Place-based film for growing community engagement in local marine conservation

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Adele Bennett
Jennifer Cooper
Jenny Rock


Awareness, knowledge and community identity can grow from local narratives about conservation and enhance our capacity for environmental stewardship. New media narrative approaches are also seeking to improve the terms of community engagement across a spectrum of stakeholders. For instance, film is increasingly being used by scientists and policymakers to situate science stories within a community in order to increase local ownership and enhance engagement, be it through active participation in conservation or to support/social license. Here, the use of placebased documentary film as a tool to affect these outcomes is explored in a community adjacent to a controversial marine reserve, and we focus in particular on the effect of film on local youth.

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Author Biographies

Adele Bennett, Science Communication, University of Otago

Adele Bennet co-produced the film, Bluewater, as part of her masters research in science communication at the University of Otago, Dunedin.

Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper is a free-lance science communicator, who, along with Adele and Jenny, has a background in marine science.

Jenny Rock, Science Communication, University of Otago

Jenny Rock was Adele’s thesis supervisor for this work, as a senior lecturer in science communication at the University of Otago, Dunedin.