Combining Social Arts Practice and Conservation Management

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Both art and science are increasingly concerned with the goal of building dialogue with society, both individually (within respective disciplines) and together. Here we describe a study that aimed to facilitate expression of community perspectives on local conservation management. Such expression took the form of multiple dialogues including non-verbal with self (reflection on personal perspectives and values) and both non-verbal (through reflection and visual art) and verbal with others. We used social arts practice as issue-engaged practice, social object, and instrument for wider personal expression and community dialogue to help construct a co-created understanding of conservation values for joint future planning. In this approach, we hoped to design an alternative mode of public engagement that allowed greater critical reflection and expression, that extended beyond traditional consultation approaches where only the loudest voices are heard.