The Urban Field Naturalists’ Guide to Lesser-Known Pollinators is an exhibition using storytelling to bridge the gap between environmental science and human experience of the natural world. Curated by Zoë Sadokierski and Andrew Burrell (Spec Studio, UTS School of Design), the exhibition features visualisations, assemblages of design objects and digital augmentation to explore ways to reimagine the naturalist tradition in the twenty-first century. The exhibition builds on the idea of the cabinet of curiosity, or wunderkammer, through which scientists and enthusiasts have been subjectively documenting the natural world for centuries.

This exhibition is an outcome of the Urban Field Naturalist Project, a collaboration between Spec Studio (Andrew Burrell and Zoë Sadokierski) and researchers from the environmental humanities (Thom van Dooren) and life sciences (John Martin and Dieter Hochuli). The UFN Project has two main aims. First, to encourage people to engage with the biodiversity around them through first-person storytelling. Second, to begin to reimagine the naturalist tradition for the modern age. Related to this second aim, two of the design research questions posed through the exhibition are:

  • How might we begin to reimagine the cabinet of curiosities without removing specimens from their place of origin? Is it possible to retain the wunder, minus the kammer?
  • How might we visualise and materialise ecological information beyond scientific charts and diagrams, into objects and spaces that can be encountered, experienced, inhabited?

A program of talks and workshops with designers, philosophers, scientists, and writers will run alongside the exhibition.

Participating artists: Adam France, Chris Caines, Cecilia Heffer, Donna Sgro, EggPicnic (Camila De Gregorio and Christopher Macaluso), Fionn McCabe, GraciaLouise, Katie Dean, Lucy Adelaide, Ross Gibson, Thom van Dooren, Timo Rissanen and Vanessa Berry.