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Dr Meg Sherval

Senior Lecturer

School of Environmental and Life Sciences (Geography and Environmental Studies)

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.

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.

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

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.

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?


  • PhD, Macquarie University
  • Master of Environmental Science, Macquarie University


  • Arctic Geopolitics and Governance
  • Climate Change Impacts
  • Environmental Decision-Making
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Environmental Legislation (NSW)
  • Legal Geography
  • Resource Management
  • Resource and Environmental Geography
  • Rural Geography
  • Sustainability

Fields of Research

160499Human Geography not elsewhere classified100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/01/2015 - Senior LecturerUniversity of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Academic appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/11/2014 - CouncillorGeographical Society of NSW
1/01/2013 - Membership - Corporate Governance and Sustainability International Group (CGSIG)Corporate Governance and Sustainability International Group (CGSIG)
1/01/2013 - Membership - International Society for Environmental EthicsInternational Society for Environmental Ethics
1/01/2012 - Membership - The National Institute for Rural and Regional AustraliaThe National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia
1/07/2011 - ConvenerRural Geography Study Group
Institute of Australian Geographers
1/01/2010 - Membership - Association of Polar Early Career ScientistsAssociation of Polar Early Career Scientists
1/01/2010 - Membership - Social, Economic and Institutional Dimensions of Adaptation to Climate Change (SEI) NetworkSocial, Economic and Institutional Dimensions of Adaptation to Climate Change (SEI) Network
1/01/2010 - Membership - International Arctic Social Sciences AssociationInternational Arctic Social Sciences Association
1/07/2007 - 1/07/2009Lecturer BMacquarie University
Department of Environment and Geography
1/01/2003 - 1/12/2003Associate Lecturer AMacquarie University
Department of Human Geography
1/01/2000 - Membership - Institute of Australian GeographersInstitute of Australian Geographers



20112011 Teaching and Learning Award


External Examiner

YearTitle / Rationale
2012Fostering Climate-Change Adaptation in Rural Alaska through Boundary Spanning Collaborations and Knowledge-sharing Networks
Organisation: The National Science Foundation Description: As a researcher on the impacts of Arctic climate change, I was asked to review a proposal submitted to the interagency Arctic Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) grant scheme, which is part of a new NSF intiative to encourage and support interdisciplinary scientific perspectives on the long-term sustainability of our planet.


YearTitle / Rationale
2012'A Sustainable Agricultural Future for the Hunter Valley - Fact or Fiction?'
Organisation: The National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia


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

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]
CitationsScopus - 1
Co-authorsPauline Mcguirk

Journal article (17 outputs)

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)

For more than a decade, nation states globally have been actively engaged in the exploration of unconventional fuel sources such as tight oil, shale gas and coal bed methane. As technology has developed over time, these newer sources of hydrocarbon, once thought economically nonviable, are now offering renewed hope for increased energy security. In Canada, while deposits of shale gas are in development, it is, however, the nation's oil sands that are proving most lucrative. Located in the province of Alberta, oil sands are being touted as the means to make Canada 'an emerging energy superpower'. While this geopolitical posturing and plans for pipelines through Canada's Arctic North are being welcomed by some, others fear the heavy toll oil sands extraction will make on the environment. In addressing these arguments, this paper tells two stories: one of the development of oil sands through the lens of the peak oil/scarcity debate and the other, of the narratives being utilised by the Canadian government to create a nexus between nation building and securing its Arctic spaces. Both essentially suggest that it is the same factors regionally and globally that are pursuing an agenda where 'liquid modernity' has become a reality (Bauman, 2000).

