How humans connect with the botanical world is intriguing. Our food, fibre, shelter, indeed our survival is reliant on the photosynthetic process carried out by plants. And what a process it is! Image being able to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates using only sunshine. As adaptive and plastic organisms, individuals plants can live for a season or for Millenia, and seed-babies can stay viable for thousands of years. There is a wealth of reasons to study plants with the discipline of botany covering biophysics, biogeography, biochemistry, pharmacology, evolution, ecology, and the knowledge derived from these areas is critical to solve the wicked problems of, for example, climate change – how can we continue to survive on this planet, and space travel – where it is essential to identify which other planets can support earthly photosynthesis.
As much as I love learning about plants, the study of plants per se is not what “plants, people, place” is about. We have relationships with plants that go beyond that of plants providing us with services. This project aims to collects stories about personal connections between humans – individually and collectively – and the botanical world. Thought goes into selecting specific flowers for celebrations and commemorations. Memories surface when we reencounter those same plants. Plants that are present now, helping us to recall memories, our stories, of where we were physically and emotionally years before. Beyond a single lifetime, cultural relationships with plants connect generations.
In the past few years I have been writing more about the roles of plants in our lived, especially the capacity of plants to surface our memories. Links to a few of these writings are offered. I have to view to continue to add to this page as I gather more stories to share.
Prelude 2020: The early botanical stories.
Series 1: 2020/21: The Aunties. This is a series of videos with Aunty Beryl van Oploo, Aunty Bernadette Duncan, and Aunty Rhonda Ashby taking about the Grasslands for Grains Project with Dr Angela Pattison. Connection to the plants On Country feature, as do themes of connections of plants with Language, and women connecting and empowering each other. Funded by DVC ISS. Series 1: Plants, People, Place
Series 2: 2016-current: The Artists. This series features artists who have appeared as gifts to inform and develop my academic practices. Series 2: Plants, People, Place.
Series 3: Stories from other places. This series will feature stories from other places. Series 3: Plants, People, Place.
Series 5: This Place. This series offers collaborations across place and music making, and remaking. The ngarigo snow song and the gadi feature. Series 5: Plants, People, Place.
Series 6: Learning Landscapes. This series focuses on the plants that surround us in our working lives. There are more than 3000 species of plants on campus, each of them with unique characteristics. The University grounds are learning spaces and the plants our teachers. The landscapes we see on campus are not accidental, they reflect considered selection which if most evident when there is a new building, or public art installation. For example, whilst the plantings for the Chau Chak Wing Museum were completed with the build, the vision for the ceremonial space at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, that included culturally significant plantings of Gadis, was only finalised in 2023 with the 5 gadis welcomed in NAIDOC week. Series 6: Learning Landscapes.