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Tayanah O'Donnell

Honorary Senior Lecturer, Australian National University

Tayanah O'Donnell is a lawyer and social scientist, and currently Director of Future Earth Australia, the Oceania node for the global Future Earth research network. In addition to her ANU affiliation she is also a Visiting Principal Research Fellow with the Centre for Urban Research, in the School for Global, Urban and Social Studies, at RMIT University.

She previously worked as a Research Fellow with the University of Canberra, Australia (2013-2018). Building on her research career that commenced in 2009 at the Urban Research Centre at Western Sydney University, Tayanah’s research is primarily situated in the legal geography field, where she examines the geo-legalities and intersections between property, place, law, and climate change adaptation. She has a strong interdisciplinary track record, utilising her legal skills and social research expertise to contribute to current debates relating to the social, political, and legal consequences of climate change impacts.

Tayanah has lectured in law, land use planning, and in the social sciences generally since 2008. She commenced her academic career at Western Sydney University, where she completed an LLB and BSSc (Hons), a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, and her Ph.D. She has lectured and tutored in law at the Australian National University in legal theory, contract law, and equity and trusts law, and in the urban planning program at the University of Canberra.

During 2006-2009, she worked as a solicitor specialising in environment and planning litigation in Sydney, Australia, and spent 2009-10 working as a researcher for Justice Sheahan AO in the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales. She currently the convenor for the Institute of Australian Geographers Legal Geography Study Group.


  • 2018–present
    Director, Future Earth Australia
  • 2013–2018
    Research fellow, University of Canberra


  • 2018 
    University of Western Sydney, PhD
  • 2007 
    University of Western Sydney, Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
  • 2006 
    University of Western Sydney, Bachelor of Social Science/Laws (hons)

Professional Memberships

  • Institute of Australian Geographers