Plant Blindness: How to put plants back in the picture

We are increasingly disconnected from plants all around us. On Plant Appreciation Day, we invite you to confront 'Plant Blindness' with us, and discuss how we can find our way back.

Organiser: Linnean Events


Plant markings

Special event for Plant Appreciation Day, 2021.

We are surrounded by plants. We bring them into our homes, our bedrooms. We put their images on our walls, we wear them as jewellery. And this is not even accounting for how deeply our survival depends on plants.

And yet, we overlook them. This tendency of failing to notice them or appreciate their importance has been termed “plant blindness,” a term proposed 20 years ago.

Plants make up around 80% of all biomass on Earth, and yet, general awareness of plants is low around the world. There are probably several reasons for this but the challenge is to understand the 'otherness' of plants.

So, how do we re-connect ourselves to this vibrant, omnipresent world? How can we support those who have become estranged from the contributions plants make to the planet? How do we explan our utilatarian view of plants, which sees them only as an ever-available and unlimited resource?

At this event, we have four researchers from different disciplines (art, education, design and science) who will discuss the diverse ways in which we can make plant life more 'present' to humans. How can we find our way back to plants?

As part of this session, we will also launch Dawn Sanders' book 'Beyond Plant Blindness: Seeing the importance of plants for a sustainable world' (authors: Dawn Sanders, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson) that seeks to provoke plant-based thinking across a landscape of disciplines in order to consider art as a way of re-thinking approaches to plants and botanical science.

Panelists for our event

Our panelists are:

Dawn Sanders (bottom left)— Dawn has studied both fine art and ecology. Her doctoral research (Geography Department, Sussex University, 2004) examined botanic gardens as environments for learning. She has worked at Gothenburg University, Sweden since arriving as a visiting researcher, in 2011. As an associate professor, her work focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to Life as Plant and the materiality of gardens. She was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1998.

Geetanjali Sachdev (bottom right) — Geetanjali is an art and design pedagogue. She has been involved in developing pedagogical frameworks for art and design curricula for the past twenty-five years at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. Her research lies in the areas of art and design assessment, pedagogies for plant study, patterns and paper.

Sven Batke (top left) — Sven is the Plant Science programme leader at Edge Hill University. His research interest is in tropical plant ecology and physiology, with emphasis on climate change and conservation. He received his PhD in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Sven has a particular interest in trying to enthuse the next generation of plant scientists. Some of his current research focuses on trying to better understand plant awareness disparity in university students.

Sophie Leguil (top right) — Sophie Leguil is a freelance botanist, writer, translator and nature tour leader. With a background in ecology and taxonomy, Sophie previously worked for the charity Plant Heritage, developing initiatives to conserve horticultural plant diversity. In 2019, she created the project “More Than Weeds”, which hopes to change people’s perception of urban flora in the UK and encourage better management practices through citizen science, environmental education and art.

This event will take place online using Zoom webinar.

  • This event is free and open to all
  • Registration is essential, and will close 24 hours before the event is set to begin
  • Once you have registered, just sit back and wait. You will be sent the joining links and details 24 hours before the event begins.
  • Please check your spam / junk folders for the Zoom link on the day of the event

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