Encountering Urban Wildlife

Catch Up: This event was live streamed on Monday 26 July at 7pm 

Encountering Urban Wildlife

A discussion between the public, avid birders and environmentally engaged academics, reflecting The Woodpeckers created by Marco Barotti

The panel reflects on the public’s experience of The Woodpeckers - a flock of sonic, robotic birds created by Marco Barotti, which appeared in locations across Milton Keynes City Centre throughout the 2021 Festival. 
Find out more: marco-barotti-the-woodpeckers

Facilitated by Dr Carla Benzan and Dr Robert Wallis 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.

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?

Information about the discussion panel is listed below the film.

The audience submitted questions during the live online event.

Hosted by:

The Panel is 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 was presented in association with
The Open University, the Festival's Knowledge Partner