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Staff Profile


Career Summary


 I was appointed to a tenured position at the University of Newcastle in July 2009 after 2 years (July 2007-June 2009) as a Lecturer in the Department of Environment & Geography at Macquarie University, Sydney.


  • PhD, Macquarie University, 24/04/2008
  • Master of Environmental Science, Macquarie University, 27/04/2000


Research keywords

  • Arctic Geopolitics and Governance
  • Climate Change Impacts
  • Environmental Decision-Making
  • Legal Geography
  • Resource and Environmental Geography
  • Rural Geography

Research expertise

Remoteness, Impacts of resource depletion, Resource contestation, Resource nationalism, Social and economic impacts of climate change, Territoriality, Environmental law and ethics, Land-use transformation, Rurality.

Fields of Research

160499Human Geography Not Elsewhere Classified100


Body relevant to professional practice.

  • Member - Institute of Australian Geographers
  • Member - International Arctic Social Sciences Association
  • Member - International Society for Environmental Ethics
  • Member - The National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia

Committee/Associations (relevant to research).

  • Member - Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
  • Fellow - Corporate Governance and Sustainability International Group (CGSIG)
  • Member - Social, Economic and Institutional Dimensions of Adaptation to Climate Change (SEI) Network


Rural Geography Study Group - Institute of Australian Geographers (Australia)
Geographical Society of NSW (Australia)



20112011 Teaching and Learning Award
The University of Newcastle (Australia)
For inspiring students through engagement in real-world scenarios offering ‘solutions’ to environmental problems by successfully challenging students to 'think outside the square'.


'A Sustainable Agricultural Future for the Hunter Valley - Fact or Fiction?'
The National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia, Australia (Invited Presenter)
Fostering Climate-Change Adaptation in Rural Alaska through Boundary Spanning Collaborations and Knowledge-sharing Networks
The National Science Foundation, United States (External Examiner.)


My research interests revolve around constructs of nature, resource use and the social, economic and political impacts of environmental change. At the core of my research is a desire to understand and explain the spatial and temporal dynamics of natural resource development. I am interested in the economic processes and cultural practices through which nature and the environment are visualised and enacted as resources for utilisation by humankind. I am also interested in what transitions need to be made when resource stocks begin to decline and communities are faced with an uncertain future. Through this focus on resources, my work problematises the treatment of the environment and the commodification of nature within modern economic development.

My geographic research interests lie in two specific domains: a) the International (specifically the areas of the Arctic and Alaska on the Pacific Rim) and b) Nationally (in the Hunter region and other locations where transition to the effects of climate change and resource extraction are taking place). In researching these places, I seek to understand the complicated dynamics associated with climate change, strategic decision-making and contestation over access to, and use of, resources and the natural environment. The focus of my research therefore, is on furthering understanding of the intricacies involved in making a transition (particularly in rural and remote regions) and dealing with uncertainty, vulnerability and risk which remain important as we grapple with the effects of climate change, land-use transformation and contested ideas around governance and the use of nature, resources and spaces in the globalizing world.

My work contributes to a robust tradition of critical geographical inquiry which recognises how 'natural resources are not naturally resources until human intervention'. It examines how resource geographies are structured in significant ways by economic, political, environmental, social and cultural processes and how new resource geographies are created by greenfields discoveries and the opening up of new frontiers. At the other end of the scale, my work examines life in resource-dependent communities during productive and post-productive stages and also considers what alternatives may exist for these communities in the future.

This geographical focus therefore examines the complicated processes that produce nature and shape spaces and places, and engages with questions of knowledge, environmental governance, scarcity, vulnerability, transition and sustainability that are at the heart of modern environmental geography. It also examines the ongoing peripheralisation of remote, resource rich places by neoliberal corporate strategies and questions how the dynamics of climate change and globalisation might affect future decision-making. I also seek to understand the complicated dynamics associated with climate change, strategic decision- making and contestation over access to, and use of resources and space especially in areas such as the Arctic where issues over territoriality and sovereignty remain prominent. Therefore, my research aims to answer the following over-arching questions:

  • How does contestation over resources and territory manifest itself?
  • How is effective governance in the Arctic to be achieved?
  • Is obtaining a social license to operate the key to acceptance of mining, oil sands production & CSG projects in rural & remote regions?
  • How do communities communicate their sense of place in a world where place erasure is becoming the norm?
  • What does the future hold for agriculturally-based industries and food security in Australia & elsewhere?
  • Is it possible to make the transition towards increasing climate extremes without enhancing more cumulative effects?
  • What might a move towards a sustainable future entail and can this be achieved in a world where energy security remains paramount?


Administrative expertise

Honours coordinator (Macquarie University 2008), Acting Honours Coordinator (UoN 2010). Course Convenor - ENVS 1003 - Environmental Values and Ethics, ENVS 1004 - Social Development and the Environment. Lecturer - ENVS 2002 - Environmental Legislation and Planning and ENVS 2008 - The Sustainable Society.

Discipline of Geography and Environmental Studies Representative on the Program Management Committee for the B.A. Degree; B.Soc Sci Degree; B.Sci Degree and the BESM Degree.


