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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Hoff

Welcome to Hidden Stories of the Bioverse!

Updated: Jun 7

Hello and welcome. This is the blog for the art project I am co-creating as a 2024 "Engaging Artists in Community" recipient with the City of Richmond Engineering Department and A.B. Dixon Elementary School in Richmond, British Columbia. Here you will find updates on the project as well as a calendar of events and other exciting steps along the journey. I'll update the blog throughout the project. Let's begin...

Some Information about the Project

“Hidden Stories of the Bioverse” is an exploration of personal storytelling, expressed through a hybrid of comics, poetry, and observations in nature. The project looks to engage young artist-writers at Dixon Elementary, through the exploration of their narratives, ones that look closely at the diverse world of plants, animals, and other species inhabiting the ecosystems near and around the school. This project envisions the creation of comics by young learners as a practice in place-based art creation, centred on the theme of flood protection in the climate crisis. Exploring outdoor learning environments, we will develop a weekly practice of ecological observation in tandem with comics creation.

Throughout the timeline of the project (January - June 2024), we will meet weekly and begin each session with an accessible walk through the wetlands, dykes, and trail areas near Dixon Elementary, situating ourselves in the placemaking of stories and observation. We will also engage with the City of Richmond Engineering Department to witness and better understand all the work that goes into flood protection in the area. Along our weekly walks, we will let the immediacy of the surroundings "share" their stories with us and spend time noticing changes in the landscapes and ourselves. After the walks, we will reconvene at the school and take part in a series of workshops on comics-eco-poetry creation. Using mixed media, including writing, drawing, painting, pens & ink, photographs, collage, and cyanotype printing (see an example at the end of this post of what cyanotype printing looks like in comics form) we will independently reflect on our observations layered with our own stories of place, belonging, multi-species narratives, and the importance of flood protection for this unique ecosystem. Through the use of prompts, we will reflect on all the wonders, challenges, and narratives that occur around us, centred on the other-than-human life forms we have noticed, encountered, or wished we had encountered on our walks. Each week, we will add more to our stories.

At the completion of the project, the comics-eco-poems will be bound and published into a book, available to the community and all the participants. Once the comic books are published, we will have a community celebration and book launch, where the students of Dixon Elementary will be invited to share their work and their discoveries with their school, families, and community.

Some Information about the Artist

I am a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist, writer, and graphic novelist. Focusing on drawing, animation, video, sound, and installation my work is situated at the intersection of narrative, technology, and ecology. My practice works to connect with and reflect on the relationships between living systems and their environments, as well explore co-creation in both human and other-than-human contexts. I have a background in architecture, visual art, creative writing, and film. And I am currently completing a Ph.D. centred on comics-based research practices in Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia.

An example of a short cyanotype comics-poem I created as an example for this project.

I'm so glad to join you in this adventure! Check back here for updates on Hidden Stories of the Bioverse...

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