Faculty and Staff

Tim Frewer, PhD

Tim Frewer, PhD

Lecturer in Environmental Ethics and Development
Bachelor of Science
Sydney University
Sydney University
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Faculty Profile

Tim is a human geographer who has been researching development interventions, conservation and agrarian change in frontier areas in Cambodia over the last 17 years. After completing a Bachelor of Science at Sydney University, Tim worked in rural Cambodia with an international development NGO leading a project on how land use change in the northeast impacts indigenous communities. Tim has worked for various NGOs and institutions, including the United Nations Development Program and the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and a range of universities, mostly looking at how markets and state interventions play out in rural frontier areas.

Tim completed his PhD at Sydney University in 2017, which looked at how climate change projects work on the ground (in rural Cambodia). A key theme of Tim’s research since that time has been to try and better understand the divergence between people’s struggles on the ground (especially in frontier areas) and state and NGO representations of rural struggle. In particular Tim is interested in how different people adapt to and struggle against the expansion and intensification of a capitalist market.

Since beginning his PhD Tim has taught and tutored in a range of geography subjects at the University of Sydney as well as working two years as a lecturer in development and Environmental Geography at the Australian Catholic University.

Recently Tim has been leading a research project that looks at cultural heritage in the Prey Lang Protected area (National Chengchi University), as well being involved in a multi-site project looking at the impacts of dams in Southeast Asia (Australian National University). Tim has also been working for human rights NGOs looking at the situation of indigenous people in frontier areas, and is working collaboratively with community groups in central and northern Cambodia.

Academics & Research

Research Interests

Tim’s recent Direct Research projects at SFS Cambodia include:

  • Urban Recyclers of Siem Reap. Looking at the working conditions of waste pickers and their position within the recyclable goods commodity chain.
  • Urban resettlement in Siem Reap. Looking at the backgrounds of poor urban squatters and livelihood changes once they move to relocation villages.
  • Histories of migration on the Tonle Sap lake. Looking at the histories of migration of fisher people on the Tonle Sap lake and how they have used the lake to escape the pressures and threats of the state and market.
  • Shifting livelihoods on the Tonle Sap lake. Looking at how people dependent on fishing are dealing with declining fish stocks and new administrative procedures.