Song for the Birds is a paired curriculum with artist Dominique Paul’s Silent Fall exhibition which explores the impact of the decline of biodiversity through the lens of connection and empathy. The curriculum draws from the collaborative and immersive nature of Paul’s work, by inviting visitors to engage and contribute to the content of the exhibit while reflecting on their responsibility towards the natural world.
Participants have an opportunity to explore the notions of empathy and responsibility with a collective “song” for the birds. Song for the Birds invites participants to feel, to create, and to act as an expression of connection with birds. Each of the following activities contains a nod to Dominique Paulʼs artistic methods aimed to raise awareness of the impact of human activities have on wildlife, through the destruction of their habitats, and in creating social injustice:
I. Meeting the Birds - In this activity, participants form their initial connection with one of the endangered species in Dominique Paul’s exhibit.
II. Fostering Empathy - Spoken word and written poetry is prevalent in Paul’s work, and is utilized as a method to build empathy. In this activity, participants analyze the artist’s use of poetry to build empathy and create blackout poems with provided texts about their birds.
III. Drawing Connections - Drawing from Paul’s experience of building empathy through her artistic practice, participants have the option to color their chosen bird as well as reflect on their choice as a way of building a sense of connection to the bird and connection to color.
IV. Map of Memories - Visitors will write about a memory they have of a bird and share it on a collective map. This brings a new spin to Paul’s use of colonial maps to draw parallels between changing bird migration and human displacement.
V. Sitting With Silence - The Silent Fall exhibition has been influenced by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, and this activity magnifies the metaphor of a world without birdsong by leading participants through a visualized journey.
VI. Pledge to the Birds - As a culminating element of the educational program, participants make a pledge to take individual or collective action towards the survival of their bird, or bird species in general.
Ayelet Danielle Aldouby, Curator