Harvard Forest Bullard Fellowship
As environmental challenges become more critical, scientists are increasingly thrust into the spotlight to provide vital information to policy makers, community groups, and individuals. The urgency of getting a population of non-scientists to both understand and care about aspects of ecology is real. Ecological awareness is a powerful mechanism for environmental change. To that end, I believe that science communication collaborations between artists/designers and scientists can foster cultural cohesion around ecological issues. An informed public with a shared ecological awareness is in a better position to support long-term stewardship and conservation practice. Moreover, an informed public will become their own empowered advocates and are more likely to play an active role in maintaining their environments, for both themselves and future generations.
As a 2016-2017 Charles Bullard Fellow I will be an embedded artist/designer within the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. Over the course of the year, I will create a variety of art and design driven science-communication projects with ongoing research initiatives and contribute to the Harvard Forest community through applied creativity, workshops, talks and exhibitions. My Bullard Fellowship program includes at least two distinct research-based creative projects. The first project revolves around the creation of visual work based on the research of the New England Landscape Futures Project. The second project is the development of a sciarts communication project, tentatively titled Project Hemlock, in collaboration with scientists studying the hemlock woolly adelgid. For both projects, I will likely explore my interests in speculative design, creative cartography, and installation-based interpretive trail design.
Beyond the creative collaboration with on-site scientists, the Bullard Fellowship is an opportunity to research the theory and practice of science communication. Central to my proposed Fellowship program is research into past, current, and future trends of public engagement with science, specifically ecology and forestry. This research extends beyond the Harvard Forest community and includes an exploration of new ideas, communication models, and practice modes to move science communication forward. In particular, I am interested in exploring the question, “How can art and design support science communication to foster cultural cohesion around ecological issues and help inform ecology-minded decision making.”
Although my Bullard Fellowship program is proposed as an exploratory arts-science collaboration, it is also an outreach campaign, and ultimately an education initiative. My program employs a model of stewardship that merges aesthetics, environmental awareness, and communication media. The Fellowship includes the creation of the artwork itself, as well as the promotion of the larger ideas behind the work. This project includes integrated outreach and an ongoing shared narrative to illustrate the research issues at hand. A combination of traditional offline media and social media is intended to promote reflection, critical thinking, and creativity among both scientists and artists/designers, as well as the general public. I encourage folks to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for project updates, creative developments, and event announcements.
In support of the Fellowship’s collaborative intent, I welcome studio visits, speaking engagements, and the opportunity to discuss the research with allied practitioners working in the fields of science, education, art and design.
David Buckley Borden, Harvard Forest, 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366. Office: 978-756-6123 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Charles Bullard Fellowship
The Charles Bullard Fellowship in Forest Research at Harvard University supports advanced research and study by individuals who show promise of making an important contribution, either as scholars or administrators, to forestry and forest-related subjects including biology, earth sciences, economics, politics, administration, philosophy, humanities, the arts, or law. Learn more about the Bullard Fellowship here.
About the Harvard Forest
The Harvard Forest is a department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) of Harvard University. From a center comprised of 3,750 acres of land, research facilities, and the Fisher Museum, the scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore topics ranging from conservation and environmental change to land-use history and the ways in which physical, biological and human systems interact to change our earth.
Since 1988, the Harvard Forest has been a Long-Term Ecological Research Site, funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct integrated, long-term studies of forest dynamics. Since 2011, the Harvard Forest has been the Northeast Core site for the National Ecological Observatory Network.
Research faculty at the Forest offer courses through the Harvard College Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) and the Freshman Seminar Program. Close association is also maintained with Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS), the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), the School of Public Health (SPH), and the Graduate School of Design.
Learn more about the Harvard Forest here.
PROJECT UPDATE: I will be hosting an open studio at the Harvard Forest (324 N. Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366). on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 12 to 4pm. All are welcome to view and discuss ongoing work both in and outside the studio. Light refreshments will be served.
“New England Futures Scenario Quadrant,” digital drawing, 7.5 x 11 inches, 2016. Illustrative New England quadrant visualization featuring government and population as two driving scenario forces. Illustration based on photography of Fisher Museum land-use diorama at Harvard Forest. Collaboration with Jonathan Thompson et al.
“Future New England Landscape Scenarios No. 2 of 4; High Population and Low Government,” digital drawing, 7.5 x 11 inches, 2016. Illustration based on photography of Fisher Museum land-use diorama at Harvard Forest.
“Future New England Landscape Scenario No. 22,” digital illustration on paper; 8”X10” 2016
Illustration based on audit of Harvard Forest lab meeting at which researchers shared findings from recent scenario focus group in Burlington VT.
Sea levels rise by 22 feet. “Climate Change Refugees” flee East Coast. Cape Cod Diaspora inundates Vermont commons and coopts town meetings. Dairy farms lose ground to “Field & Stream” condo development. First covered car wash bridge opens in summer of 2049 in West Arlington, Vermont.
“Landscape Futures Prop Kit,” wood, rope, paper, acrylic, found knobs, dials and hardware, dimensions vary, 2016. Collaboration with Dr. Matthew Duveneck.
Pedagogical props as teaching tool for landscape futures outreach. Kit of familiar forms serve as prompts for understanding scenario computer modeling and implications of future New England landscape scenarios over the next 50 years.
“Widow Maker Warning Sign,” design study for installation at Harvard Forest, recycled field equipment (aluminum/plastic louver vent, plant ID sticks, hardware), hemlock, and vinyl, 16 x 16 x 42 inches, 2017. Collaboration with Dr. Aaron Ellison et al.
“Hemlock Hospice Helmet,” design study for custom forestry helmet, 6 x 10 x 12 inches, 2017. Collaboration with Dr. Aaron Ellison et al.
Hardhats are required by researchers working in dead/dying stands of hemlock trees at Harvard Forest. Safety authorities say the helmet won’t save you from a falling tree; it merely makes an open casket possible. If you got to go, might as well go out with a “lil’ flare!”
“Hemlock Hospice Data Logger Box,” installation at Harvard Forest: wood, aluminum, acrylic paint, vinyl, aluminum tape, and hardware, 16 x 16 x 42 inches, 2017. Collaboration with Dr. Aaron Ellison et al.
“Wayfinding Lantern,” recycled field equipment (heat lamp, wood/plexiglass ant nests, aluminum tape, miscellaneous hardware), hemlock, and acrylic, 12 x 12 x 16 inches, 2017.
“Direct Action Powered Up,” installation at Harvard Forest: recycled field equipment (heat lamp, wood/plexiglass ant nests, aluminum tape, miscellaneous hardware), hemlock, paint, and vinyl, 10 x 12 x 16 inches, 2017
“Environmental Threat Level Sign,” design study for installation, recycled specimen box, fence posts, dowels, acrylic, vinyl, and hardware, .25 x 1.5 x 3 feet, 2017.