Dr Joshua Whittaker is a Research Fellow with RMIT University’s Centre for Risk and Community Safety in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Joshua is a human geographer with interests in the human dimensions of environmental hazards and disasters, and people’s capacities to respond to social, economic and environmental change. His PhD (RMIT, 2009) examined human vulnerability to bushfires and drought in East Gippsland in south-eastern Australia. The research documented the production of vulnerability through processes of social, economic and environmental change in the region.
After completing his PhD, Joshua took a lead role in the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre’s Research Taskforce following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. He led a team of researchers that interviewed more than 600 survivors and administered a mail questionnaire of 1300 households affected by the fires. He was lead author of a series of reports prepared for the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and a paper published in International Journal of Wildland Fire. His role in the Research Tasforce was recognised at the 16th Australasian Fire Authorities and Emergency Services Council (AFAC) Conference with a $5000 Research Excellence Award.
Joshua is currently a Co-Chief Investigator on Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) project that is investigating informal volunteering in emergencies and disasters. The research aims to examine the opportunities and challenges posed by ordinary citizens who volunteer outside of formal emergency and disaster management systems. He is also Co-Chief Investigator on a Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme (NDRGS) project in collaboration with CSIRO. The project is examining safe sheltering practices during bushfires to assist fire authorities to develop policy, education programs and advice related to sheltering. He has worked extensively with government and industry on a range of collaborative research projects and consultancies.
In addition to his research, Joshua is the course coordinator and lecture for an undergraduate Human Geography course. The course introduces students to key concepts and ideas in human geography and encourages them to develop a geographical perspective on issues related to globalisation, development, environmental change, and disasters.
- Co-Chief Investigator ‘Out of uniform: building community resilience through non-traditional emergency volunteering’ (funded by the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre)
- Co-Chief Investigator ‘Investigating safe sheltering practices during bushfires’ in collaboration with CSIRO (funded by the Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme)
- Course coordinator and lecturer for HUSO 1104 and HUSO 2150 ‘Human Geography’
- Member of the College of Science, Engineering & Health (SEH) College Human Ethics Advisory Network (CHEAN)
- PhD (Geography), RMIT University, 2009
- BSocSci (Hons), RMIT University, 2004
- Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre
- Institute of Australian Geographers
- National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
- McLennan, B.,Molloy, J.,Whittaker, J.,Handmer, J. (2016). Centralised coordination of spontaneous emergency volunteers: The EV CREW model In: Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 31, 24 - 30
- Choy, S.,Handmer, J.,Whittaker, J.,Shinohara, Y.,Hatori, T.,Kohtake, N. (2016). Application of satellite navigation system for emergency warning and alerting In: Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 58, 12 - 18
- Whittaker, J.,McLennan, B.,Handmer, J. (2015). Building community resilience through informal emergency volunteering In: Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Wellington, New Zealand, 2-5 September 2014
- McLennan, B.,Whittaker, J.,Handmer, J. (2015). The future of 'non-traditional' emergency volunteering: what will it look like and how can it work? In: Proceedings from the Research Forum at the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference: Research Forum 2015, Adelaide, Australia, 1-3 September 2015
- Whittaker, J.,McLennan, B.,Handmer, J. (2015). A review of informal volunteerism in emergencies and disasters: Definition, opportunities and challenges In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 13, 358 - 368
- Whittaker, J.,Eriksen, C.,Haynes, K. (2015). Gendered Responses to the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria, Australia In: Geographical Research, , 1 - 13
- Foster, H.,Whittaker, J.,Handmer, J.,Keating, A.,Lowe, T. (2013). Regional Victoria in 2021: changes and implications for the emergency management sector In: The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 28, 51 - 55
- Foster, H.,Towers, B.,Whittaker, J.,Handmer, J.,Lowe, T. (2013). Peri-urban Melbourne in 2021: changes and implications for the Victorian emergency management sector In: The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 28, 6 - 11
- McLennan, J.,Elliot, G.,Omodei, M.,Whittaker, J. (2013). Householders' safety-related decisions, plans, actions and outcomes during the 7 February 2009 Victorian (Australia) wildfires In: Fire Safety Journal, 61, 175 - 184
- Foster, H.,Whittaker, J.,Towers, B.,Handmer, J. (2013). Metropolitan Melbourne in 2021: changes and implications for the emergency management sector In: Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 28, 9 - 14
1 Masters by Research Completions2 PhD Current Supervisions