Dr Rebecca Elmhirst’s interest in the ways communities respond to negative and socially uneven impacts of environmental change began when she was introduced to feminist geography as a Masters Student at the University of British Columbia in Canada. For her PhD, she spent a year doing ethnographic fieldwork and living with a family of resettled ‘forest squatters’ in what was at that time an inaccessible and very poor part of Lampung, Indonesia.
Learning from the women and men of this poor and marginalised community launched two decades of research and teaching experience on struggles over environmental governance, migration and social justice in the global South. Most of her work is in partnership with scholar-activists in Southeast Asia, with whom she has developed various programmes of research and teaching. These include current projects on the links between migrant remittances, livelihoods and forest governance in Indonesia, and on living with floods in peri-urban contexts in Southeast Asia.