Associate Professor Jessica Weir


Dr Jessica K Weir is an Associate Professor at the Institute and a non-Indigenous scholar who investigates environmental and natural hazard governance with respect to Indigenous peoples’ leadership, environmental crisis and the climate emergency. Jessica’s research unpacks how Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge practices and jurisdictions interact to circumscribe and transform understandings and possibilities in contemporary society. This includes recalibrating expert evidence standards through reworking the foundational subject/object domains in the social and natural sciences. Jessica’s internationally recognised book Murray River Country (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2009) examines how an alliance of Indigenous leaders critique the public sector’s either/or hyper-separation of nature and society, to counter argue both/and. Her research agenda is fundamentally informed by over two decades of collaboration with Indigenous leaders in Australia. As an engaged academic, Jessica builds on 20 years in the public, private and community sector, including ten years with the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). In addition to journal articles, Jessica prioritises non-traditional research outputs, including training for public servants and collaborations with artists. Jessica also prioritises collaborating with natural scientists. Her scholarship is in dialogue with Indigenous studies, decolonial studies, geography, political science, the environmental humanities, and science and technology studies. Jessica is a Visiting Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, and an editorial board member of the Routledge Environmental Humanities Book Series.

Jessica is available to supervise PhD students in her areas of expertise.


  • PhD, 2008, The Australian National University
  • MEnv&Dev, 1999, The Australian National University
  • BA, 1994, Macquarie University

Research Focus

  • Socio-ecological justice
  • Knowledge practices
  • Public sector governance

Honours and Awards

  • 2022 Emergency Management Professional Association award for Excellence in Emergency Communication – Research.
  • 2021 Dorothy R Taylor award for best paper in Australian Geographer
  • 2017-2020: 'Culture, Hazards and Indigenous Communities’, Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, $450,000
  • 2016-2017: 'Research Utilisation Grant’, Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, $10,000
  • 2014-2017: 'Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning', Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, $560,000
  • 2014: Keynote, Graduate Research Symposium, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2014: Visiting Scholar, Joseph A Myers Centre for Research on Native American Issues, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2013: Editorial Board, Environmental Humanities Book Series, Routledge
  • 2012-13: Senior Research Fellow, University of Canberra
  • 2007-2012: Research Fellow, AIATSIS
  • 2012: Visiting Faculty, BIARI Institute Climate Change and Water, Brown University
  • 2012: Keynote, Tapping the Turn international conference, The Australian National University
  • 2011-2013: 'Changes to Country and Culture, Changes to Climate: Strengthening Institutions for Indigenous Resilience and Adaptation', Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency's National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) Grants Program, $420,000
  • 2011-2012: 'Managing Weeds on Native Title Lands', Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, $187,000
  • 2011: Inclusion in the inaugural volume Best Australian Science Writing 2011, Pincock, S (ed), NewSouth, Sydney
  • 2011: Founder of the AIATSIS Centre for Land and Water Research
  • 2011: Internal bid to establish AIATSIS Centre for Land and Water Research, $45,000
  • 2011: Program Convener of the National Native Title Conference 2011, 1-3 June 2011, Brisbane
  • 2011: AIATSIS Award for Excellence and Commitment
  • 2010: Special project for AIATSIS Council, $20,000
  • 2009: Murray River Country book launch at the Melbourne Writers' Festival by Monica Morgan and John Doyle
  • 2007-2013: Founding member of the Ecological Humanities group
  • 2007-2012: Editorial Board, Native Title Research Unit Publications, AIATSIS

Selected Publications

Weir, JK. 2023 Expert knowledge, collaborative concepts, and universal nature: naming the place of Indigenous knowledge within a public-sector cultural burning program (opens in a new window), Ecology and Society 28(1):17.

Weir, JK, Neale T, Clarke EA. 2022 The recalibration of our relationships with science (and nature) by natural hazard risk mitigation practitioners (opens in a new window). Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. 5(3): 1654-1677.

Weir, JK 2021 Terrain: De/centring environmental management with Indigenous peoples’ leadership (opens in a new window), Borderlands, 20(1): 171-206.

Williams, B and JK Weir 2021 Indigenous peoples and natural hazard research, policy and practice in southern temperate Australia: an agenda for change (opens in a new window), Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 36(4): 62-7.

Freeman, D, Williamson, B and JK Weir 2021, Cultural Burning and Public Sector Practice in the Australian Capital Territory (opens in a new window), Australian Geographer. 52(2): 111-129.

Smith, W, Neale, T and JK Weir 2021, Persuasion without policies: The work of reviving Indigenous peoples’ fire management in southern Australia (opens in a new window), Geoforum, 120: 82-92.

So You Care About Indigenous Scholars?. So You Care About Indigenous Scholars? (opens in a new window) Poster Series, Ad Astra Comix: Canada.

Williamson, B, Markham, F and JK Weir, 2020. Aboriginal peoples and the response to the 2019–2020 bushfires (opens in a new window) Working Paper No. 134/2020, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, Canberra.

Weir, JK, Sutton, S and G Catt, 2020. Indigenous peoples’ fire management and the theory/practice of disaster justice (opens in a new window), in A Lukasiewicz and C Baldwin (eds), Natural Hazards and Disaster Justice: Challenges for Australia and its Neighbours, Palgrave Macmillan: Chicago, pp.299-317.

Weir, JK, Woelfle-Erskine, C, Diver, S, Fuller, S, and M Higgins, 2019. Investigating Best Practice: Doctoral Fieldwork with and without Indigenous Communities in Settler-Colonial Societies (opens in a new window), ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 18(6):1300-20.

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Jessica Weir presents 'Life on the inside of Country' at University of California, Berkeley (double click for full screen).