First-of-its-kind “More than Human” exhibition shows the possibility of creating a Town for all living beings to thrive

Published on Tuesday, 5 September 2023 at 3:49:04 PM

On Wednesday 30 August, the Town of Victoria Park and The University of Western Australia’s School of Design officially launched a first-of-its-kind exhibition, titled, “More than Human: Exploring everyday actions to adopt nature into our backyard.”

Attended by Dr Kate Hislop, Dean of UWA’s School of Design, Noongar representative Matthew Maguire, and other invited guests, the event officially opens the public exhibition at the Town of Victoria Park library, from 11 September – 6 October 2023.

Karen Vernon, Mayor of Town of Victoria Park, commented that the unique exhibition presents a powerful opportunity for every person to help create a Town where both humans and “more than human” inhabitants can co-exist and thrive.

“At the beginning of the year, the Town was approached by UWA’s School of Design to assist students with their research on how we can design landscapes to that can support the co-existence of us humans and the ‘more than human inhabitants’ that live in our Bush Forever site – Kensington Bushland within the Jirdarup Bushland Precinct” explained Mayor Vernon.

“Through this research project, UWA has provided the Town with valuable insights as to how easy it is to connect our backyards to bushlands, so that endemic animal species – such as the bobtail lizard, that help to contain pests in our neighbourhoods – can continue to thrive in an increasingly urbanised environment.

“This exhibition then allows us to share that information widely, empowering our community with the knowledge that simple acts of planting the right flowers or plants, through to providing safe water sources in gardens or backyards, can contribute to maintaining a resilient ecosystem for all living beings to survive and contribute to healthier places to live in.”

Dr Hislop said that the opportunity for students to share their research – translated to everyday actions we can all take – is an important step in closing the gap that often exists between a passion for sustainability and how to actively contribute to such a worthy cause.

“The concept of More than Human design originated from the current realities that climate change, species extinction and increasingly autonomous technologies are pushing us to consider more-than-human needs and their relationship to human subjects to create climate resilient and sustainable cities and towns of the future,” said Dr Hislop.

“Kensington Bushland was chosen as the hypothetical site for our More than Human research, and the students involved have certainly outdone themselves in being able to translate how every person can make the smallest adjustments or additions in their backyards to ensure that endemic species of the bushland – in this case, the bobtail and shingleback lizards, dugites, rainbow bee-eaters and blue-banded bees – can continue to thrive and support our connected ecosystems.

“This More than Human exhibition is truly innovative in terms of showcasing how ordinary acts can have extraordinary impacts, and that sustainable living can be – and is – commonplace.”

Rosie Halsmith, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Unit Coordinator at the School of Design explained that accompanying the exhibition is a step-by-step online guide on how to implement this research into everyday actions – again developed collaboratively with the students - to encourage Vic Park residents and the wider WA community, to get active in More than Human Citizen Science Programs.

“The Town of Victoria Park provided an excellent environment for the Master of Landscape Architecture students to explore more-than-human design for our suburbs in collaboration with Town of Victoria Park staff. Using Jirdarup Bushland Precinct as a living laboratory, students were able to learn about and walk within the area’s remnant, endemic vegetation, then applying their learnings to the surrounding suburban areas for community to implement,” said Rosie.

“A big thank you to UWA’s School of Design and congratulations to all of the students who completed the study, shared the results and helped translate what’s possible into actions we can all take,” said Mayor Vernon.

“Through our award-winning Urban Forest program, we have seen and experienced many positive impacts when we collaborate with our community to create a greener Town. By extending that collaboration with UWA and our more-than-human inhabitants, I can only imagine the sky’s the limit for our current and future environments and living beings,” said Mayor Vernon.

For more information click below.

More than Human Exhibition

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