Public Talks

Borden’s public talks and workshops are central to his practice of creating art and design in service of mission-driven outreach, educational program, and community-building around environmental issues.


Hybrid Vigor (Art X Design X Ecology)

The Hybrid Vigor talk is focused on Borden’s collaborative projects from the complementary perspectives of art, design and ecology. Borden shares his research-driven creative process, including opportunities and outcomes, and his interdisciplinary approach to environmental communication at the intersection of landscape, creativity, and cultural event. This talk addresses the creative challenges and practical pitfalls of realizing such interdisciplinary projects.

Depending on the audience, Borden’s case study projects can include: Hibernaculum at Boston’s Innovation and Design Building, Hoosic River Expedition in North Adams, Wild West at BDGA, Triple Decker Ecology at the Somerville Museum, Hemlock Hospice at the Harvard Forest, and Warming Warning at Harvard University.

Typical length: 1 hour, including up to 30 minutes for discussion



This professional development talk is geared towards art and design students and recent graduates and uses Borden’s career track as an example of developing an intentional self-directed creative practice. The talk is not a stereotypical “how-to” presentation, but a empowering, yet cautionary, conversation about creative growth and self-determination. The conversation includes Borden’s initial work in the performing arts, his brief experiment as a corporate landscape designer, his tenure as a feral landscape architect, and his current practice as an independent creative working at the intersection of art, design, and ecology. Borden walks the audience along a ten-year career path to highlight strategic successes, as well as failures and missteps, that shape his practice philosophy, process, and project outcomes. Borden shares practice tactics, strategies, and victories including exhibitions, public installations, fellowships, grants, and self-made opportunities. Borden also highlights career setbacks and failures including exhibitions, public installations, fellowships, grants, and self-made opportunities.

Typical length: 1 hour, including up to 30 minutes for discussion



Co-presenters: David Buckley Borden and Dr. Aaron M. Ellison

Artist-scientist talk by artist/designer David Buckley Borden and Senior Ecologist Dr. Aaron Ellison of the Harvard Forest. Lecture focuses on the intersection of ecology, art, and design through the lens of the Hemlock Hospice project. Hemlock Hospice is a year-long, art-based interpretive trail by David Buckley Borden, Aaron M. Ellison, and their team of interdisciplinary collaborators. This immersive site-specific science-communication project tells the story of the ongoing demise of the eastern hemlock tree at the hands (and mouth) of a tiny aphid-like insect, the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA). While telling the story of the loss of eastern hemlock, the project addresses larger issues of climate change, human impact, and the future of New England forests.  An image-rich presentation illustrates the team’s collaborative approach to science communication at the intersection of public art and environmental education. 

Typical length: 1 hour, including 15 minutes for discussion