Dr Paul Hodge

Dr Paul Hodge

Senior Lecturer

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

Career Summary


I am a non-Indigenous person of this land with ancestral ties to Cornwall England and Connacht Ireland. I was born on Kamilaroi Country, Tamworth, and spent most of my early life on Worimi Country, Nelson Bay, just north of Mulubinba, Newcastle, the land of the Awabakal and Worimi Nations. I currently live and work on Awabakal and Worimi Countries. My research is situated in the sub-disciplines of Indigenous-led geographies and Geographies of forced migration, humanitarian settlement and critical development studiesI focus on (i) Indigenous-led geographies and Natural Resource Management (NRM); (ii) Forced migration, humanitarian settlement & strengths-based community development; (iii) Vegan geographies;and, (iv) Critical pedagogy         

(i) Indigenous-led geographies and Natural Resource Management (NRM)
Project title - 'Caring for Country: Geographies of Co-existence in Gumbaynggirr Country': This research project, led by Aunty Shaa Smith, aims to work with Gumbaynggirr people and Country, to build a better understanding of what Gumbaynggirr-led Caring for Country might look like, and how it might be practiced, today. The research is a collaboration between Gumbaynggirr people led by Aunty Shaa Smith with Neeyan Smith, the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance of NRM organisations, UON (Sarah Wright, Lara Daley & myself), and Gumbaynggirr Country on the NSW mid-north coast (ARC Linkage Grant: July 2016-2021).

Source: Sarah Wright (Caring for Country - connecting through pippies on Gumbaynggirr Country)

As Aunty Shaa explains:

We call our group Yandaarra, which is Gumbaynggirr for a group going together, shifting camp together. This is also the name for our research and our work together. We see Yandaarra, our research, as a re-creation story. It’s about remembering what was (what is) as part of this re-creating. This work is about honouring Elders and custodians past, present and future. Our guidance from them is so important; it’s timeless, relevant for ever. Stories don’t belong to one time but for all time. This story that we’re doing now, the research, is relevant for then and now and for the future.

Project title - 'Yenama Budjari Gumada – Walk with Good Spirit: Darug Caring-as-Country, creating local environmental stewards': This Darug-led project located at Yellomundee Regional Park in western Sydney aims to develop, model and advocate greater environmental stewardship to facilitate important connections between Darug custodians and youth, environmental experts, management authorities and users, by: 1) Working with environmental experts to enhance, implement and document Caring-as-Country mechanisms. 2) Inspiring local users to Care-as-Country through building awareness of the area’s cultural, environmental and historical significance, and 3) Developing an adaptive model of cross-cultural environmental stewardship for use by NPWS, community groups and Aboriginal custodians of other sites in NSW. The project is a collaboration with geography colleagues from Macquarie University Associate Professor Sandie Suchet-Pearson, Dr Marnie Graham, Harriet Narwal, Darug custodian Uncle Lex Dadd, Aunty Corina Norman-Dadd, NPWS practitioner Paul Glass and UON HDR students  Rebecca Scott and Jess Lemire (Office of Environment and Heritage Environmental Trust Grant: April 2018 - April 2021).  

Source: Sandie Suchet-Pearson (signing in to Darug Country)

(ii) Forced migration, humanitarian settlement & strengths-based community development 

Source: Golding                                                            Source: The Australian Greens

In the area of forced migration, I continue to critique the Australian government’s position and policy relating to people seeking asylum (Hodge 2015, 2019).

Source: Green Left Weekly

Importantly, this research also involves calls to #BringThemHere as well as identifying and amplifying examples where the strengths, capacities and aspirations of people seeking asylum are being supported both ‘off-shore’ and ‘on-shore’ thus counteracting deficit narratives in the sector (Hodge and Curtis 2018; Hodge and Curtis 2020; Hodge and Hodge forthcoming).

My collaborative work on humanitarian settlement has involved working alongside colleagues at the University of Wollongong (Associate Professor Natascha Klocker), The University of Melbourne (Dr Olivia Dun) and community members including Emmanuel Musoni Director of The Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International.        

This research has developed evidence-based understandings of the complexities and possibilities of regional settlement. Two projects showcase both the aspirations and strengths of humanitarian migrants and practices and processes of ameliorating challenges posed by regional settlement (Klocker, Hodge et al. 2020; Klocker, Hodge et al. under review).

My collaborative work in strengths-based community development has involved working with practitioners situated in the Northern Territory (NT), the Pacific region and India. With UON colleagues Associate Professor Jenny Cameron, Associate Professor Amanda Howard (now at University of Sydney) and Dr Graeme Stuart, I was involved in consultancy and research with Industry-leader, not-for-profit Indigenous organisation, Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) embedding strengths-based approaches across the organisation as they transitioned towards participatory, community-centred development (Cameron, Hodge, Howard, Stuart 2016).

Source: Manasa Vatanitawake (Day 2)          Source: Paul Hodge (Day 1 Building a picture of ‘successful’ development)

My Pacific-based work with practitioner and academic Vivian Koster from USP involved facilitating a series of practitioner-led participatory meetings and workshops, and mentoring opportunities for youth practitioners to develop context-specific methodologies and adaptive typologies to evaluate and monitor development practices and processes (Hodge, Koster, et al. 2016). My India-based strengths-based research led by Professor Madhushree Sekher from the TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, is a collaboration using strengths-based asset mapping and photovoice methodologies to re-invigorate community-led approaches to development and poverty alleviation in rural India (Sekher, Hodge et al. under review; Sekher, Hodge et al. in progress). 

(iii) Vegan geographies
This research is an emerging collaboration with fellow Australian vegan geographers, Associate Professor Andrew McGregor and Dr Donna Houston (Macquarie University), Dr Yamini Narayanan (Deakin University), Dr Richard White (Sheffield Hallam University, UK) and Dr Simon Springer (Victoria University, Canada). The collaboration is currently working together to compile draft chapters for a book publication exploring the ethical and sustainability implications of veganism (projected publication date 2021).

(iv) Critical pedagogy
This research focus (with geography colleagues Associate Professor Sarah Wright and Dr Lara Daley, UON) makes contributions in critical pedagogy in development studies. The research explores experiential student learning when ‘on-Country’ with traditional custodians in the Northern Territory (Hodge et al 2011; Wright & Hodge, 2012; Hodge, Wright, Mozeley, 2014).