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Climate change, extensive and unsustainable logging practices, agriculture, and development have significantly reduced Earth’s wild spaces thereby threatening the health of the planet and all its inhabitants. These anthropogenic forces have had widespread impacts, and the future of our wild spaces, especially intact forests and old trees, is in peril. British Columbia (BC) has long been known for its wilderness and lush green forests, and coastal BC is home to unique biodiverse forest ecologies including old-growth trees who play a crucial part in the province’s natural health and contribute to the health of the planet. However, over the last decade, the province’s forests no longer function as carbon sinks, they are now carbon sources. Deforestation has diminished habitat for wildlife and accelerated extreme environmental conditions, such as mudslides and flooding. Even trees in urban areas are at risk, such as forested sites in the Vancouver environs that are currently being cleared for the Transmountain Pipeline expansion despite knowledge about the need to eliminate fossil fuels and expand the urban forest. Recent catastrophic weather events in BC—such as the heat dome of 2021, and increased wildfires—have underscored the accelerating climate emergency and highlighted the urgent need to change our relationship with our forest ecologies and trees.  
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It is known that wild and urban forests have positive effects on mental health and physical well-being and that people who experience connections with trees and forests are more likely to care for them. It is of paramount importance that we find ways to engage and mobilize people in the movement to protect and care for our trees and forests.  
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The Branching Songs research-creation project was developed in response to these crises. The Branching Songs team experimented in multispecies collaboration with trees and forests, using sound and new media technologies to support creative and careful interaction. The research generated new methods and techniques for working creatively with trees and forest ecologies and resulted in media and sound art creations, and workshops. 
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The project has since expanded through as a collaboration, and upcoming art events include an exhibition, performances, and several workshops to take place in Vancouver and on the Sunshine Coast—a coastal region 70km north of Vancouver that has unique intact forests including endangered ones—in the spring and summer of 2023. 



Julie Andreyev, artist, Associate Professor, Emily Carr University (ECU), jandreyev @ 

Sadira Rodrigues, Director of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council (SCAC) 

Giorgio Magnanensi, Director of Vancouver New Music (VNM). 

Maria Lantin, Director, Basically Good Media Lab, ECU 

Simon Lysander Overstall, artist, PhD candidate, Simon Fraser University (SFU) 

Keira Madsen, research assistant, ECU 

Lara Felsing, graduate research assistant, ECU 

Itamar Sitbon, research assistant, ECU alum 

Sam Street, research assistant, ECU 

Cara Jacobsen, research assistant, ECU 

Leanne Plisic, research assistant, ECU 


Supported by: 

Basically Good Media Lab, ECU 

Emily Carr University of Art & Design 

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 

Sunshine Coast Arts Council 

Vancouver New Music 

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