Community Economies

Current Projects

Strengthening Economic Resilience in Monsoon Asia

2015 - 2018

Katherine, Gibson, Ann Hill, Lisa Law (CERN) and a wider research network

Sharing, reciprocity and resource pooling are at the frontline of recovery and relief when economic crisis or disaster hits Monsoon Asia. This Australian Research Council funded project sheds light on cases where these economic practices have been innovatively harnessed to diversify livelihoods and build economic resilience. Working with contemporary Asian scholars, practitioners in the disaster field and a data set gleaned from multiple sources, including mid-20th century tropical geography texts, the project brings to the fore a regional landscape of diverse economic practices across Monsoon Asia. A cross-regional on-line knowledge community is formed to explore how this asset base might be mobilized towards more effective local development and disaster response.

Mapping the Diverse Community Economy Sector in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Kelly Dombroski, Gradon Diprose, Stephen Healy, Oona Morrow, Jenny Cameron and others


Post-quake Christchurch has seen a flourishing of alternative economic activities that work to directly support the wellbeing of residents, often through the volunteer and community sector. This project seeks to produce a database, conceptual map, and a literal map of the diverse economic activities contributing to both coping with change and the future renewal of Christchurch. We are collaborating with local visual artists to produce a photobook and short film about the exciting community economy activities in our city that normally go under the radar. By increasing their visibility, we hope that we can influence decision-making processes in the ongoing city rebuild. We are actively seeking to recruit community researchers already embedded in the city -- contact Kelly Dombroski for further information. kelly.dombroski [at]

Rebuilding Lives: stories of post-crisis transformation from the Philippines

Ann Hill with a collective of scholars, lay-researchers, and nonhuman and material 'others'

2015 - 2018

Stemming from Hill's doctoral project 'Growing community food economies in the Philippines', Rebuilding Lives is a story telling/ book writing project set in urban and peri-urban Mindanao and Manila. The aim of the project is to ground theoretical ideas about 'more-than-human community economies' and 'ethical assemblages' in emprically rich stories. To be included in the book are stories of individuals, NGOs, local governments, community organisations and university researchers acting as catalysts and agents of change, and stories of typhoons, rivers, plants, vegetables, 'waste' materials and digital media acting as agents of change. The project combines doctoral and post-doctoral field research and theoretical insights to examine how lives, livelihoods, crisis events, materials and more-than-human forces meld and work together to create more liveable worlds.

For more information on this project contact Dr Ann Hill on ann.hill(at)

Collective action responding to climate change

Gerda Roelvink  


This project investigates social movements forming around ethical economic experiments, such as agriculture centred on landscape repair. More specifically, it explores processes of collectivisation in economic experiments that are transforming relationships between humans and animals, nature and the more-than-human world more generally. The first stage of this project is a case study of a social movement forming around agricultural innovation in Australia.

Food Based Community Enterprises in Australia

Jenny Cameron


This project is investigating food based community enterprises in Australia, and especially Newcastle. It uses collaborative research methods (like workshops and field trips with people running food based initiatives) to find out more about how the enterprises operate and to help connect the different initiatives with each other. One early outcome is a workshop report; at the moment I'm working with community gardens in Newcastle to develop a website based on fields trips to each other's gardens.

Mothering and Economic Practices in northwest China and Australasia

Kelly Dombroski


A doctoral thesis project exploring diverse mothering and economic practices in Qinghai province, China, and the adoption and adaption of some of these practices by mothers in Australia and New Zealand. In this project, economic/mothering practices travelling from 'developing' to 'developed' contexts are shown to offer possibilities for much needed social and environmental transformation in developed countries.

Rethinking the Creative Economy: Participatory Action Research with Artists and Artisans in the Greater Franklin County

Abby Templer, Leo Hwang-Carlos


The aim of this project is to highlight and support the diverse economic activity of the artists and artisans in the region. Through the use of participatory action research (PAR) with a group of artists and cultural ambassadors, we will create a community partnership of people who: are taught how to recognize various forms of economic activity, are given tools and resources to record and document these activities, and are provided with consultation to identify practices and endeavors that can strengthen those activities

Community Economies in Berlin: A Case Study of Economic Citizenship Practices in Urban Space

Esra Erdem

2012- ongoing

This project investigates the diversity of community economies in Berlin, Germany. It considers the ways in which these interventions can be understood as practices of economic citizenship, thus contributing to the debate on urban renewal in post-industrial space.

Urban Homesteading: Changing Social and Economic relations through self-provisioning in the city. 

Oona Morrow

2011 - ongoing

This doctoral dissertation examines the social and economic relations that develop around urban self-provisioning practices, such as do-it-yourself, urban agriculture, and cottage food production. Through ethnographic research with urban homesteaders in Boston it explores the intersection between gender and diverse economies, sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods, and urban policy, land use, and law.  

Past Projects

Community Partnering Project Latrobe Valley, Victoria 1999-2001

A partnership between community members, university based researchers and the Latrobe City Council designed to strengthen the community economy by building upon the assets and capacities of those usually seen as most marginalized. This project was funded by the Australian Research Council Strategic Partnerships-Industry and Training Grants Scheme in collaboration with Monash University and Latrobe City, with contributions from Australian Paper and Loy Yang Power.

Rethinking Economy in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, 1999-2001

Based on a powerpoint presentation that gives an overview of the methods and results of the Pioneer Valley Rethinking Economy Project.