Teaching keywords

  • Environmental Ethics
  • Environmental Legislation (NSW)
  • Resource Management
  • Sustainability

Teaching expertise

Climate Change Impacts, Environmental Ethics, Geopolitics, Land-use transformation, Rural and Resource Geography, Sustainability.


Highlighted Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

2009Sherval M, 'Native Alaskan engagement with social constructions of rurality', Journal of Rural Studies, 25 425-434 (2009) [C1]


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Book (1 outputs)

2009Sherval M, The Geopolitics of Gold - Narratives of Globalisation and Remote Resource Economies, VDM Verlag, Saarbruecken, Germany, 425 (2009) [A1]

Chapter (1 outputs)

2014Askew LE, Sherval M, McGuirk PM, ''Not just drought'. Drought, Rural Change and More: Perspectives from Rural Farming Communities.', Rural Change in Australia: Population, Economy, Environment, Ashgate, Farnham 235-253 (2014) [B1]


Journal article (17 outputs)

2014Sherval M, Hardiman K, 'Competing Perceptions of the Rural Idyll: responses to threats from coal seam gas development in Gloucester, NSW, Australia.', Australian Geographer, 45 185-203 (2014) [C1]
2014Sherval M, 'Canada's oil sands: The mark of a new 'oil age' or a potential threat to Arctic security?', Extractive Industries and Society, (2014)
2013Bartel R, Graham N, Jackson S, Prior JH, Robinson DF, Sherval M, Williams S, 'Legal geography: An Australian perspective', Geographical Research, 51 339-353 (2013) [C1]
2013Sherval M, 'Arctic Alaska's role in future United States energy independence', Polar Geography, 36 305-322 (2013) [C1]
2013Sherval M, Graham N, 'Missing the Connection: How SRLU Policy fragments landscapes and communities in NSW', Alternative Law Journal, 38 176-180 (2013) [C1]
2012Askew LE, Sherval M, 'Short-term emergency or recurring climatic extreme: A rural town perspective on drought policy and programs', Australian Journal of Public Administration, 71 290-302 (2012) [C1]
2012Sherval M, Askew LE, 'Experiencing 'drought and more': Local responses from rural Victoria, Australia', Population and Environment, 33 347-364 (2012) [C1]
2012Sherval M, Greenwood A, ''Drought-proofing' regional Australia and the rhetoric surrounding Tillegra Dam, NSW', Australian Geographer, 43 253-271 (2012) [C1]
2011Sherval M, 'Steering Sustainability in an Urbanizing World: Policy, Practice and Performance (Book review)', Geographical Research, 49 444-446 (2011) [C3]
2009Sherval M, 'Managing the Tee Change - Marketing, Management and Planning Implications', Australian Planner, 46 47-52 (2009) [C1]
2009Sherval M, 'Native Alaskan engagement with social constructions of rurality', Journal of Rural Studies, 25 425-434 (2009) [C1]
2009Sherval M, 'Review of 'From Venus to Antarctica: The Life of Durmont D'Urville' [Book Review]', The Globe, 62 56-57 (2009) [C3]
2009Sherval M, 'Report on the Particles in the Atmosphere - Upper Hunter Workshop - 14 August 2009 - Singleton, NSW', Air Quality and Climate Change, 43 11-12 (2009) [C3]
2009Sherval M, 'Introducing the 'tee' change-marketing, management and planning implications', Australian Planner, 46 47-52 (2009)
2008Sherval M, 'Gold in Russia: risks and rewards', Mining Journal London, 19 23-24 (2008) [C2]
2007Sherval M, 'Sovereign Risk in the Russian Federation', Resource Stocks, Oct 9-10 (2007) [C2]
2007Sherval M, 'Regional development and government reforms in the Chinese gold mining industry', AusIMM Bulletin, 56-59 (2007) [C2]
Show 14 more

Review (2 outputs)

2014Sherval M, Askew LE, McGuirk PM, 'Manifestations of Drought (2014) [D2]


2014Sherval M, Askew LE, McGuirk PM, 'The Human Cost of Drought (2014) [D2]


Conference (12 outputs)

2014Asaduzzaman M, Momtaz S, Sherval M, 'Climate change impact on Women's Livelihood in Bangladesh: Vulnerabilities versus Adaptabilities.', Climate Adaptation 2014 - Future Challenges. Program & Abstracts, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Gold Coast Australia (2014) [E3]

