Social Science Community for the Great Barrier Reef Symposium 2023


    The Great Barrier Reef is a natural system of profound social, cultural, economic and ecological importance for both the Australian and International community. The relationships between people and the Reef are complex and diverse, sometimes resulting in competing and contested values. As communities grow and human interests multiply, maintaining and cultivating the values of the Reef becomes more challenging. This is particularly the case as the planet warms.

    The Social Science Community for the Great Barrier Reef is delighted to invite you to the 2023 symposium: Reef values: ecologies, communities and connections. This symposium will bring together a community of researchers, practitioners and policymakers to explore the diverse values, ecologies, and communities of the Reef. It provides a platform for participants to share knowledge, research findings, cutting edge methodologies and engage in critical and creative thinking about the social dimensions of Reef conservation, management, and sustainable development.

    UPDATE 20SEP23: Recordings from the symposium will be uploaded to the Reef Authority's YouTube Channel The Reef Authority - YouTube Please note this will take a few weeks from symposium date.


    Monday, 11 September | Crystalbrook Riley Hotel, Cairns

    This is a full day from 8.30 am - 5.00 pm. Catering will be provided. 
    The third annual Social Science Community for Reef symposium will bring together scientists, practitioners and Reef managers to discuss the role of social science in Reef management. The theme of the event is Reef Values: Ecologies, Communities and Connections. Presenters will showcase how social science is being used to promote Reef and climate stewardship in the community, is being used to inform and improve Reef decision-making, and can inform future Reef management solutions and interventions.

    Keynote One: Associate Professor Kerrie Foxwell-Norton, Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University, QLD

    Keynote Two: Jason Ramsamy, Director TUMRA, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

    As well as our keynote speakers, we are currently in the process of finalizing an exciting program of symposium presentations. Please check back here for the final program.



    Tuesday 12 September | James Cook University Nguma Bada Campus, Smithfield

    Prior to registering, please refer to the timetable below and note that some workshops will be running at the same time.

    Pre-workshop tea and coffee will be served at The Cairns Institute (Building D3) from 8am and, if needed, participants will be given directions to their workshop venue. Lunch will also be served at The Cairns Institute.

    A full description of the workshops can be found here and maps of the workshop locations can be found further below the page.

    Refer to the add-ons to register your interest  |  Workshop descriptions

    Optional Field Trip

    To the Great Barrier Reef with Symposium Delegates ($$$)

    As part of the SSCR Symposium this year, the SSCR Organising Committee is offering delegates the opportunity to join a group tour to Moore Reef on Sunday 10th September. Planning for the field trip requires an estimate of numbers, so please indicate your interest by selecting one of the options below.

    What to expect:

    • Approximate cost $250 per person (final cost to be confirmed, as a group booking discount will be sought)

    • Boarding from Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal commences 8:15am

    • 9am Departure, 10:30am arrive at Moore Reef pontoon, 5 hours at the Reef with buffet lunch included

    • Inspection of assisted coral recovery field trials (MARS Reef Stars + RRAP CAD devices) and group discussion with coral restoration scientists and practitioners.

    • Optional guided snorkel, semi-submersible tour and other activities.

    • 5pm arrive back at Cairns marina.

    Register here

    Should you have any queries regarding the Reef Trip, please contact Matt Curnock

    About the Social Science Community for the Great Barrier Reef

    The Social Science Community for the Great Barrier Reef is a collaboration between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Office of the Great Barrier Reef (Department of Environment and Science, Queensland), James Cook University, The Cairns Institute, Queensland University of Technology, and University of Queensland. The group brings together social science practitioners and academics working in the Great Barrier Reef Region. The purpose of the group is to collaborate, share knowledge and provide a platform for improving understanding of social science for the Reef, both research and applied.

    You can become part of this community through our LinkedIn page here.


    Please read the Submission Rules prior to submitting an abstract below. 

    Call for abstracts - CLOSED

    We invite the submission of abstracts for symposium presentations.

    If you would like to present at the symposium, please submit an abstract (200-250 words) here and become part of the collective effort to understand, engage and foster Reef communities and protect and conserve precious reef ecosystems.

    Abstracts must be submitted by 5pm on 31 May 2023 - EXTENDED TO 8 JUNE 2023 - NOW CLOSED

    Presentations will be approximately 10 minutes long (duration to be advised). In person presentations are preferred but online presentations are possible.

    Presentations can draw on social scientific research, community projects, the application of social science in policy, projects or other issues relevant to the Symposium theme. Potential presentations might address:

    • Understanding and managing the multiple and contested values of the Great Barrier Reef
    • Enhancing the social, economic, and cultural well-being of Reef communities
    • Understanding the risks and benefits of Reef management and policy
    • Novel approaches to collaboration, co-design and participation
    • Creative research methodologies
    • Any other ideas that relate to the Symposium theme

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