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Hannah Fair


Thesis: Not Drowning but Fighting: exploring grassroots climate advocacy in the Pacific

My research is looking at understandings and actions of grassroots climate advocacy networks in response to climate change in the Pacific Islands. I will be conducting multi-sited fieldwork in Australia and multiple Pacific Island locations in the 2014-15 academic year. My research is engaging with questions concerning islander-led responses to climate change; challenging narratives of victimhood and inevitable forced migration in the Pacific; models of informal bottom-up regionalism in Oceania; and bringing situated cultural, religious and cosmological understandings of climate change into the climate change debate. Theoretically my work is currently shaped by Erik Swyngedouw's theory of the post-political condition, Mike Hulme's critique of the 'de-culturating of climate change' and Epeli Hau'ofa's Sea of Islands vision. Through this work I also aim to positively and practically contribute to debates within grassroots global climate justice organizing.

Primary Supervisor: Dr. Sam Randalls

Secondary Supervisor: Dr. Ben Page

Interests: climate change, small island states, social movements, environmental justice, climate justice, climate-induced migration, the Pacific/ Oceania.

Research networks: I am an honorary member of the Australian Association of Pacific Studies. In 2014 I conducted a three-month Overseas Institutional Visit to the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

Presentations and Publications



Not Drowning but Fighting: Pacific Climate Activists, Forced Migration Review, May 2015

We need to stand with small island states, New Internationalist, 16th March 2015

'Kayaks versus coal ships: Taking action with the Pacific Climate Warriors', Red Pepper, 11th December 2014


'Adaptation lessons from Vanuatu:actions for the future, mythologies of the past', UCL Paleoenvironmental seminar 'Climate adaptation - lesson from the past on human and ecosystem response', University College London, 1st December 2015, UK.

'We are outside of the Ark: Climate Change, Pacific Islands and the Allegorical Impacts of Noah', Pacific Waves Conference, University of Sussex, 7th November 2015, UK.

Panel discussant in 'What Does Climate Change? 80 Years of Environmental Politics, Left and Right' organised by the Platypus Affliated Society, Goldsmiths, University of London, 23rd October 2015, UK.

'Bringing Culture into Climate Change: three perspectives', University of the South Pacific, Pacific Studies Postgraduate Seminar Series, 6th May 2015, Fiji.

'A third wave of climate discourse: positively and politically reframing climate change in the South Pacific', University of the South Pacific, School of Social Sciences Seminar, 1st May 2015, Fiji.

'Not drowning but fighting: resisting the inevitability of climate migration in the Pacific', University College London, Geography Departmental Seminar, 20th May 2014, UK.

'Oceania, Migration and Climate Politics', Australian Association for Pacific Studies Conference, University of Sydney, 25th April 2014, Australia.

'Catastrophic, monstrous and generative: competing Maldivian visions of the sea and their implications for climate change certainty', Anthropology in London Conference, University College London, 11th June 2012, UK.


2014 - GEOG2009: Environment and Society (Second Year Module)
Facilitated seminars on ecological modernisation and sustainable consumption.

2012-2014 - Undergraduate Academic Tutor (Second Year Students, Human Geography)
Marked essays and facilitated small group tutorials focused on enhancing academic writing skills and developing dissertation proposals.

2012 - GEOGG021: Sustainable Development and Environmental Governance (MSc Module)
Facilitated seminars on ecological modernisation, deliberative democracy and public participation in policy-making.

Professional Training:

Fundamentals of Teaching in Higher Education for Teaching Assistants, University College London, 5-part course, October-December 2012

GEES Postgraduates who teach, Royal Geographical Society, One day workshop, 5th November 2012



PhD Candidate, University College London
Human Geography
2012 onwards
ESRC funded

MSc, University College London
Environment, Science and Society
Award: Distinction
ESRC funded
Dissertation: Contested conservation: governmentality, anti-­politics and the Chagos Marine Protected Area

BA Hons, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge
Social and Political Sciences (Part I) Social Anthropology (Part II)
Award: First
Received Hooper Scholarship (2007) and Sudbury-Hardyman Prize (2009) for dissertation research.
Dissertation: They are building a fence, we are building a movement: understanding police confrontation at the 2008 Camp for Climate Action

Relevant Work Experience

2013 - Ethics and Environment Coordinator, University College London Student Union

2010 - Biodiversity Intern, Greenpeace UK (focus on marine conservation in the Indian Ocean)

2010 - Campaigns and Policy Intern, World Development Movement (focus on Climate Justice campaign)

2009 - Diplomatic Intern and International Volunteer Programme Coordinator (2010), United Kingdom High Commission of the Maldives (focus on island education and on climate change)


UCL Department of Geography
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