What's on

Encountering Urban Wildlife

Live Talk Event: Online

Chaired by  Dr Carla Benzan of The Open University
With Dr Robert Wallis of The Open University

Free (no ticket required) and live streamed via IF: Online

The event will run for approximately 75 minutes

In the final week of the Festival, a live virtual panel will reflect on the public’s experience of The Woodpeckers created by Marco Barotti, opening up a conversation between the curious public, avid birders, and environmentally engaged academics.

Facilitated by Dr Carla Benzan of the Art History department at The Open University, an interdisciplinary panel discussion focuses on our relationships with animals in urban spaces, specifically interactions between birds and humans in city centres.

Artist Marco Barotti’s public art installation The Woodpeckers has seen daily a flock of sonic birds appear in different Milton Keynes locations. In their flight through the city, these robotic birds have become animated by the presence of human technology and activity in the city.

During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lack of traffic, noise pollution, and the renewed interest in urban gardening raised awareness around the presence of bird life in urban environments. Moving forward, how can we relate differently to animals in the city? What new kinds of relationships can we form with urban wildlife?

The audience are encouraged to submit and contribute questions during the live online event. Click through to YouTube to access the contributions box to the right of the screen.

Find out more about The Woodpeckers by Marco Barotti here: marco-barotti-the-woodpeckers

Hosted by:

The Panel will be Chaired by Dr Carla Benzan, Lecturer in Art History from The Open Unversity.
Find out more:
 Dr Carla Benzan

Dr Robert Wallis, Staff Tutor in Art History at The Open University:
On human engagements with birds of prey.
Find out more: Dr Robert Wallis

Panel Contributors:

Ashley Beolens: Birder and photographer:
On urban wildlife in Milton Keynes.
Find out more: viewsfromanurbanlake.co.uk

Professor Graham Harvey, Department of Religious Studies at The Open University:
On alternate views of human-animal communication.
Find out more: Professor Graham Harvey

Judy Ling Wong CBE, artist and activist:
On the importance of urban wildlife.
Find out more: judylingwong.co.uk

Gordon MacLellan, Educator and activist:
On creativity and forming new relationships with nature in inner cities.
Read more: creepingtoad

Dr Jan van Duppen, Research Fellow (Design Group), School of Engineering & Innovation at The Open University:
On 'more than human' geography and urban gardens.
Read more: Dr Jan van Duppen


This event is presented in association with The Open University, the Festival's Knowledge Partner

Access information

Online Event and Digital Access Available
Online Event and Digital Access Available