Fellows Detail

Professor Lesley Head

BA(Hons1), PhD (Monash)

Elected: 2011

Discipline: Geography

Specialisation: Human Geography, Anthropology, Environmental Social Sciences, Cultural Environmental Research, Plants, Households, Climate Change


My long-term research fascination is human-environment relations, both conceptual and material.  That is, I want to understand how humans have physically changed earth's systems, how we think about our place in nature, and how these two things are connected.  I have a particular focus on humans and plants.  In recent years I have worked mostly in cultural geography, with projects on backyard gardens, wheat and invasive plants.  This developed from my earlier interest in Aboriginal land use, ethnobotany and fire.  I started my research career using palaeoecology and archaeology to study long term changes in the Australian landscape, and the interactions of prehistoric peoples with their environments.

Two main current ARC projects are:

  • The Social Life of Invasive Plants
  • Sustainability and climate change adaptation: unlocking the potential of ethnic diversity.



  • Redmon Barry Distinguished Professor and Head, School of Geography, University of Melbourne (2015-)
  • ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, University of Wollongong (2010 - 2014)
  • Head, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong (2007 - 2009)
  • King Carl Gustaf XVI Visiting Professor in Environmental Sciences, Kristianstad University, Sweden (2005 - 2006)
  • Promoted to Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong (July 2004)
  • Associate Professor, School of Geosciences, later School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong (1998 - 2004)
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, later School of Geosciences (1994 - 1997)
  • Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Wollongong (1987 - 1993)



Vega Medal, Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (2015)

ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, University of Wollongong (2010 - 2014)

King Carl Gustav XVI Professor of Environmental Science, Sweden (2005 - 2006)

Visiting Professor, University of Gothenburg (2012 - 2014)



Head, L (2016) Hope and Grief in the Anthropocene. Re-conceptualising human-nature relations. UK: Routledge

Head L, Atchison J and Gates A (2012), Ingrained: a human bio-geography of wheat. UK: Ashgate (ISBN 978-1-4094-3787-1)

Head L and Muir P (2007), Backyard. Nature and Culture inSuburban Australia. University of Wollongong Press, Halstead Press (ISBN 978-1-920831-51-6)

Head L, Farbotko C, Gibson C, Gill N and Waitt G (2013), Zones of friction, zones of traction: the connected household in climate change and sustainability policy, in Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 20:351 - 362. (DOI:10.1080/14486563.2013.835286)

Head L, Adams J, McGregor H and Toole S (2013), Australia and Climate Change, in WIRES Climate Change. (DOI 10.1002/wcc.255)

Head L and Gibson C (2012), Becoming differently modern: geographic contributions to a generative climate politics, in Progress in Human Geography, 36(6): 699 - 714. (DOI: 10.1177/0309132512438162)


Website: findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person70857
Email: lesley.head [at] unimelb.edu.au
Work Phone: 03 83446479

Contact Information

Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

    ABN: 59 957 839 703
  • Location: 26 Balmain Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601
  • Postal: GPO Box 1956, Canberra, ACT 2601
  • +61 .2 62491788
  • +61 .2 62474335
  • secretariat@assa.edu.au