Professor Juan Francisco Salazar

Professor, Communications, School of Humanities and Communication Arts

Juan_SalazarJuan Francisco Salazar was born in Santiago, Chile, and migrated to Sydney in 1998. For the past fifteen years he has lived along the Cooks River, in unceded Gadigal, Wangal and D'harawal Country.

He is a researcher, author and videographer who engages with communities and places where the environmental and cultural challenges of living sustainably are starkly exposed. His academic and creative work explores the coupled dynamics of social-ecological change and is underpinned by a collaborative ethos across the arts, artists, science and activism. He holds a PhD in Communication and Media from Western Sydney University (2005) and a Bachelor of Anthropology from the University of Chile (1995). In 2020 he was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to continue a decade long cultural research on Antarctica and new work on social studies of outer space.

Juan has led participatory research projects in Western Sydney and Central Australia; in Northern Chile and in the Wallmapu; in the Colombian Caribbean coast; as well as in Vanuatu, Cambodia, and Antarctica. He has developed collaborations with organizations in Sydney such as The Australian Museum, The Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences, The Biennale of Sydney, Information + Cultural Exchange as well as internationally, including Proboscis Studio (UK) and the Instituto Antártico Chileno (INACH).

His films and video installations include: Anatomia Monumental (1999), De la Tierra a la Pantalla (2004); 33˚South (with Sarah Waterson, 2008); Nightfall on Gaia (2015) and The Bamboo Bridge (with Katherine Gibson, 2019) These have been exhibited in prestigious venues and festivals including: Serpentine Gallery (London 2022); Biennale of Sydney (2022); London International Documentary Film Festival (2021); Vision du Reel (Nyon 2020); CPHDOX (Copenhagen 2015); Antenna Film Festival (Sydney 2015 and 2019); Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 2008); Museo de las Americas (Denver 2005); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Santiago 1999).

He is a member of the editorial board of the journals, The Polar Journal, Media+Environment and Cultural Anthropology. His work has appeared on The Sydney Review of Books, The Conversation, The New Matilda, The Miami Rail.


  • PhD in Communication and Media, 2005, University of Western Sydney
  • Master of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies, 1999, University of Western Sydney
  • Graduate Diploma Environmental Management, 1996, Universidad of Chile
  • Bachelor of Anthropology (Honours), 1994, University of Chile

Research Focus

  • Social studies of science
  • Documentary film
  • Environmental humanities
  • Antarctica and Outer Space
  • Indigenous media in Latin America
  • Socio-ecological transitions.

Awards and Recognition

  • 2021-2022 Co-Chair - Future Earth Australia Steering Committee
  • 2020 Western Sydney University Researcher of Year Award
  • 2018 Visiting Professor, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
  • 2018 Ostrom Workshop Visiting Fellowship, Indiana University (Bloomington)
  • 2017 UNICEF-IAMCR Fellow, Universidad Uniminuto, Colombia
  • 2016-2020  University Research Theme Champion (Environment and Sustainability) 2016 Winner Best Documentary, Barcelona Planet Film Festival, for Nightfall on Gaia.
  • 2015 Visiting Professor, Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile
  • 2013 Visiting Professor, Universidad Uniminuto, Colombia.
  • 2013 AusAID Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship
  • 2009 Winner, Best Book, Australian Educational Publishing Award for the co-authored book Screen media arts: an introduction to concepts and practices (opens in new window) (with H Cohen and I Barkat), Oxford University Press.
  • 2000 Australian Postgraduate Research Award

Key Research Projects

Australia a spacefaring nation: Imaginaries of space futures. ARC Future Fellowship 2020-2024.
Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons. ARC Linkage project 2016-2021

Selected Publications

Roca, J., and Salazar, J.F. (Eds.) rīvus: A Glossary of Water. Sydney: Biennale of Sydney. ISBN 9780958040327.

Salazar, J. F., James, P., Leane, E., & Magee, L. (2021). Antarctic Cities: From Gateways to Custodial Cities. Parramatta, Sydney: Institute for Culture and Society.

Salazar, J.F. Kearns, M., Granjou, C., Krzywoszynska, A., and M. Tironi (Eds.) (2020) Thinking with Soils: Material Politics and Social Theory. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Pertierra, A., and Salazar, J.F. (Eds.) (2020) Media Cultures in Latin America: Key Concepts and New Debates. New York: Routledge

Salazar, J.F., S. Pink, A. Irving & J. Sjöberg (Eds.) (2017) Anthropologies and Futures: researching uncertain and emerging worlds. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Salazar, J.F., (2017). Antarctica and Outer Space: relational trajectories. The Polar Journal, 7(2), pp.259-269.

Granjou, C., J. Walker & J.F. Salazar (2017) “Politics of Anticipation: On Knowing and Governing Environmental Futures”. Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies. No. 125.

Praet, I., & J.F. Salazar (2017) “Familiarizing the Extraterrestrial / Making Our Planet Alien. Environmental Humanities”, Vol. 9 (2).

Cameron, F., B. Hodge & J.F. Salazar (2013) Representing climate change in museum space and places. WIREs Climate Change, 4(1), 9-21.

Salazar, J.F, & A. Cordova (2008) ‘Imperfect Media: The Poetics of Indigenous Video in Latin America’, in M. Stewart and P. Wilson (Eds) Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Poetics, and Politics. Duke University Press, pp. 39-57. ISBN 9780822343080.

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