At the third annual Hacking Heritage Unconference (May 12 2018), I invited a discussion to think of how cultural heritage workers can work more closely with experiential learning and tacit knowledge within natural environments. Juliane Schlag from the John Carter Brown Library introduced to me concepts of ethnobotany and the "shadow woodland," which both attempt to explain the relationship between humans and plants in shaping/remembering cultures and identities. We talked about how interpretive signs in parks & woodlands have the power to connect viewers to their surroundings, but also dislodge them; how the feeling of a particular space might relate to an inaccessible history and folklore; and participants shared examples of shadow woodlands in their own lives and careers. I'm still at an early point in exploring these concepts (specifically, the stage of identifying and acknowledging them in other peoples' experiences; coming up with questions about what to do with these ideas). But, I will have a comic centered on thees woods soon, and hope to continue conversations with historians/artists/scientists and see what comes out of it.
I presented at the New England Archivists Spring Meeting to talk about the comic book style guide Lizard Ramone in Hot Pursuit I wrote and illustrated with my collaborator Angela DiVeglia from Providence Public Library. As well as the logistics of bringing this project into existence, I talked about my creative process (as an artist engaging in research-based art), concepts around why artist researchers are valuable in archives and special collections, and how we can make collections more accessible to them. Our discussion of LRHP was paired with "Dancing Documents," a dance performance that addressed the inherent difficulties of documenting the performing arts by Colleen Quigley from Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland.