SEAE Seminar Series: Young people’s multiple climate justice activisms

Dr Eve Mayes, Researcher, Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Deakin University, in conversation with Natasha Abhayawickrama, Sophie Chiew, Netta Maiava, and Dani Villafaña, Deakin University.


In recent years, the inequitably distributed effects of climate change have fuelled school-aged students’ political action across the world. Climate change ‘amplifies, compounds, and creates new forms of injustices’ which are ‘interlinked and interconnected’ (Sultana, 2021, p. 448); in settler colonial societies, these injustices are intimately entwined with colonial logics and extractive capitalism (Birch, 2018; Whyte, 2020). This seminar is a conversation between five members of a research team, which includes four paid research assistants who are 18-21 years old and active climate justice organisers. This team is working together on a project co-constructing accounts of school-aged students’ climate justice activism(s); the five members of the team have been part of the project’s design, consultation and preparation of institutional ethics application, and will conduct research interviews, analysis, and be involved in co-authoring and co-presenting processes. Differentially positioned across identity markers and embodied experiences, we are interested in co-creating stories that compel attention to the textures and nuances of diverse young people’s multi-modal activism(s), and to the political differences and resonances between and among young people involved in climate justice activism(s). In this seminar, we discuss some of the ethical, methodological and political challenges we are grappling with as we work together.


Eve Mayes (she/her) is a Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Deakin University in the School of Education (Research for Educational Impact). Eve is currently undertaking the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Fellowship (DECRA) project: Striking Voices: Australian school-aged climate justice activism (2022-2025). Her book The Politics of Voice in Education is forthcoming (Edinburgh University Press).

Natasha Abhayawickrama (she/ her) is a recently graduated year 12 student with four years of experience as a volunteer community organiser with School Strike for Climate (Sydney and national organiser) and Sapna South Asian Climate Justice Solidarity. In her organising role, she has facilitated student meetings, coordinated outreach and partnership working groups, and has received training in social movement theory and campaign strategy.

Sophie Chiew (she/her) is an undergraduate university student with three years of experience in community organising and fundraising with School Strike for Climate and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Sophie has also volunteered as a youth advisor to Boroondara Council, a role which involved representing and collaborating with young people with diverse backgrounds and views. 

Netta Maiava (she/her) is an undergraduate student (Bachelor of International Studies, Development major, RMIT) and a volunteer community organiser for the Pacific Climate Warriors. Netta is currently undertaking an internship with 350 Pacific, and in her organising role, she has been involved with many projects. This experience and training have given her significant experiential knowledge of climate justice and activism.

Dani Villafaña (she/ her) is an undergraduate student and climate justice organiser with School Strike for Climate and Sweltering Cities, a small organisation focused on campaigning for cooler, more equitable cities (focusing on Western Sydney). She has also been an organiser in the sexual assault victim-survivor advocacy space, around the legislation of sex education and protections for survivors of gendered violence. She currently works as a campaigner with Fair Agenda.

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Video recording of this seminar

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Date and time

From: 04:00 PM Wednesday, November 9, 2022 Wednesday, November 9, 2022 3:00 PM - QLD time To: 05:00 PM Wednesday, November 9, 2022 Wednesday, November 9, 2022 4:00 PM - QLD time