Professor Juan Francisco Salazar

Professor, Communications, Media and Environment,  School of Humanities and Communication Arts

JuanJuan Francisco Salazar was born in Santiago, Chile, and migrated to Sydney in 1998. For the past fifteen years he has lived along the Cooks River, in unceded Gadigal, Wangal and D'harawal Country.

He is an interdisciplinary researcher, author and documentary filmmaker who engages with communities and places where the environmental and cultural challenges of living sustainably are starkly exposed. His academic and creative work explore the coupled dynamics of social-ecological change and is underpinned by a collaborative ethos across the arts, science and activism. He is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2020-2024) with a project that continues his decade long cultural research on Antarctica and new work on social studies of outer space. During this work in Antarctica, he led the Antarctic Cities project, with a team of 15 researchers in five countries and co-founded the International Antarctic Youth Coalition. From 2017-2023 he was Co-Chair of Future Earth Australia’s Steering Committee (Australian Academy of Science) and was part of the expert working group that authored the National Just Adaptation Strategy (2022). He co-led Western Sydney University’s Sustainability and Resilience Decadal Strategy (2021) and was a Contributing Author on Chapter 3 of the 2022 Methodological Assessment Report on the Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Juan has led participatory creative projects with Cambodian and African youth in Western Sydney and Aboriginal youth in Central Australia; with First Nations activists in Northern Chile and in the Wallmapu; community radio organizations in the Colombian Caribbean coast; as well as film projects in Vanuatu, Cambodia, and Antarctica, where he also founded the Antarctic Youth Coalition. He has developed collaborations with organizations in Sydney such as: The Australian Museum, The Powerhouse Museum, The Biennale of Sydney, Arts + Cultural Exchange, as well as internationally, including Proboscis Studio (UK), Live & Learn (Vanuatu), and INACH (Instituto Antártico Chileno).

His films and video installations include: Anatomia Monumental (1999), De la Tierra a la Pantalla (2004); 33˚South (with Sarah Waterson, 2008); Nightfall on Gaia (2015) and The Bamboo Bridge (with Katherine Gibson, 2019). They have screened at prestigious venues and festivals including Serpentine Galleries (London 2022); Biennale of Sydney (2022); London International Documentary Film Festival (2021); Vision du Reel (Nyon 2020); CPHDOX (Copenhagen 2015); Antenna Film Festival (Sydney 2015 and 2019); Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (Sydney 2008); Museo de las Americas (Denver 2005); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Santiago 1999).

He is a member of the editorial board of the journals, The Polar Journal, Media+Environment and Cultural Anthropology. His work has appeared on The Sydney Review of Books, The Conversation, The New Matilda, The Miami Rail.


  • PhD in Communication and Media, 2005, University of Western Sydney
  • Master of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies, 1999, University of Western Sydney
  • Graduate Diploma Environmental Management, 1996, Universidad de Chile
  • Bachelor of Anthropology (Honours), 1994, Universidad de Chile

Research Focus

  • Environmental humanities
  • Social studies of science
  • Documentary film
  • Antarctica and Outer Space
  • Indigenous media in Latin America
  • Socio-ecological transformations

Awards and Recognition

  • 2022 Visiting Professor, Programme Directeurs d'Etudes Associes DEA, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris
  • 2020-2023 Co-Chair, Future Earth Australia Steering Committee, Australian Academy of Science
  • 2020 Western Sydney University Researcher of the Year Award
  • 2019 ARC Future Fellowship Award
  • 2018 Visiting Professor, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
  • 2018 Ostrom Workshop Visiting Fellowship, Indiana University (Bloomington)
  • 2017 UNICEF-IAMCR Fellow, Universidad Uniminuto, Colombia
  • 2016-2020 University Research Theme Champion (Environment and Sustainability) 2016 Winner, Best Documentary, Barcelona Planet Film Festival
  • 2015 Visiting Professor, Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile
  • 2013 Visiting Professor, Universidad Uniminuto, Colombia
  • 2013 DFAT Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship
  • 2009 Winner, Best Book, Australian Educational Publishing Award for the co-authored book Screen media arts: an introduction to concepts and practices (opens in new window) (with H Cohen and I Barkat), Oxford University Press.

Key Research Projects

Australia a spacefaring nation: Imaginaries of space futures. ARC Future Fellowship 2020-2024.
Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons. ARC Linkage project 2016-2021

Selected Publications

Salazar, J. F. and Gorman, A. (Eds.) (2023) Routledge Handbook of Social Studies of Outer Space. New York and London: Routledge.

Roca, J., and Salazar, J.F. (Eds.) (2022) rīvus: A Glossary of Water. Sydney: Biennale of Sydney. ISBN 9780958040327.

Salazar, J. F., James, P., Leane, E., & Magee, L. (2021). Antarctic Cities: From Gateways to Custodial Cities. Parramatta, Sydney: Institute for Culture and Society.

Salazar, J.F. Kearns, M., Granjou, C., Krzywoszynska, A., and M. Tironi (Eds.) (2020) Thinking with Soils: Material Politics and Social Theory. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Pertierra, A., and Salazar, J.F. (Eds.) (2020) Media Cultures in Latin America: Key Concepts and New Debates. New York: Routledge

Salazar, J.F., S. Pink, A. Irving & J. Sjöberg (Eds.) (2017) Anthropologies and Futures: researching uncertain and emerging worlds. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Salazar, J.F., (2017). Antarctica and Outer Space: relational trajectories. The Polar Journal, 7(2), pp.259-269.

Granjou, C., J. Walker & J.F. Salazar (2017) “Politics of Anticipation: On Knowing and Governing Environmental Futures”. Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies. No. 125.

Praet, I., & J.F. Salazar (2017) “Familiarizing the Extraterrestrial / Making Our Planet Alien. Environmental Humanities”, Vol. 9 (2).

Cameron, F., B. Hodge & J.F. Salazar (2013) Representing climate change in museum space and places. WIREs Climate Change, 4(1), 9-21.

Salazar, J.F, & A. Cordova (2008) ‘Imperfect Media: The Poetics of Indigenous Video in Latin America’, in M. Stewart and P. Wilson (Eds) Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Poetics, and Politics. Duke University Press, pp. 39-57. ISBN 9780822343080.

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