The Conference of the Birds was initiated, and its foundations shaped by artist Eva Bakkeslett and drama pedagogue Heli Aaltonen. The project started out with an initial symposium of 15 artists, curators and advisers from the Nordic countries and Russia on Engeløya, Norway in June 2018.
The aim was to create a project looking at the commonality of cultures and challenges the birds are facing, and how artists and scientists can work together to bring these issues into public awareness. Based on the collective ideas deriving from this initial meeting, The Conference of the Birds acquired its basic structure. Three curators/artists, Eva Bakkeslett (NO), Ulrika Jansson (SE) and Ulla Taipale (FI), were appointed to realise the project with the support from an advisory team of artists, researchers and bird enthusiasts. The symposium was supported by Nordic Culture Fund Oppstart, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Barents Secretariat.
During 2019-2020 the curators were devoted to planning and research to continue shaping the project, raise funding and coordinate the collaboration between the artists, researchers and local actors in the different Nests. The scientific foundation of the project was shaped during field trips to two of the Nest sites in Finland and Russia by the curatorial team together with our scientific advisers:
– Hanko Bird Observatory, Finland May 2019, joined by PhD Academy Research Fellow Aleksi Lehikoinen (University of Helsinki) and our advisor PhD Karoliina Lummaa (University of Turku).
– Ladoga Ornithological Station, South Karelia, Russia August 2019 with ornithologists Maria Matantseva and Sergey Simonov from Karelian Research Centre in Petrozavodsk.
In 2021-2022 the different Nest activities are carried out and during 2023 and onwards the work from the Nests will be exhibited.