Department of Resource Management and Geography: research opportunities for prospective honours students
Brian is interested in supervising students exploring topics related to flood management, risk, knowledge, and/or human vulnerability. Proposals situated in Australia, Bangladesh, India, the UK, and Portugal are welcome, though other contexts may be possible. Brian has experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods, for example including projects that explore flood impacts on homes or perception-based analyses. Brian’s recent research has emphasised the ‘power-holder’ or ‘decision-maker’, leading to research findings that explore how flood management occurs and how the people making decisions rationalise what they do. This type of research emphasises who benefits and who is negatively affected by flood management practices; ultimately, this informs critiques aimed at social justice and appreciation for the disproportionate impact of disasters on (often already) vulnerable individuals. As part of these projects he has collaborated with NGOs in the developing and developed world. Alternately, he has experience with analyses at the local scale that explore how people experience, perceive, and understand disasters.
Overall, his research tends to use controversies as entry points, allowing for analyses that prioritise the multiple, entwined understandings that fuel controversy, rather than attempts to ‘uncover a solution’. These methodologies can lead to policy-relevant findings, and it is hoped that future projects will follow a similar path. Brian asks that students seeking supervision consider: 1) what interests them, 2) what skills they wish to develop, and 3) how this project fits with their wider aspirations. It is hoped that projects will have purpose and will be student-driven.
Potential topics might include:
- Analyses of flood mitigation efforts by individuals, communities, groups, or local government in the context of the 2011 Victorian floods.
- Controversy over the Victorian desalinisation plant (Wonthaggi Desalination Plant) and questions over technical intervention compared to individual behavioural changes.
- Flood management in Bangladesh, India, or the wider Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin.
- The role of scientific knowledge within flood management relative to ‘alternate’ knowledges such as local, indigenous, or perceptions from people who have experienced disasters.
Please get in touch to discuss any potential ideas. For more topics, other academics in the department, or for ideas for potential co-supervision, please go here.