback on current or upcoming research interests and in a constructive environment. In this, sessions at the Forum can range in form from lectures through to open, completely unstructured discussions.

The Forum is hosted by the Fenner School of Environment and Society and is an offshoot of the Human Ecology Course at the Fenner School.

Location of the Human Ecology Forum

The Human Ecology Forum is held between 12 noon and 2pm each Friday (throughout the academic year unless otherwise noted) in the Old Library (Room 101) in the Fenner School of Environment and Society (building no. 48), accessed from Linneaus Way, The Australian National University. Room 101 can be found by entering the Fenner School of Environment and Society (otherwise known as the Forestry Building) through the main double doors into the reception area. Straight in front of the doors, on the opposite side of the building, is a staircase. Climb the staircase and at the top you will come out directly facing Room 101.

About this website

This website is an experiment in creating an interactive web space for the Human Ecology Forum, and the Forum’s friend from around the world. It is intended to explore how a multi-featured, interactive website might be useful to the Human Ecology Forum, and especially to the extended community who have been involved with the Forum over the years, but are not able to attend the weekly meetings in person. Pending genuine interest, involvement and ongoing committment to a web presence, the website or a similar one may eventually be hosted more permanently by the ANU server. Questions or comments can be directed to deborah.cleland at gmail.com

This website addresses the previous discussion held by the Human Ecology Forum in 2007 on developing an online community. During this discussion, the Human Ecology Forum came up with a list of purposes of a website and desired features.


  • To serve as a repository of human ecology (and allied) information aiming to improve our understanding of each others’ activities (past and present), and serving as a seed bed for collaborative activities or discussions in the future.
  • To expand the output of the Forum onto a virtual platform (especially for those who would like to come to the Forum but cannot).
  • To give a capacity for discussions to continue on a topic beyond the two hours on Friday.
  • To capture some of the knowledge/information that flows through the HEF space and constitutes human ecology.
  • To encourage students in their exploration of human ecology, of living in this complex world and of partaking/taking over of the Forum in the future.

Features of the website

  • A bulletin board (so discussion threads on interesting topics and issues can be created),
  • A file repository (including audio and visual material from the HE Forum presentations),
  • Some kind of personal profile capacity so that HEF members can stay in touch with each others work.

About this HEF community website experiment

This website is a magazine-style WordPress blog. Information is put up as individual blog posts which are sorted by category:

  • Weekly presentations (information about the weekly presentations with space for comments and discussion);
  • Calendar (any posts relating to events of interest to the Human Ecology Forum );
  • People (profiling people from the Human Ecology Forum community);
  • Snippets (short comments, asides, links to the wider web);
  • General interest (longer posts on other topics).

What you can do on the website

  • Leave comments or suggestions in the Guestbook;
  • Read posts by visiting the homepage or searching by category or tag;
  • After clicking through to a post, you can print off or email any post through the “Email this Post” or “Print this Post” button (under the title, next to the date)
  • You can leave a comment on any post page.

You are also welcome to send us more material to put up on the website, or to post material yourself (by asking us to give you a user name and login).

We’d like to see a Human Ecology Forum website that promotes open access scholarship, opportunities for collaborative work, and a way to open up the Human Ecology Forum community to the wider (world). So we really encourage you to send us material to put up that is usually harder to access – articles, reports, theses, presentations, slideshows, and as well as informal debates or ideas. The idea is to gather some of the ideas and energy that passes through the Human Ecology Forum into a stimulating, creative space that is shared and accessible by everyone.

The official Human Ecology Forum website

The official Human Ecology Forum website is located on the ANU website. It also contains information on the weekly presentations, an archive of the past speakers and discussions, and information on how to find the Human Ecology Forum.