Bon Voyage? 250 Years Exploring the Natural World SHNH summer meeting and AGM in association with the British Ornithologists’ Club, World Museum Liverpool Thursday 14th and Friday 15th June 2018

The conference for the Society for the History of Natural History (SHNH) at Liverpool World Museum that I’ve attended, was wonderfully interesting.

I presented a paper on how Art and Music and a community groundswell of diverse skills, helped to protect the cultural, historical landscape of Research Bay in Tasmania, and its links to the Labillardiere botanical collections from the d’Entracasteaux expedition of 1792/3.
It was really well received, people were very interested in the Art/Science mix and also loved the song I sang about Labillardiere at the end  of the whole meeting.
It was a really interesting gathering of over 80 people. I now have some excellent contacts to pursue in England and France as a result of this as there were delegates from museums and Herbarium institutions all around England, researchers, conservators, curators, heads of department and heads of museums. It was quite an extraordinary group, I have learned so much.

I feel privileged to be adding my bit from Tasmania.

I’m now on a train heading to the lake district in NorthWest England to stay with an old family friend, himself a world ambassador for threatened species and conservation at an international level. We are there for the weekend until we head down to London to begin 2 weeks of research in Kew and the British Museum of Natural History among other things!
Opportunities keep arising and doors opening.


Deborah Wace, Churchill Fellow 2018
Art and History in the French Garden at Recherche Bay; Labillardiere’s collections explored in contemporary art

The French D’Entrecasteaux Scientific Expedition to Recherche Bay, Tasmania in 1792-3 resulted in a historical collection containing significant botanical, zoological, cartographic, geo-magnetic and ethnographic/linguistic material. Expedition scientists included naturalist Labillardiere who authored Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen, extensively documenting the flora and Felix La Haye, who planted a French Garden at Recherche Bay.

La Haye’s French garden was re-discovered in 2003, invigorating a local grassroots community campaign to protect this site from the predations of industrial logging. The campaign was successful in highlighting the global value and important historical legacy of this expedition and location. My artistic involvement as a printmaker and singer/songwriter in the campaign built renewed interest in the early collections of the naturalists, advocating for the respect and protection of these valuable Type Localities. Through printmaking, specimen collection/arrangement, my ongoing practice currently involves digitising these for print onto fabric to showcase this historical legacy in a contemporary context.

The presentation will draw on the story of the expedition and my artwork developed in response, outlining how an artistic lens can highlight the conservation values of this threatened locality. Art and music is a powerful tool for educating the public about important cross cultural, historical and conservation issues.



Label from Type Specimen in Florence Webb Herbarium

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