With such a diverse, expansive range of people involved, the Reef is a space ripe for social science. Gillian is a part of the Social Science Community for the Great Barrier Reef, which operates as a central community for social scientists to share research and knowledge on Reef issues, and hosts the annual symposium.
“It’s about forming a kind of critical mass of social scientists,” Gillian says. “It’s about scholarship, of course, and good science, but it’s also about those key networks amongst social scientists as well as between social scientists and other professions. It crosses industries, fields and institutions.”
The Social Science Community identifies five human dimensions of the Reef: sustainable use, stewardship, governance, heritage and connection to the reef. All five of these dimensions were highlighted at the Reef Values symposium (11-12 September).
Symposium attendees heard in-depth presentations from nationally acclaimed speakers across fields such as sociology, economics, geography, demography and more. The presentations explored eight main topics, including communication and behaviours, emerging management, community perceptions and assessing pathways for change.
At the heart of such a comprehensive, deep-diving symposium is the celebration of community, ecology and impact. “What I would like to see at the symposium is a whole lot of discussion and sharing,” Gillian said prior to the event. “Not just from social scientists, but people in the community who want to advocate and talk about their own experiences.”
Want to know more about the important research being conducted in tropical societies? Explore the upcoming events hosted by The Cairns Institute to find out about the discoveries, insights and projects occurring across the fields within humanities and social sciences.
The Reef Values: Ecologies, communities and connections Symposium is facilitated in a partnership between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Government, The University of Queensland and the Queensland Government.