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]
CitationsScopus - 2Web of Science - 2
2013Sherval M, Graham N, 'Missing the Connection: How SRLU Policy fragments landscapes and communities in NSW', Alternative Law Journal, 38 176-180 (2013) [C1]
2013Sherval M, 'Arctic Alaska's role in future United States energy independence', Polar Geography, 36 305-322 (2013) [C1]

For decades, Arctic Alaska has provided US mainland states with plentiful oil supplies. As reserves in the Prudhoe Bay fields decrease, however, the USA has been forced to consider new options to guarantee the nation's energy security. While debates continue to rage about its reliance on foreign oil, increased prices, consumption levels, and climate change, the USA is now contemplating whether predicted new discoveries might actually allow it to become an exporter rather than importer of oil and gas in the near future. This paper considers the role Arctic Alaska might play in helping secure future US energy security and independence. It also considers what other options exist for securing the State of Alaska's own future post-Prudhoe Bay. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

CitationsScopus - 2
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]

Law is a powerful influence on people and place. Law both creates and is created by the relationship between people and place, although it rarely acknowledges this. Law frequently operates as if space does not matter. Law and legal processes, therefore, deserve greater attention from geographers. Legal geography is an emerging field of inquiry that facilitates much-needed attention to the interrelationships among the environment, people and social institutions, including formal laws but also informal rules, norms and lore. Legal geographers seek to make the invisible visible: to bring the law into the frame of geography, and space and place into focus for the law. Both critical and applied in approach, legal geography offers descriptive, analytical and normative insight into economics, justice, property, power, geopolitics, governance and scale. As such it can enrich most areas of geographic inquiry as well as contribute to current policy debates about the regulation of space and place. Legal geography is a way for enlarged appreciations of relationality, materiality, multiscalarity and agency to be used to interrogate and reform the law. This introduction to a special 'themed paper' section of Geographical Research provides a window on legal geography scholarship, including its history, contribution and ambition. The papers in the collection explore issues grounded in the legal geographies paradigm, variously analysing matters empirically detailed while engaging in broader, theoretical debates and using both Australian and international case studies. © 2013 Institute of Australian Geographers.

CitationsScopus - 2Web of Science - 3
2012Sherval M, Greenwood A, ''Drought-proofing' regional Australia and the rhetoric surrounding Tillegra Dam, NSW', Australian Geographer, 43 253-271 (2012) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 5Web of Science - 2
2012Sherval M, Askew LE, 'Experiencing 'drought and more': Local responses from rural Victoria, Australia', Population and Environment, 33 347-364 (2012) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 4Web of Science - 4
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]
CitationsScopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2011Sherval M, 'Steering Sustainability in an Urbanizing World: Policy, Practice and Performance (Book review)', Geographical Research, 49 444-446 (2011) [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, 'Review of 'From Venus to Antarctica: The Life of Durmont D'Urville' [Book Review]', The Globe, 62 56-57 (2009) [C3]
2009Sherval M, 'Introducing the 'tee' change-marketing, management and planning implications', Australian Planner, 46 47-52 (2009)
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]
CitationsScopus - 4Web of Science - 3
2008Sherval M, 'Gold in Russia: risks and rewards', Mining Journal London, 19 23-24 (2008) [C2]
2007Sherval M, 'Regional development and government reforms in the Chinese gold mining industry', AusIMM Bulletin, 56-59 (2007) [C2]

For decades Western companies desired access to China's lucrative markets and its expansive resource base, imagining the large profits to be made and the increased international reputations that could be established. More recently, through a series of economic liberalisation moves, China itself has sought to open its doors and to engage more fully with the globalising economy. One industry where this has been most apparent is the fledgling gold mining industry which over the past decade has grown from strength to strength.

2007Sherval M, 'Sovereign Risk in the Russian Federation', Resource Stocks, Oct 9-10 (2007) [C2]
Show 14 more journal articles

Review (2 outputs)

2014Sherval M, Askew LE, McGuirk PM, 'The Human Cost of Drought (2014) [D2]
Co-authorsPauline Mcguirk
2014Sherval M, Askew LE, McGuirk PM, 'Manifestations of Drought (2014) [D2]
Co-authorsPauline Mcguirk

