Social Science for the Reef: Inaugural Symposium

    The inaugural Great Barrier Reef's social science symposium bought together more than 200 scientists to discuss the role of social science in Reef management. The Reef social science symposium held in Townsville and online was a collaborative program led by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

    The symposium theme- Connectivity, flow and change: Social perspectives on the Great Barrier Reef explored new and existing ways social science can be aid Reef health. Presentations talked of ways for greater connectivity between Reef managements, an academic's role within a community of practices; The afternoon session explored ways of navigating Reef social science in the future.

    The talks ranged from ways social media can aid Reef management, community action plans, social science helping local champions, how we see the Reef through a sense of place, and what can community deliberation do to help the Reef.  The afternoon plenary speaker, Dr Bruce Taylor, CSIRO GBR coordinator, gave a tantalising talk on how social science is helping the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP)

    The day was rounded out, with a panel discussion reflecting on the day's talks and the future for reef social science. Chaired by GBRMPA Dr Michelle Dyer, the panel included The Cairns Institute Director, Prof Lockie, and TCI Researcher/ CASE academic Dr Maxine Newlands, alongside social scientists from QUT, CSIRO and the Queensland government.

    The symposium was a partnership hosted by the Social Science Community for the Reef, an initiative of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Office of the Great Barrier Reef (Department of Environment and Science, Queensland), James Cook University: Cairns Institute and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Queensland University of Technology, and the University of Queensland.

    The Social Science Community for the Reef group brings together social science practitioners and academics working in the Great Barrier Reef Region. The group's purpose is to collaborate, share knowledge and provide a platform for improving understanding of social science for the Reef, both research and applied.

    people seated at long table on a podium

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