A Walk in the Park is an ongoing exploration of the limits of Western knowledge systems and practices when coming to know and engage with natural environments.
This project emerged through 6 years (and counting) of weekly walks with my partner through Rotary Park Rainforest Reserve in Lismore. I initially engaged with the walking circuit through the aluminium plaques naming species of plants that someone had chosen to point out to us.
Similarly shiny and, simultaneously alluring and repulsive, was the appearance of numbered tags inexpertly nailed to trees — a PhD research project we later heard. Further intriguing was the Rotary Park Rainforest Walk brochure from the Visitor Information Centre. Its numbered stops are slightly outdated as many of the numbers no longer exist. Over our short time walking in the park we ourselves saw numbers disappear as trees died and fell. And so, on the walking circuit, circuits of time emerged as part of our coming to know the park: the partiality of any knowledge that can be gained from a single world view, from thin slices of time spent in a boots-on, weekly walk on the one path.
And in Australia what else can our minds turn to but the contrasting paths with which Widjabul Wia-bal knowledge of this place was gained over millennia of direct relationships.
Outcomes of this project so far:
- Our blog post;
- An academic article in the journal Transformations.