Researcher

My Expertise

Environmental communication and culture; Ecocultures and ecocultural identities; Ecotourism and wildlife; Environmental activism; Environment and society

 

 

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Environmental communication, Environment and culture, Communication and media studies, Cultural studies, Human geography, Cultural geography

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Biography

Tema Milstein is an internationally recognised leader in the field of environmental communication, a transdisciplinary field that understands communication as having far-reaching effects at a time of human-generated environmental crises. She is particularly known for cultural approaches to studying how communication shapes ecological understandings, identities, and actions. Her work tends to discourses that otherwise go unnoticed, to...view more

Tema Milstein is an internationally recognised leader in the field of environmental communication, a transdisciplinary field that understands communication as having far-reaching effects at a time of human-generated environmental crises. She is particularly known for cultural approaches to studying how communication shapes ecological understandings, identities, and actions. Her work tends to discourses that otherwise go unnoticed, to connections between discourses and wider destructive or restorative practices, and to paths toward sustainable, just, and regenerative futures. Her research spans the globe, illustrating tensions between overarching and marginalized environmental meaning systems, examining ecotourism and environmental activism, and establishing the study of ecocultural identities. Her recently published Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (2020) (with co-editor José Castro-Sotomayor) gathers 40 international authors from across disciplines to bring the ecological turn to sociocultural understandings of the self. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and is the 2020 recipient of the Faculty of Arts, Design, and Architecture Dean's Research Award for Society Impact. She earned her PhD from the University of Washington.

As a member of the Environment & Society Group, Milstein currently serves as program convenor of the Master of Environmental Management program, which focuses on nourishing tomorrow's change-makers in regeneratively rethinking and reshaping the world. She is dedicated to transformative ecopedagogy, and is co-editor of Environmental Communication Pedagogy and Practice (Routledge, 2017), founder of the "inside-out classroom," and served as her former institution's University Presidential Teaching Fellow. Milstein has taught at universities in Australia, the United States, Italy, China, and New Zealand.  Before coming to UNSW, she served as an associate professor of Geography & Environmental Studies and Environmental Communication at the University of New Mexico. In her previous professional life, she was a newspaper and public radio journalist.


My Grants

Recent Examples:

  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service
    • Project lead/chief investigator. Developing the university campus as an urban wildlife refuge. August 2018-July 2020.
    • Project lead/chief investigator. Conservation management audio-visual public messaging. August 2018-May 2019.
    • Project lead/chief investigator. Conservation management social media outreach. August 2017-May 2018.
    • Project co-lead/chief investigator. Wildlife and pollinator habitat via campus community garden pedagogy. August 2017-July 2018.
       
  • Mandela Washington Fellowship Academic and Leadership Institute (flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative). Co-investigator/project lead for environmental communication. 25 young African leaders, six-week institute. US Department of State, US International Research and Exchanges Board, US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 2017.
     
  • McCune Foundation. Partner investigator/expert consultant. MediaDesk NM capacity building for non-profit sector in sustainability innovation. 2013-2014.
     
  • US Fulbright Scholar/Fulbright New Zealand. Senior Scholar. New Zealand ecotourism communication practices and sustainability. Kaikoura & Auckland, New Zealand. US Congress and partner country. 2012.
     
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Co-investigator. Collaborative for Sustainable Foodshed Development. 2010-2013.

 


My Qualifications

PhD, University of Washington

MA, University of New Mexico


My Awards

  • Faculty of Arts, Design, and Architecture Research Fellow. UNSW. 2022.
     
  • Faculty of Arts, Design, and Architecture Dean's Research Award for Society Impact. UNSW. 2020.
     
  • University of Tasmania Visiting Fellow. Hobart, Australia. 2016.
     
  • Journal Article Awards: 
    • National Communication Association. For Outstanding Environmental Scholarship.
      • 2017. Sole author
      • 2009. Sole author
         
  • Book Awards:
    • American Educational Studies Association. Critics Choice Award.
      • 2013. Chapter author
    • National Communication Association. For Outstanding Environmental Scholarship.
      • 2020. Co-editor
      • 2017. Co-editor
      • 2013. Chapter author
      • 2010. Chapter author
         
  • Top Conference Papers:
    • International Communication Association. Environmental Division:  2017,  2012.
    • National Communication Association. Environmental Division:  2010,  2006.
    • Western States Communication Association. Environmental Division:  2011.
       
  • Teaching Awards:
    • Presidential Teaching Fellow. University of New Mexico. 2015-2017. 
    • Outstanding Teacher of the Year. University of New Mexico. 2011. 

My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

See my areas of expertise and published research


Currently supervising

  • PhD student Gretchen Miller. The Rescue Project, citizen-storytelling, courage, and the more-than-human world.
  • PhD student Madeleine Miller. Critical food politics and regenerative farming agriculture paradigms. 
  • PhD student Catherine Sarah Young. Participatory art and climate science. As Scientia mentor.
  • PhD student Joanne Christine Marras Tate. Covid-era more-than-human discourses and reclamations of space. External (University of Colorado Boulder, US).
  • Master's student Rhiannon Newton. Dance and embodied performance as potentially ecoculturally restorative.

 


My Engagement

Recent podcasts:

Recent media articles:


My Teaching

I am passionate about teaching. I understand the classroom as a uniquely transformative space wherein people can collectively raise awareness about unseen dimensions of culture and society and gain tools to imagine and practice restorative and regenerative futures. I've taught for more than two decades in higher education and I currently teach:

IEST5005 Environmental Communication

IEST5001 Frameworks for Environmental Management

ARTS1241 Environmental Advocacy and Activism

 

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Videos

In conversation with Dr. Laura McLauchlan, Associate Professor Tema Milstein discusses her most recent publication, the Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (2020), co-edited with José Castro-Sotomayor.