Co-authors: SALIM MOMTAZ

2013Sherval M, Graham N, 'Strategic Regional Land Use Planning in the Hunter Valley: Protection or Erosion of Hunter Place Values?', Multi-Speed Planet: Multi Speed Geographies? Proceedings of the 2013 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Perth, W.A. (2013) [E3]
2012Sherval M, 'Perceived Threats to the Viability of Rural Industries in the Hunter Valley, NSW', Inspiring Connections: Proceedings of the 2012 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney (2012) [E3]
2012Sherval M, 'Perceived Threats to the Viability of Rural Industries from CSG in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia', From Crisis to Opportunities: Proceedings of the XIIIth World Congress of Rural Sociology, Lisbon, Portugal (2012) [E3]
2011Kiem AS, Askew LE, Sherval M, Verdon-Kidd DC, Clifton C, Austin EK, et al., 'Drought and resilience: A case study of two rural communities in regional Victoria', Greenhouse 2011: The Science of Climate Change Conference Handbook, Cairns (2011) [E3]
2011Lewis N, Baker T, Instone LH, Mee KJ, McGuirk PM, Sherval M, et al., 'Journeying towards propositions about situated knowledge practices', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference Abstracts, Wollongong (2011) [E3]
2011Fisher K, Baker T, Instone LH, Mee KJ, McGuirk PM, Sherval M, et al., 'Kitchen stories: An introduction to the Situated Knowledge Production Sessions', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference Abstracts, Wollongong (2011) [E3]
2011Sherval M, ''Drought and more' hindering barriers to development in rural Victorian towns', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference 2011 Abstracts, Wollongong (2011) [E3]
2010Kiem AS, Askew LE, Sherval M, Verdon-Kidd DC, Clifton C, Austin EK, et al., 'Drought and the future of small inland towns', 2010 International Climate Change Adaptation Conference. Conference Handbook, Gold Coast, QLD (2010) [E3]
2010Sherval M, 'Polarising Politics: Territorialisation of the Arctic', -, Christchurch (2010) [E3]
2010Kiem AS, Askew LE, Sherval M, Verdon-Kidd DC, Clifton C, Austin EK, et al., 'Drought impacts and adaptation in regional Victoria, Australia', Southern Exposure. Australia-New Zealand Climate Forum 2010. Conference Handbook, Hobart, TAS (2010) [E3]
2003Sherval M, 'Remoteness and Marginality - Gold mining on the Northern Pacific Rim', New Zealand Geographical Society Conference Proceedings, Auckland, New Zealand (2003) [E1]
Show 9 more

Other (1 outputs)

2014Sherval M, Phelan L, 'Opinion: Clever Country Dreams Fade', ( pp.19). Newcastle: Newcastle Herald (2014)

Co-authors: LIAM PHELAN

Report (1 outputs)

2010Kiem AS, Askew LE, Sherval M, Verdon-Kidd DC, Austin EK, McGuirk PM, Berry HL, 'Drought and the future of rural communities: Drought impacts and adaptation in regional Victoria, Australia. Report for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, Australia', NCCARF: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, 122 (2010) [R1]

Grants and Funding


Number of grants5
Total funding$153,355

- Indicates that the researcher may be seeking students for this project.

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

2015 (1 grants)

Intergenerational attitudes of changing land use$49,923
Funding Body: NSW Department of Primary Industries

Project Team
Doctor Hedda Askland, Doctor David Farrugia, Doctor Meg Sherval, Doctor Julia Coffey, Doctor Steven Threadgold, Doctor Michael Askew
Research GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

2011 (1 grants)

Perceived risks to potential organic crop production from coal-seam gas exploration$9,555
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Doctor Meg Sherval
Early Career Researcher GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

2010 (3 grants)

Drought and the future of small inland towns$80,000
Funding Body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Project Team
Doctor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Meg Sherval, Professor Garry Willgoose, Professor Pauline McGuirk, Conjoint Associate Professor Helen Berry, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
Synthesis and Integrative Research ProgrammeInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Strategic support to enhance collaborations and grants performances$10,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Professor Pauline McGuirk, Associate Professor Jenny Cameron, Doctor Lesley Instone, Doctor Kathleen Mee, Doctor Meg Sherval, Doctor Sarah Wright
Special Project GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Evolving environmental geopolitics - territorialisation of the Arctic through increased resource nationalism$3,877
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Doctor Meg Sherval
New Staff GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions6
Total current UoN Masters EFTSL0.25
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL2.25

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142018M Philosophy (Human Geography)Principal SupervisorThe Effects of Climate Change on Economic Resilience of Australian Agricultural Communities and its Relationship to Food Security
20142021PhD (Human Geography)Principal SupervisorCrafting Counter-Topographies: Tracing the Contours of Resource-Led Development Across Development 'Worlds'
20132017PhD (Human Geography)Principal SupervisorThe Politics of Sustainable Development in Laos PDR: Imagining a Different Future
20122021PhD (Human Geography)Principal SupervisorSustainability, Stakeholders, and Peace: Using Peace Studies to Help Improve Stakeholder Consultation Processes in Natural Resource Management
20122021PhD (Human Geography)Principal SupervisorA Failure of Compassion? Unpacking the Binaries Associated with Asylum Seeker Identity
20112015PhD (Sustainable Res Mngt)Co-SupervisorClimate Change Impact on Livelihood of Women in the Disaster Vulnerable Areas of Bangladesh - Responses to Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Future

Past Supervision

YearProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
2009Honours Human Geography
Macquarie University
Co-SupervisorUnderstanding the Commonwealth Intervention in Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory

Dr Meg Sherval

Work Phone61 2 4921 6809
Fax(02) 4921 5877
PositionSenior Lecturer
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science and Information Technology
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaGeography and Environmental Studies
SR (Social Sciences) 297,
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308