Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir | Gothenburg, Sweden
Symposium: Beyond Plant Blindness: Where can a single plant take you?
Faculty of Education, Gothenburg University, Pedagogen Hus B Room 016, Västra Hamngatan 25, 405 30 Göteborg
November the 10th, 2018
9:00 – 15:00
About the project
Contemporary humans have become an urban species. Living in megalopolitan cities reduces intimate contact with the natural world thus placing greater emphasis on ‘presented nature’ settings, such as zoos, botanic gardens and natural history museums. However, previous research has demonstrated that ‘plant blindness’ inhibits human perceptions of plants. In view of increasing species extinction the world can no longer afford our citizens to see ‘nothing’ when they look at plants, the basis of most life on earth. We believe conducting research to understand how we can move beyond ‘plant blindness’ is imperative for a sustainable world.
According to Swedish policy documents for education, students should be provided with knowledge about nature, the environment and sustainable development. It is therefore of interest to develop teacher education in this respect.
The aim with our study is to investigate learning experiences that move beyond ‘plant blindness’. We will examine our proposed hypothesis if multimodal and sensoric experiences in ‘presented nature environments’ might create shifts in perception away from ‘plant blindness’ towards seeing the importance of plants for a sustainable world. The study will focus on teacher students and comprise a variety of ways to capture the students’ perceptions of plants.
The team is intentionally interdisciplinary in expertise and experience, representing the necessary theoretical and empirical foci in the research subject, namely subject didactics, botanical science and visual arts.
The research team comprises five persons – two members of the team are based in science subject didactics (IDPP): Dawn Sanders, associate professor/docent and Eva Nyberg, senior lecturer. Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir is a professor in contemporary art engaged in research based art practice (Konsthögskolan i Malmö vid Lunds universitet). Bente Eriksen is Director of Lunds universitet Botaniska Trädgårde and a plant systematics scientist. Dawn Sanders will lead the research programme, as her substantive research focus is the socio-educational role of botanic gardens .
Margaretha Häggström is envisaged as the fifth member of the team and considered to be a key actor in the research.
Jan Westin, as scientific director and zoologist of a science centre, will provide access to and facilitate the spaces in which we will conduct our research study into setting one (S.1).
Mari Källersjö, as director of a botanic garden, will provide access to and facilitate the spaces in which we will conduct our research study into setting two (S.2).
Exhibition in Gothenburg Botanical Garden
As part of the project, an exhibition took place in Gothenburg Botanical Garden. It was open between 12 April and 15 September 2017.
9 – 9.30 Arrival (coffee & tea provided)
9.30 – 10.00 Introduction: Where can a single plant take you? Dawn Sanders, Gothenburg University
10.00 – 10.30 How like a (fig) leaf Lynn Turner, Goldsmiths University, London
11.00 – 11.30 The limits of critical anthropocentrism – art critical notes on Searching for Stipa and the desire to reconfigure mankind in the current age of crises Fredrik Svensk, Våland Akedemi Gothenburg University
11.30 – 12 Stipa pennata: a scientific narrative Bente Eriksen, Lunds Universitet
12 – 13.00 Vegan Lunch
13.00 Bus to Gothenburg Botanic Garden (Botaniska)
13.30 Searching for Stipa (2017) – an installation (in the Rain Shelter, Gothenburg Botanic Garden) and presentation by Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson
14.20 Return to Botaniska Staff Building
14.20 – 15.15 Discussion in Staff Building (with fika)
15.15 Symposium ends
Free time for people to explore the garden
18.00 – 20.00 Searching for Stipa (2018) – an artwork by Snæbjörnsdóttir/ Wilson with drinks and food. Hus B Pedagogen, Faculty of Education, Gothenburg University.
Access: The symposium and vernissage are held on the ground floor of Hus B which is fully accessible. The installation in the botanic garden is in a rain shelter with a few steps at the top of a small hill, which is wheelchair accessible.
For further information regarding accessibility please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special diets: All the food provided for the symposium and the vernissage will be vegan. If you require gluten free or nut/seed free foods because of allergies, please contact: email@example.com
Biographies of Speakers
Dawn Sanders has recently contributed the piece Seeing Green: The Climbing Other to Giovanni Aloi’s forthcoming book Why Look at Plants, for Brill. She is the project leader for the research project Beyond Plant Blindness: Seeing the importance of plants for a sustainable world, which was funded by The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskaprådet.). She is currently editing a special issue on plant blindness for the journal Plants, People, Planet. She is an Associate Professor in the department of pedagogical, curricular and professional studies, Gothenburg University.
Lynn Turner is currently completing a monograph, Exposing Deconstructions: Animal and Sexual Differences, for Bloomsbury. She is co-editor of The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies (2018), the editor of The Animal Question in Deconstruction (2013) and coauthor of Visual Cultures as Recollection (2013). She is Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Fredrik Svensk is a critic, educator and editor. He holds a Lecture position in Art Theory at Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, and is the editor-in-chief with Sinziana Ravini of Paletten Art Journal. In 2017 he co-curated the national Pavilion of Bosnien & Herzegovina, at the Venice biennale. His current research project is on art criticism & biopolitics and he writes criticism for Aftonbladet Kultur, Kunstkritikk and Artforum International.
Bente Eriksen is an associate professor of Systematic Botany and director of the Botanical Garden at Lund University, Sweden. She has worked taxonomically on the Flora of Ecuador and is also interested in reproductive biology and evolution of plant species around the world. As a teacher, she has been involved in dissemination of knowledge regarding botany and environmental issues to university students, as well as the public for many years and met with ‘Plant Blindness’ on several occasions.
Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson are a collaborative art partnership. Their interdisciplinary art practice is research-based, exploring issues of history, culture and environment in relation to both humans and non-human species. Working very often in close consultation with experts and amateurs in the field, they use their work to test cultural constructs and tropes, and human behaviour in respect of ecologies, extinction, conservation and the environment. Their artworks have been exhibited throughout the UK and internationally. They are frequent speakers at international conferences and their works have been widely discussed in texts across many disciplinary fields. They conduct their collaborative practice from bases in Iceland & the north of England. Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir is Professor of Fine Art at the Iceland University of the Arts and Mark Wilson is Professor in Fine Art at the Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria, UK.