Conversation and dialogue are of fundamental importance in To Understand a Tree. It has been a goal since the beginning of the project to bring the issues and questions we are exploring to a broad range of audiences and students. We have done class visits at Smith College, the host institution for the project, in the disciplines of psychology, ecology, botany, art history, and studio art. I have given lectures on the project at numerous institutions, including The Museum for Art in Wood, the California College of the Arts, Mildred's Lane, University of Cincinnati, New England College of Art and Design, Smith College, Massachetts College of Art and Design, and UMASS Dartmouth. In addition, we have invited several guest experts to come to the site to share their viewpoints and knowledge with us. The project also seeded the interdisciplinary, collaborative investigation FOREST-BODY-CHAIR at Mildred's Lane in 2021, and a Queer Green Woodworking and Forest Exploration workshop with The Venture Out Project in 2022. There will be further workshop opportunities in 2024.
In 2022-23, I curated a series of public engagements that took place online and at the site, sponsored by the Smith College Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability, with co-sponsorship from the Kestrel Land Trust. The goal of these engagements was to bring the voices of individuals who have been inspiring and influential to me in the research process directly to a wider public. Featured guests included ecologist and engineer Bob Leverett, meditation instructor and filmmaker Bernadine Mellis, environmental economist and scholar Katharinne Linne, and artist Sara Smith. More information on this series can be found here.