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The most important people in this project are the research participants who share their knowledge, experience and stories with us. Without you this project would not exist and we are grateful for your support and trust in us. Equally, the mentors and collaborators in each case study country supporting this research are invaluable contributors. They continue to shape the research design and approach to this project. We are indebted to you beyond words and acknowledge your contribution.


The project was developed by Dr Isabel Sebastian for a Marie Skłodoska-Curie Research Fellowship with guidance and support from leading researchers at Cardiff University's Sustainable Places Research Institute and School of Geography and Planning. Support and guidance from partners and advisors in Australia, Bhutan and Wales continues to shape the project and is gratefully acknowledged.



I am a social science researcher and currently a Marie Skłodoska-Curie Research Fellow undertaking the Regenerative Place project (REGenPLACE) at the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University. This fellowship project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 MSCA Fellowship program.

I completed a PhD in Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney in March 2018. I undertook part of my PhD research in 2013-15 exploring Bhutan's development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and its associated Buddhist worldview and narrative, and their impact on local business sustainability. I also hold a Post-graduate Diploma in Environmental Studies (Macquarie University), Bachelor of Business (Victoria University), Certificate in Workplace Training & Assessment and an Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching (Nature Care College). My current research interests include transdisciplinary research, systems thinking and systems change, human geography and post-and de-colonial studies. I am particularly interested in the relationships between people and their environment.

Prior to my foray into academia I had a 20-year professional career and experience in nature-based tourism, visitor management in protected areas and sustainable development. I lived and worked in Australia, Luxembourg, Germany, India, Tajikistan and Bhutan, working in operational, management, planning, research, teaching and consulting roles. Across these countries I worked in tourism and hospitality companies, industry associations, NGOs, academia and as a co-founder and director of a sustainable tourism consultancy in Australia (1997-2005).  I learned much from all those diverse  experiences but the most important life and professional lessons of
patience, humility and compassion I started learning while living in Bhutan for 9 years (2006 - 2015). 

I love learning from and listening to nature and being with its people among the mountains and by the sea.


We are grateful for the continuing guidance by local mentors and collaborators who are supporting the case studies in Australia, Bhutan and Wales.


We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands where we explore the project research questions with local stakeholders. We acknowledge the peoples of the Yuin Nation in New South Wales, of Bhutan and of Wales as the traditional knowledge holders and custodians of their lands. All research participants retain the Intellectual Property rights to their knowledge shared in this research. 

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