Our next public lecture: Merle Patchett; University of Bristol; School of Geographical Sciences; From Sexual Selection to Sex And The City: The Biogeographies of the Blue Bird-Of-Paradise; Wednesday October 18th  6.30 pm -8.00 pm 


Merle Patchett; University of Bristol, School of Geographical Sciences 

Wednesday October 18th  6.30 pm -8.00 pm inc discussion, wine and snacks; Newton Park Campus; Commons Building; Room 225; this is a free event but please book a place through Bath Spa Live here 

Abstract. This paper takes as its starting point an encounter with a preserved blue bird-of-paradise skin. Though rare, the bird became wildly famous after it perched atop the head of Carrie Bradshaw during Sex and the City: The Movie. For those handling bird-of-paradise skins the ethereal beauty and luxurious quality of their plumage is immediately felt, making it easy to understand why birds-of-paradise have “for millennia been ornaments, commodities and gifts”. [i]  Yet as Darwin’s theory of sexual selection tells us, the birds’ exuberant plumage evolved entirely for their own pleasure. This paper will therefore chart the blue bird-of-paradise’s biogeographies of excess: from sexual selection to Sex and the City. Tracing the lively geographies of this dead bird from New Guinea rainforests to New York streets offers the opportunity of narrating collective natural and cultural change over time and space. This is because the blue bird-of-paradise can be thought of as a “telling example” of the millions of Paradisaea that were hunted, traded, shipped and lusted after since their earliest forms of commodification. Moreover, with the Paradisaea now said to be on a “flight to oblivion” the paper will conclude by outlining how the blue bird-of-paradise offers a way of working towards transspecies histories and therefore multispecies recuperation.


Merle Patchett is a cultural-historical geographer by training. Her research broadly focuses on theories, histories, and geographies of practice. This focus has led her to engage empirically with a range of specialised skills (e.g. taxidermy and plumasserie), practitioners (e.g. artisans, artists and architects), and places of practice (e.g. museums, galleries and archives) and to develop practice-based methodologies. See Merle’s staff pages here

 Image result for Merle patchett


Films of David Rothenberg Lecture at Bath Spa University; jointly presented by Environmental Humanities Research and Music. 17 May 2017.

Introduced by Amanda Bayley Professor of Music at Bath Spa University

David Rothenberg lecture at Bath Spa University 2017 part 1 from College of Liberal Arts on Vimeo.

David Rothenberg lecture at Bath Spa University part 2 from College of Liberal Arts on Vimeo.

Reminder and additions to this exciting programme of watery art, film and music on Sunday July 2, Bristol – Down By the River

As well as the programme on the poster below we have

A late addition to the line-up is the oud/African+Arabic music duo, Nabra, which brings into WCB other facet of ‘water connectivity’, beyond the local. ie – global people movements over water – migration/refugees etc.

The global connectivity is enhanced also by the appearance (also MC for the night) of Helena Enright – from Limerick on the River Shannon in Ireland (also via Bath Spa Uni)

Should be a lovely celebration of a myriad of water linkages and WaterCityBristol (WCB), through poetry, film, theatre and music

Included in the billing is Lucy Izzard’s new River Avon+Eel animated film – Protect The Eels. This has had over 1000 views on YouTube, in less than two weeks!

This is hosted by the ‘Hidden Tides’ commissioned artists – Letterpress Collective, at their event space in CentreSpace Studios.


Down By the River – an evening of art and entertainment; Bristol Sunday July 3rd  – part of the Towards Hydroitizenship project – Water City Bristol Case Study – Bristol Loves Tides movement

Down By the River – an evening of art and entertainment Bristol Sunday July 3rd  – part of the Towards Hydroitizenship project – Water City Bristol Case Study

Down by the River is co-produced by The Letter Press Collective, NOVA Creative Lab and Helena Enright

A Bristol Loves Tide Event

In a great venue  see poster for more details DOWN-BY-THE-RIVER

Future Pasts Project exhibition in Bath, UK

Dear friends and colleagues, near and far

In July and August 2017, the Future Pasts research project welcomes you to an exhibition hosted by Bath Spa University’s Research Centre for Environmental Humanities.

Held at Gallery 44AD in the centre of Bath, the exhibition brings together images, music and video installations made in collaboration with people and organisations in west Namibia.

It will be a contemplative space where the themes of sustainability, identity and displacement weaving through our research are evoked in registers beyond academic critique.

We will also be hosting a virtual version of the exhibition – please come and visit! For those in Namibia, from 2018 we’ll be reconvening the exhibition in Windhoek and beyond. We hope to see you in one or more of these spaces.

Sian Sullivan; Mike Hannis; Angela Impey; Chris Low; Rick Rohde

In the image above, a Damara / ≠Nūkhoen woman walks  through the landscape at Sorris-Sorris, west Namibia. Her voluminous dress echoes those worn by European
missionaries in the 1800s, signalling the complex and hybrid histories enacted in this arid African land.

Photo: Sylvia Diez, March 2016.

From a Future Pasts storytelling event held near Namibia’s highest mountain – the Brandberg or Dâures.

See project website here