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-authorsSalim 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 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]
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]
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]
Co-authorsDanielle Verdon, Anthony Kiem, Pauline Mcguirk
2011Sherval M, ''Drought and more' hindering barriers to development in rural Victorian towns', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference 2011 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]
Co-authorsLesley Instone, Sarah Wright, Pauline Mcguirk
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]
Co-authorsSarah Wright, Lesley Instone, Pauline Mcguirk
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 and the future of small inland towns', 2010 International Climate Change Adaptation Conference. Conference Handbook, Gold Coast, QLD (2010) [E3]
Co-authorsPauline Mcguirk, Anthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon
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]
Co-authorsPauline Mcguirk, Anthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon
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 conferences

Other (1 outputs)

2014Sherval M, Phelan L, 'Opinion: Clever Country Dreams Fade', ( pp.19). Newcastle: Newcastle Herald (2014)
Co-authorsLiam 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]
Co-authorsAnthony Kiem, Danielle Verdon, Pauline Mcguirk

Grants and Funding


Number of grants5
Total funding$153,355

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

20151 grants / $49,923

Intergenerational attitudes of changing land use$49,923

Funding body: NSW Department of Primary Industries

Funding bodyNSW Department of Primary Industries
Project TeamDoctor Hedda Askland, Doctor David Farrugia, Doctor Meg Sherval, Doctor Julia Coffey, Doctor Steven Threadgold, Doctor Michael Askew
SchemeResearch Grant
Funding Start2015
Funding Finish2015
Type Of FundingOther Public Sector - State

20111 grants / $9,555

Perceived risks to potential organic crop production from coal-seam gas exploration$9,555

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Meg Sherval
SchemeEarly Career Researcher Grant
Funding Start2011
Funding Finish2011
Type Of FundingInternal

20103 grants / $93,877

Drought and the future of small inland towns$80,000

Funding body: NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)

Funding bodyNCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)
Project TeamDoctor Anthony Kiem, Doctor Meg Sherval, Professor Garry Willgoose, Professor Pauline McGuirk, Conjoint Associate Professor Helen Berry, Doctor Danielle Verdon-Kidd
SchemeSynthesis and Integrative Research Programme
Funding Start2010
Funding Finish2010
Type Of FundingOther Public Sector - Commonwealth

Strategic support to enhance collaborations and grants performances$10,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamProfessor Pauline McGuirk, Associate Professor Jenny Cameron, Doctor Lesley Instone, Doctor Kathleen Mee, Doctor Meg Sherval, Doctor Sarah Wright
SchemeSpecial Project Grant
Funding Start2010
Funding Finish2010
Type Of FundingInternal

Evolving environmental geopolitics - territorialisation of the Arctic through increased resource nationalism$3,877

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Meg Sherval
SchemeNew Staff Grant
Funding Start2010
Funding Finish2010
Type Of FundingInternal

Research Supervision

Current Supervision

CommencedResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014Crafting Counter-Topographies: Tracing the Contours of Resource-Led Development Across Development 'Worlds'
Human Geography, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Principal Supervisor
2014The Effects of Climate Change on Economic Resilience of Australian Agricultural Communities and its Relationship to Food Security
Human Geography, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Principal Supervisor
2013The Politics of Sustainable Development in Laos PDR: Imagining a Different Future
Human Geography, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Principal Supervisor
2012Making Peace With the Orange Roughy
Human Geography, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Principal Supervisor
2012A Failure of Compassion? Unpacking the Binaries Associated with Asylum Seeker Identity
Human Geography, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Principal Supervisor
2011Climate Change Impact on Livelihood of Women in the Disaster Vulnerable Areas of Bangladesh - Responses to Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Future
Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science and Information Technology

Past Supervision

YearResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2008Understanding the Commonwealth Intervention in Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory
Human Geography, Macquarie University

Dr Meg Sherval


Senior Lecturer
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science and Information Technology

Focus area

Geography and Environmental Studies

Contact Details
Phone61 2 4921 6809
Fax(02) 4921 5877


BuildingSR (Social Sciences) 297
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308