Backyard Wilderness

By: Leila Armstrong  

There is a disconnect between people’s everyday lived experience and their conception of nature as something external and removed. This leads to a concern that we will have no inclination for protecting the biodiversity with which we engage every day. Given that 81% of Canadians reside in urban centres, it is important to understand how city dwellers define and interact with urban wildlife and wilderness. Through an investigation into the urban ecology of Lethbridge, my aim is to challenge people to rethink their conceptions of nature as detached from our daily lives. One of the intended outcomes of my research is to increase awareness of, and the need for, engagement with urban ecologies as spaces in which humans and other species must live and thrive together. With this goal in mind, Backyard Wilderness combines an urban trail cam project with ongoing art production and display. This poster focuses on a September 2019 public billboard project that blends images gathered from cameras placed in city backyards with quotes from an online survey on attitudes towards urban wildlife. Drawing on the work of Alva Noë, I expand on the notion of art as a “strange tool”.

Urban Wildlife, Community Arts, Urban Ecologies
The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life
Virtual Poster

Leila Armstrong

PhD Student, Evolution and Behaviour , University of Lethbridge