Local artists, scientists, and conservation aficionados were invited to an evening of collaboration and conversation in May at Extirpation: Local Extinction, an event held at the Australian National University.

Over 45 people attended the event, which included an art exhibition highlighting some of the species and ecological communities listed on the ACT Threated Species List. Eleven local artists contributed 16 artworks to the exhibition.

Photo: Rachel Robbins

Guests were also treated to a panel discussion featuring professionals from a range of fields, including Dr Eleanor Gates-Stuart, a visual media artist whose work focuses on scientific exploration and technology. Also participating were Stephen Sarre, a Professor in Wildlife Genetics at the University of Canberra, and Shoshana Rapley, an outreach officer at the Capital Woodlands and Wetlands Trust. The panel was rounded out by John Reid, a visual artist whose artwork addresses the environment and human rights.

Photo: Rachel Robbins

Both the panel and guests were involved in some great discussion, exploring how art can contribute to conservation efforts, the panellists’ experiences working in conservation, and what we can all do to help conserve our unique and threatened species.

Guests found the event highly enjoyable, with one guest stating, “[I] loved the concept and the ability to contribute by sharing my painting!”

Guests also described the event as interesting, informative, inspiring, and educational.

Photo: Rachel Robbins

Extirpation: Local Extinction was run by students from the ANU Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS), for a course where they learnt how to plan and manage a science communication event.

Photo: Rachel Robbins

Using a grant from Inspiring Australia ACT, the CPAS students were able to award two prizes to participating artists: the People’s Choice Award which was chosen by attendees, and the Professionals’ Choice Award chosen by the panellists.