Place, identity and wellbeing
Complementing the Faculty’s research theme of ‘towards wellbeing, innovation and spatial transformation’ and the University’s foci on ‘healthy ageing’, ‘energy’ and ‘sustainable society’, the research cluster has a research focus on issues of place, identity and wellbeing . In particular, we explore the relations between people and place, and the social experience of transformations in rural and regional communities. We seek to undertake theoretically-informed, applied social research that contributes to policy and practice, and makes a theoretical contribution. Our research is integrative, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary spanning social and cultural geography, landscape studies, rural studies, social impact assessment, tourism studies and connects with kindred disciplines such as rural and environmental sociology, environmental psychology, gender studies, social gerontology as well as the other disciplinary approaches employed in tWIST including demography, economic geography and planning. We use qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and have a particular interest in innovative methods including visual methodologies and location-based applications (social GIS). We study the lived experiences of local peoples all over the world.
We approach our focus on issues of place, identity and wellbeing from varying angles, including: community engagement; ageing and wellbeing; innovation and rural transformation; heritage; historical landscape change; perception and evaluation of nature and landscape; nature and health; death and burial; entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility; employment opportunities; housing and the living environments of various groups within society; social impact assessment; social aspects of new technology; governance of places; social aspects of agriculture and farming; social aspects of natural resource management; and visitor and host experiences of tourism.
Our research embraces the social relations between people and places, emotional geographies, and the experience of spatial transformation. We believe that knowing one’s ‘place’ is fundamental to the formation of human identity and to wellbeing. Forms of cultural expression such as art, architecture, ritual and language, and our understanding and appreciation of nature and landscape all interact with the physical environment in the creation of our individual and community life-stories. As such, the ways in which we construct and transform spaces and places manifest our imagination and self-awareness. In doing so, we make sense of, define, and celebrate our personal and collective identities, communities and localities.
Overview current research projects
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