Park matters: performing nature in the Australian city

The Quarries Park - Melbourne

This research focuses on park spaces as a lens through which to explore questions of nature-society and human-animal relations in urban settings. It explores themes of everyday human-animal encounters, practices of park management, native vs. exotic nature debates, human-plant geographies, affect, non-human agency, and the performance of postcolonial urban natures.

Human-dog encounters in urban public space
Lesley Instone, Kathy Mee

This project investigates how human-animal relations are constituted in and through public urban spaces. The research explores boundary-making practices in off-leash dog parks, the performativity of legal regulation of domestic dogs and their human owners, and the urban spatialities of human-dog relations.

Enacting urban grasslands
Lesley Instone

This project explores the affective dimensions of natural and restored native grasslands in Melbourne. It considers the cultural politics of ecological restoration, vexed questions of 'nativeness' and belonging in urban park space, and emerging modes of ecological politics in the post/colonial city.


Human and nonhuman encounters in urban park space, Sarah Bell (2011- 2015)


Same tree, different risk: Urban trees and the production of risk, Ryan Jones (2011-2012)



Instone L and Mee KJ (2011) 'Companion Acts and companion species: boundary transgressions and the place of dogs in urban public space', in J Bull (Ed) Animal Movements - Moving Animals: essays on direction, velocity and agency in humanimal encounters. Uppsala: Crossroads of knowledge series at the Centre for Gender Research, University Printers, Uppsala

Instone L (2010) Encountering native grass: Matters of concern in an urban park, Australian Humanities Review 49, 91-117

Presentations include

Instone L (2011) Unruly grasses: Affect and dis/order in Melbourne's grasslands. Uses of Affect Workshop, Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy, University of Western Sydney, June

Instone L (2011) Regulating Rover: legislating the public place of urban pet dogs, Animals, people – a shared environment, 4th Biennial Australian Animal Study group Conference, Griffith University Brisbane, July.

Instone L (2010) Encountering biodiversity as a 'matter of concern', Unruly ecologies: Biodiversity and art, A Symbiotic A Symposium, University of Western Australia, Perth, November.
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Instone  L (2010) Encountering native grasslands in public space, CCS Seminar Series Public nature, private spaces: the intersection of the public and private in Australian cities, UTS, Sydney 20 October.

Instone L (2010) Post/colonial naturecultures: Grass/native grasses and urban parklands in Melbourne, 'New Biogeographies' Symposium and Workshop, University of Wollongong, 17-19 February.

Instone L (2010) Native grass reintroductions in Melbourne parks, 'New Biogeographies' Symposium and Workshop, University of Wollongong, 17-19 February.

Instone L and Mee KJ (2010) Doggy encounters: performing new pet relations in the park, Animal Movements: Moving Animals: Discussion on direction, velocity and agency in humanimal encounters, Uppsala University, Sweden, May

Instone L (2008) If you go down to the woods park today: performing Flockhart reserve, Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 29 June - 3 July

Instone L (2007) The secret life of parks, Nature Matters: Materiality and the More than Human in Cultural Studies of the Environment Conference, Toronto, October 25-28

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.