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MUMA Podcast

'Tree Telling' is a podcast in four episodes that has been developed as part of the MUMA exhibition Tree Story. 'Tree Telling' features the voices of artists, authors and academics, who—through conversations, readings and sound—share the ways in which their work and research is deeply intertwined with trees. 'Tree Telling' traverses Indigenous ecological knowledge and connection with Country and how we might learn from this; climate change and climate fiction; the concept of plant blindness; and the deeply personal connections that individuals can forge with trees. Our thanks to Eucalypt Australia for partnering with us on 'Tree Telling'.Image: The Matheson Tree, Monash University, Clayton campus

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Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

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I speak for the trees

I speak for the trees centres on trees and those who speak on their behalf. Professor Tim Entwisle discusses the concept of plant blindness—the inability to notice or recognise the plants around us—and ways in which we can increase our plant literacy. Professor Jaklyn Troy addresses the ecological knowledge and deep connection First Nations’ people have with Country, together with a call for the reinstatement of Indigenous names for plants and trees in Australia. The episode closes with author Ben Walter reading his essay in response to the catastrophic fires that decimated Tasmania’s Tarkine wilderness in 2016.Guests:Professor Tim Entwisle, Director and CEO, Royal Botanic Gardens, MelbourneProfessor Jaklyn Troy, Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research, University of SydneyBen Walter, authorHost: Kate BarberLinks:Tim Entwisle, Curing plant blindness and illiteracy, Sydney Environment Institute, March 2014.Angelique Kritzinger, ‘Plant blindness is a real thing: why it’s a real problem too’, The Conversation, September 2018.Jaklyn Troy, Trees are at the heart of our country – we should learn their Indigenous names, The Guardian, April 2019.Ben Walter, Speak for the trees: hope and hopelessness mingle in the singed Tarkine, Meanjin, Autumn 2017.

1hr 8mins

31 Mar 2021

Rank #1

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The Urban Forest

As part of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy, over 70,000 trees were assigned individual IDs and email addresses to allow people to report on their condition. An unexpected result was that people from around the world started writing personal letters to the trees, including love letters, musings on life and bad tree jokes. In this episode we learn about the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy and hear a few of the love letters written to the trees. We also speak with composer Ciaran Frame, whose sound installation and performative work titled ‘The Urban Forest’, situates the audience in a multi-sensory, experiential world, foregrounding and celebrating the diversity of tree species using the City of Melbourne’s data on every living tree in the Melbourne CBD. Through this work Frame seeks to answer the question ‘what if trees could make music, what would they sound like and what would they say?’.Guests:Ciaran Frame, composer, media artist and educatorGiuliana Leslie, Project Officer – Urban Forest and Ecology | Parks and City Greening, City of MelbourneHost: Kate BarberLinksCity of Melbourne Urban Forest StrategyCity of Melbourne Urban Forest VisualCiaran Frame, The Urban ForestCiaran Frame, websiteLivia Gershon, ‘The Tree Huggers who saved India’s Forest’, JSTOR Daily, March 2019.Margaret Burin, ‘People from all over the world are sending emails to Melbourne’s trees’, ABC, December 2018.


31 Mar 2021

Rank #2

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Special Branch

For Special Branch artists, activists and academics share their deep and personal connection to trees. Author, art historian and curator Janine Burke, reads an excerpt from her most recent book, My forests: travels with trees, published by Melbourne University Publishing (MUP). Marc Parlange, Provost and Senior Vice-President of Monash University, discusses the ways in which his academic research has intersected with trees across various sites in France, Burkina Faso and Vancouver. Associate Professor Haripriya Rangan, School of Geography, University of Melbourne and Pat Lowe, environmentalist and activist, share with us a convivial conversation about their shared fascination with the charismatic boab tree and theorise about how the boab found its way to the Kimberley region of northwest Australia.Guests:Dr Janine Burke, author, art historian and curatorPat Lowe, environmentalist and activistAssociate Professor Haripriya Rangan, School of Geography, University of MelbourneHost: Kate BarberLinks:Janine Burke, My Forests: travels with trees, MUP, May 2021.Pat Lowe, ‘Falling in Love with Jimmy Pike’, Conversations with Richard Fidler, Sarah Kanowski, August 2018, ABC Radio.Haripriya Rangan’s academic work on forests and regional change.Haripriya Rangan, ‘Iconic boab trees trace journeys of ancient Aboriginal people’, April 2015, The Conversation.Haripriya Rangan, Of Myths and Movements: Rewriting Chipko into Indian History, VERSO, 2000.‘The Chipko Movement’: Haripriya Rangan, Sharachchandra Lele, Sunandita Mehrotra, Sunderlal Bahuguna, The Nagrik Podcast, Spotify, September 2020.


4 May 2021

Rank #3